Price Guide, December 2005: Video Cardsby Haider Farhan on December 9, 2005 7:11 AM EST
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As we stated earlier, with prices of the ultra high-end and mid-range cards being so competitive, we do not recommend the purchase one of these high-end video cards. However, AGP users as yet do not have ultra high-end options.
AGP cards have developed a tendency to be priced significantly higher than their PCI-E counterparts. At the moment, your best AGP option would be an ATI Radeon X800XL 256MB [RTPE: 100-435508] going for about $285.
With the PCI-E X800XL cards, two caught our attention: the Sapphire Radeon X800XL 256MB [RTPE: 100105] and the Connect3D Radeon X800XL 256MB [RTPE: 3028C]. Both of these cards are on sale for about $240 shipped. If you're in the market for an All-In-Wonder card, for a little over $290, you can pick up the ATI Radeon X800XL 256MB A-I-W [RTPE: 100-714301]. We're noticing three 512MB cards from Abit, Gigabyte, and Sapphire, but we strongly recommend against them because of the high price tags. Besides, 512 MB cards have yet to show any real advantage over 256 MB cards; the only reason the latest ATI and NVIDIA cards perform better is because they have fast RAM, not because they have more RAM.
Upon further inspection, we note the X800XL A-I-W is on sale for $290. If you are looking for an All-In-Wonder, rather than the X800XL, we suggest the ATI Radeon X800XT 256MB A-I-W [RTPE: 100-714200] for the same price. The cheapest X800XT that we are seeing is exactly the same price as the MSI 7800GT we recommended on the previous page. It's a rather obvious decision which card to go with.
We would apply the same general rule with these 6800GT cards as we did with the X800XT cards. The cheapest card at the moment is the PNY GeForce 6800GT 256MB [RTPE: VCG6800GXPB] going for $274.00. $35 more gets you a 7800 GT, which is significantly faster. Unfortunately for the AGP holdouts, the cheapest 6800 GT is running $340, and you can get either of the new architectures. We wouldn't recommend spending that much money on outdated technology anyway, and with current prices you could likely get a PCI express motherboard and a 7800 GT for less than the price of a hypothetical 7800 GT AGP.