When we look at the graphics card market, the mainstream segment is one that is often overlooked, but nevertheless, very important for both ATI and NVIDIA. Although not as sexy as the $500 flagship parts on the market, cards priced $200 and below hit a price/performance sweet spot that’s affordable to many gamers. These cards have all of the architectural features of their flagship counterparts, lacking only when it comes to frequency and pipelines.
Looking back at the past year in the mainstream segment, we can see that NVIDIA’s 8-pixel pipeline based GeForce 6600GT was the dominant and most successful card on the market. ATI’s answer to the 6600GT was first the Radeon X700XT, a card that was soon canceled due to bad yields. The Radeon X700 Pro was then released to go head to head with the 6600GT, a battle it lost due to lower core and memory frequencies. The GeForce 6600GT simply performed better in most games, including Doom 3, Far Cry, usually even Half-Life 2, so the Radeon X700 Pro never really had any chance.
As production has increased over the last year, the cost of making Radeon X700 Pro graphics cards has scaled down drastically. Radeon X700 Pro cards can now be found for around $110-$115, a far cry from their original $200 price point. Since the Radeon X700 Pro has transitioned down, ATI needed to bring a new card to market to directly compete with the GeForce 6600GT. And just a few weeks ago they did just that, introducing a new graphics card into the mainstream market, the $200 (retail) Radeon X800GT.
The Radeon X800GT features the Radeon X800 series’ 256-bit memory interface, 8 pixel pipelines, a 475MHz core clock, and a 980MHz memory clock. When you compare that to the Radeon X700 Pro, you’re getting an increase core clock of 55MHz for a higher fill-rate, an increase in memory clock of 130MHz, and a more powerful memory interface for more memory bandwidth (the Radeon X700 Pro and the GeForce 6600GT both have 128-bit memory interfaces). Prices are also much lower than the MSRP of $200 ATI has set for the cards. You can find Radeon X800GT cards for around $155 at many online retailers.
With that said, today we’ll be taking a look at PowerColor’s version of the Radeon X800GT, one that is rumored to be one of the most overclockable on the market. Join us as we take a look at PowerColor’s latest product offering.