Going one step lower, we meet three graphics cards:
- GeForce 6800 GT
- GeForce 6800
- RADEON X800 XL
The main choice is between the ATI RADEON X800 XL and the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT here. The RADEON X800 XL seems preferable from the point of view of speed as it delivers a higher performance in FSAA + anisotropic filtering modes, making good use of a more advanced memory controller than the one implemented in the GeForce 6800 GT. The advantage of ATI’s product is, however, smaller in the “pure speed” mode and it doesn’t support Shader Model 3.0. Thus, the performance and low power consumption of the RADEON X800 XL should be weighed against the wider functionality of the GeForce 6800 GT which also supports SLI technology, by the way.
As for the GeForce 6800, it is slower than the above-mentioned RADEON X800 XL and GeForce 6800 GT, but has all the advantages of the NV40 architecture and can occupy the graphics slot of your computer if you can’t or don’t want to buy one of the other two products. The NV42 is manufactured on 0.11-micron tech process, so you will get a power-thrifty graphics card, too. Note, however, that unlike the other two solutions in this price category, the standard version of the GeForce 6600 comes with only 128 megabytes of graphics memory.
So, the ATI RADEON X800 XL offers the highest performance among performance-mainstream solutions, but the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT features a better price/features ratio. The choice depends on your personal tastes.