Video Cards GeForceFX

As expected, those fifth generation GeForce continue to dry up and as a result prices are slowly back on the climb. NVIDIA's GeForce 5900 and 5900 Ultra remain the only really worthwhile cards left in the series. Anand's recent Half Life 2 analysis showed the GeForceFX 5900XT - which is clocked slower than the 5900 and 5900 Ultra counterparts - performing very capably in the "midrange" ~$200 arena (I remember when we used to call midrange $60!).

However, just because a video card is capable does not mean you should go out and buy it. Of course, that's assuming you can still find a reasonably priced GeForce 5900. The Ultra versions now run over $400 and that is a ridiculous price to pay for yesterday's 'just capable' hardware. The 5900 non-Ultra versions still pack a punch for $200, but stock is mostly limited to PCI-Express versions. GeForce 6600GT's go for $200 on the PCI-Express bus and will be available for about the same price on the AGP bus shortly. Since the PCIe GeForce 6600GT's swiftly outperform every 5xxx model on the block (as we saw back in September) any reason to buy the 5xxx midrange cards over the 6xxx midrange cards seem ridiculous - and thus putting the nail in the 5900's coffin.

Prices continue to rise on the older GeForce cards while more capable cards eat the 5xxx lineup for breakfast. Don't put yourself in a difficult position by ever buying a GeForceFX.

Video Cards GeForce 6xxx

As we mentioned on the previous page, you would have to be insane to buy a 5xxx GeForce over a 6xxx right now. Derek's recent X850 analysis gave a pretty clean breakdown of the high end Radeon and NVIDIA cards earlier this week and the results were pretty interesting.

Only the XFX GeForce 6600GT can be readily had for the AGP bus right now, and it still carries a premium at this point. However, within the next couple weeks we project the price of this card to flatten out just over $200. With the X700XT just starting to hit shelves, it's a little too close to call whether or not NVIDIA has the better buy on the AGP bus right now, and performance is so close in most instances that buying the cheaper one of the two won't be a huge deal.

On the PCIe platform, however, the choice is clearly the GeForce 6600GT. With the added incentive of future SLI upgrades, the 6600GT produces some awesome performance with a very nice price tag. To briefly paraphrase Anand concerning SLI - performance of SLI on two of today's $200 cards today is great, but performance on today's $200 card now combined with performance of tomorrow's $50 card tomorrow is better. In fact, the thought of not getting stuck in the perpetual upgrade cycle appeals to even the most conservative buyers out there - but unfortunately right now we have to pay a large premium on PCIe capable motherboards just to get there. If you're buying a new rig or you have a newer Intel machine right now, run, don't walk, to the nearest establishment of NVIDIA video cards and get a 6600GT PCIe. If you wait much longer, the X800 non-pro, non-xt, non-percolator scheduled for release in the next few weeks might begin to edge out the 6600GT's advantage.

Not surprisingly, the 6600 Non-GT does pretty well for itself also. A more traditional "mid range" card, the 6600 non-GT goes for about $150 right now, but doesn't have an AGP counterpart yet. As the tests show, you pay about 25% less for the non-GT version, but you get about 25% less performance as well. The vanilla 6600 doesn't have any SLI support, which is disappointing. Although a great card for the price, you won't get that small future-resistant buffer like with the 6600GT.

Index ATI Video Cards


View All Comments

  • Staples - Wednesday, December 08, 2004 - link

    There is no midrange that we know in terms of mid range price now days. The midrange costs $250+ now days. Gone are the days where you could get mid range performance for $150. Reply
  • lsman - Wednesday, December 08, 2004 - link

    read x800 will replace x700xt (stop production) Reply
  • Visual - Wednesday, December 08, 2004 - link

    The thing about 6600GTs costing $50 "tommorow"... it can't happen. nVidia will always have the MX cards - the 6600GT will just not be sold "tommorow". Just the same as why you cant get a Radeon9600 for $50 now.

    Your comment that one should "run" to buy a 6600GT because ATI will release a competitor soon... just doesn't make sense, man! If the X800 actually "begin to edge out the 6600GT's advantage" then waiting will get you a better card, or a lower price :p Or I've misunderstood something...

    I'd also like to see you consider the 6800LE cards in your guides... or aren't they available in USA? I know they're supposed to be OEM model only, but they're available in my country already.
  • stncttr908 - Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - link

    On the ATI page where it says Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB, the card linked is the Sapphire Atlantis, a 128-bit memory card. This could present quite a few problems to people who think they're finding a 256MB 9800 Pro w/a 256-bit bus on the cheap. Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, December 06, 2004 - link

    I like the new setup. For me, it clears up the mid-range section of cards, somehwat. I'd like to see even cheaper cards, as well. I have no idea what the best card uis in the $90 - $120 price range - the NV 5700? Plain ATI 9600?.

    I find it amazing that I bought a GF4 Ti4200 way back for $120, and I still can't purchase much of an upgrade (if at all) for the same price!
  • bob661 - Monday, December 06, 2004 - link

    Has anyone OC'd the 6600GT? How high is it OCing? Reply
  • bob661 - Monday, December 06, 2004 - link

    I like the new setup. Plus, when were mainstream cards less than $200? During the TNT2 days? Reply
  • Grettir - Monday, December 06, 2004 - link

    The summary of prices is largely uninteresting. What we (collectively) need is a set of X/Y plots of price/performance so we can tell where the knees are in value for the dollar. With the corpus of data that Anandtech has worked so hard to accumulate, you could provide real value for your viewers by having the instantly updated chart as prices change. Reply
  • Questar - Monday, December 06, 2004 - link

    Yes there was a coupon involved, I think it was for 30% off.
  • wyrmrider - Monday, December 06, 2004 - link

    my son got an nvidia 6800gt for around 200 + tak at comp usa
    why no 6800 in roundup??


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