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Sapphire Technology, one of the main add-in-card partners of ATI Technologies, started to supply its RADEON X800 XT-based graphics cards into the retail market. Unfortunately for those who demand to have the fastest graphics card up-to-date, the price for the product is much higher compared to other high-end PC components.

Monster Performance Goes Live

ATI RADEON X800 XT-series graphics cards are ATI’s flagship offerings for early Summer 2004 that have recommended price of $499. The RADEON X800 XT chip contains 16 pixel pipelines with 6 geometry pipelines and is clocked at 525MHz. The graphics card itself comes with 256MB of 256-bit 1.6ns GDDR3 memory operating at 1120MHz as well as D-Sub, DVI, TV-Out and optional VIVO connector. ATI’s flagship offering RADEON X800 XT graphics card outperformed NVIDIA’s top-of-the-line GeForce 6800 Ultra in a lot of cases based on the result of numerous gaming benchmarks conducted by X-bit labs.

The RADEON X800 family of graphics processors is ATI’s second generation breed of DirectX 9.0-supporting graphics engines that generally revamps performance and brings some new capabilities that are aimed to improve realism in conventional 3D games. ATI’s RADEON X800-series does not sport some capabilities NVIDIA’s new chips are able to execute, such as Shader Model 3.0.

$862 per Graphics Card?

Akiba PC Hotline reports that Japanese retailers charge customers from $682 to $862 per single Sapphire ATI RADEON X800 XT graphics card, which is higher than competing products now and other high-end devices in the pasts.

The first batch of the GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics cards cost quite a lot. In Tokyo, Japan, customer have to pay around $630 – $650 per single graphics cards. The initial GeForce 5800 Ultra-based graphics cards were quoted at $498-$542, which was also more than $100 higher than recommended cost. By contrast, the GeForce 5900 Ultra-powered graphics cards entered the market at $492-$595 price-points amid officially recommended pricing of $499. Even though recommendations are effective only for the USA, there are no huge differences between them and pricing in the rest of the world.

ATI RADEON 9800 XT graphics cards were priced from $485 to $564 in the USA and from $593 to $665 in Japan when available initially.

Astonishing Speed in Limited Quantities

Alienware, one of the largest builders of high-performance personal computer for gamers and other enthusiasts, last week started to offer ATI RADEON X800 XT graphics cards with its leading-edge systems. Additionally, the firm has other powerful options for customers, such as ATI RADEON X800 PRO as well as NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra.

The default configuration of Alienware Area-51 system includes the RADEON X800 PRO graphics card. In order to upgrade to NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics card customers have to pay extra $265, in order to change the graphics card to NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Extreme, end-users have to bid extra $30, while installing ATI RADEON X800 XT graphics card cost customers extra $108.

At press time Alienware did not have NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra and ATI RADEON X800 XT graphics cards in stock immediately.

Very few retailers from the USA had the RADEON X800 XT and the GeForce FX 6800 Ultra in stock at press time.

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