The GeForce 6600 GT model used to be the best graphics card in its class until quite recently. ATI Technologies didn’t offer solutions comparable to it in terms of performance and price. The RADEON X700 PRO with its large amount of graphics memory was slower than the NVIDIA card in nearly every test due to much lower operational frequencies.
It is then no wonder that graphics cards of the GeForce 6600 GT class, affordable and sufficiently fast in a majority of games, enjoyed highest popularity and demand. In a higher product category the RADEON X800 XL was a worthy competitor to the GeForce 6800 GT, but ATI needed a graphics processor and graphics card capable of at least doing no worse than the GeForce 6600 GT or better yet – outperforming it. The better product, RADEON X800, was announced back at the end of 2004, but it was not fortunate in the market due to a number of reasons. That’s why on August 11, the Canadian developer made another try.
The new product was named RADEON X800 GT as if to indicate that it is a direct market opponent to the GeForce 6600 GT. From the technological point of view, the RADEON X800 GT is based on an ordinary 0.13-micron R480 or R423 core with 8 active pixel pipelines and clocked at 475MHz. The amount of graphics memory, clocked at frequencies up to 490 (980) MHz, may vary from 128 to 512MB. The recommended price of the 128MB version is $139 while the 256MB version is priced at $199. The graphics processor communicates with the memory across a 256-bit bus (like in senior RADEON models) which is an advantage over the GeForce 6600 GT with its 128-bit memory interface. The developers at ATI decided to keep the number of vertex processors intact (there are 6 of them in the new RADEON). Combined with the high GPU clock rate, the RADEON X800 GT boasts a higher speed of processing geometrical information than NVIDIA’s solutions of the same class.
To all appearances the new graphics card from ATI has an excellent price/performance ratio, its only visible downside being the lack of support of some new technologies like Shader Model 3.0. This graphics card won’t live a long life on the market, though, since ATI is currently preparing the launch of its new series of GPUs. But the RADEON X800 GT will surely live its term well, strengthening further ATI’s position in the mass solutions sector and presenting an appealing alternative to the potential buyers.
This review is concerned with determining the performance level of the new product as compared with the GeForce 6600 GT, RADEON X700 PRO and the 12-pipelined GeForce 6800.