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Conclusion

Having tested one version of the RADEON X800 GTO, we can claim that it is as dangerous a rival to the GeForce 6800 as the RADEON X800 GT is to the GeForce 6600 GT.

The ATI RADEON X800 GTO is generally faster – and much faster at times – than the NVIDIA GeForce 6800. Not a big surprise, actually, considering its higher clock rates and bigger amount of graphics memory. The exceptions are few: the shooters Doom 3 and The Chronicles of Riddick and flight sims from Maddox Games. These are all OpenGL applications, and ATI Technologies doesn’t seem to have a really efficient OpenGL driver as yet. This is not a very big problem, however, because there are very few OpenGL games around and some of them can work with Direct3D, too.

So, the bigger problem for ATI is that the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS can be already bought for less than the officially recommended $249, and that graphics card easily beats the RADEON X800 GTO, supports Shader Model 3.0 and HDR and overclocks well. Lacking the modern technologies and not overclocker-friendly because of the R430 chip, the RADEON X800 GTO looks pale against the new product from NVIDIA, even though surpasses the RADEON X1600 XT with its bottleneck of four TMUs, in almost all games.

Talking about the PowerColor X800 GTO VIVO in particular, the overall impression about this device was somewhat marred by the lack of any games in the package as well as by the compatibility problems with some mainboards. Those problems may be solved in future BIOS updates, but you must agree it is not a pleasant situation to buy a new graphics card only to find that it refuses to work normally on your mainboard.

Otherwise, it is a typical PowerColor product, with no gorgeous accessories and a simple cooling system. It is a reliable and inexpensive graphics card based on the time-tested RADEON X800 architecture for people who do not need high performance in OpenGL applications and Shader Model 3.0 in those few games that use it. As a kind of bonus, PowerColor offers the VIVO functions for people who capture video from analog sources.

The product won’t interest overclockers. There’s a tiny, negligible chance to unblock the extra pipelines, while the overclocking potential of the employed R430 chip is very low, usually not more than 20-30MHz. We think we were just lucky to speed up the GPU of our sample of the card to 450MHz, even though the extra 50MHz helped the PowerColor X800 GTO VIVO to overtake the RADEON X800 XL in some tests.

And still, if you are choosing between a PowerColor X800 GTO VIVO and a GeForce 6800, the decision is obvious, and not in the favor of the GeForce.

Highs:

  • Quiet operation
  • High performance with enabled full-screen antialiasing
  • Doesn’t require additional power
  • Two DVI-I connectors
  • VIVO support

Lows:

  • Doesn’t support Shader Model 3.0
  • The memory on the face side of the PCB has no contact with the heatsink
  • Low overclockability
  • No games included in the package
 
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