High End Graphics

In all fairness to ATI, NVIDIA doesn't have nearly as clear cut victory in the $200 to $300 segment. Most AGP GeForce 6800GT video cards are just barely breaking the $300 barrier with mail in rebates (if that even counts?). On the PCIe end, GeForce 6800GT cards are ridiculously expensive still, upwards of $350. If you don't care about SLI - and if you follow our price guides enough you probably shouldn't right now - X800XL cards are really competitive on PCIe. Derek has some excellent benchmarks demonstrating where the X800XL falls in relation to the GeForce 6800GT, but on any game with DX9 the results are very comparable. Below you can see how the price on the ASUS Radeon X800XL PCIe [RTPE: EAX800XL/2DTV/256] cards continues to plummet.

ASUS Radeon X800XL 256MB

We really like PCIe - and the X800XL is another case where the better value goes to a PCIe card opposed to an AGP one. A particular favorite of ours, the Connect3D X800XL PCIe [RTPE: Connect3D Radeon X800XL 256MB], can be had for just under $250. However, if no-name brands are not your thing, ASUS has the X800XL for $30 more right now too.

With the Radeon X800XL, the other Radeon X800 lines seem almost foolish to buy. Sapphire's vanilla AGP Radeon X800 256MB [RTPE: 100117] may be the only exception to that, but for $10 more you can buy the Connect3D X800XL; the decision should be easy. For the PCIe camp, Sapphire's X800 256MB [RTPE: 100107] is the card to buy. MSI has a very tempting X800 128MB [RTPE: MS-8997-01S] version floating around for the PCIe bus but be wary of the memory size when buying. Below you can see how Radeon X800 prices have stabilized - even increased - over the last couple months.

Sapphire X800 256MB

Sapphire X800XL 256MB

As we mentioned earlier (and in the last couple price guides), the 6800GT cards really only make sense for the AGP market, even if you have your heart absolutely set on SLI. With the introduction of GeForce 7800GTX, buying a 6800GT for SLI configuration would be a really poor idea. You can buy a single GeForce 7800GTX for just under the cost of an XFX GeForce 6800GT [RTPE: PVT45GUD] (even after the rebate). So if you're going to buy two, the 7800GTX is the way to go. As for an AGP recommendation, the AGP equivalent of the card we just mentioned is the best way to go [RTPE: PVT40AUD]. It is more cost effective to buy an X800XL on PCIe, particularly if you play DX9 games, but some people just refuse to let go of their AGP bus.

Index GPU Mid Range
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  • Antiflash - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    If Nvidia keeps the trend of upper prices to their new generations of cards. You´ll have to add new price segments like "Ultra High Rip off" segment in the next video guides.
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - link

    vitamalt: Good points - but you are correct it's an awkward price point. The AGP version sells for about the same as the 6600GT AGP, which is fine cause SLI isn't an issue anyway. I think if prices were a little better they would get more attention.

  • vitamalt - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    Why no mention of the 6800NU in these price guides?

    I know its performance is comparable to the 6600GT but still some people seem to prefer it as if I recall correctly, some 6600 cards (independent of brand) seem to have a problem of being DOA or having display problems.

    I could be wrong, but it seems to be the case on most message boards that I've visited.
  • yacoub - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    On the last page:

    ". In all likelihood, if you are considering a low end video card, it's TIME for a new rig,"

    Left out the word TIME.
  • yacoub - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    You don't seem to have this one in your list for X800XLs:


    That's the one I'd get, especially if it drops to $300 in the coming weeks. Extra cooling and quieter operation are huge benefits in my book.
  • yacoub - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    --"Would it be too much to speculate the GeForce 7800GTX line could drop $50 by December?"--

    See, that's exactly the point I was making elsewhere - They keep releasing them at higher prices but they don't drop quickly enough to make up for the overpriced rape they debut at. If it only drops to $550 by December, F that. It shouldn't have come out at more than $450 to begin with, but since the last two generations of GPUs have been jacked up in price to debut at $500 and $550, they had an excuse to try another $50 higher with this gen card. Pathetic.
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    PrinceGaz: LOL.

  • PrinceGaz - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    I suppose that 512MB 6200 could be useful if you aren't fussy about framerates but do want a cheap card that can run at 2048x1536x32 with 8xAA at high quality settings.

    The back-buffer and Z-buffer together would require 192MB at those settings, and another 12MB would be needed for the front-buffer, and possibly a further 12MB if using triple-buffering. With a 256MB card that would leave just 40MB for textures and anything else which wouldn't be sufficient for recent games at high-quality. The 512MB 6200 card solves all the memory problems though. Just imagine how nice EQ2 would look in Extreme quality mode at 2048x1536x32 with 8xAA and 16xAF. The framerate might be a touch on the low side though, I suspect ;)
  • PrinceGaz - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    page 2 "A particular favorite of ours, the Connect3D X800XL PCIe [RTPE: Connect3D Radeon X800XL 256MB], can be had for just under $250. However, if no-name brands are not your thing, ASUS has the X800XL for $30 more right now too."

    I wouldn't consider Connect3D a no-name brand these days, they're one of the main ATI partners.
  • at80eighty - Monday, June 27, 2005 - link

    btw...can we expect a shootout of the 7800 from the flavours from various vendors?

    the bit about the 7800 > 6800GTxSLI is pretty interesting... could save a few pennies for better performance ...hmmmm....

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