ATI RADEON 9800
Thanks to increased competition between ATI and NVIDIA, one development that has taken the mainstream market by storm (at least among enthusiasts) are high-end cards like the RADEON 9800 and GeForce FX 5900 128MB that are sold as products for the mainstream segment.
Also mainstream contenders, the
5900 XT and RADEON 9800
ATI's RADEON 9800
eVGA e-GeForce FX 5900 SE
This started with the RADEON 9700 and later, the RADEON 9700 PRO, when its price was reduced with the introduction of the RADEON 9800 family. ATI eventually offered the RADEON 9800 128MB at incredibly low prices which we highlighted in our review
back in August. This card boasts a 256-bit memory interface and eight pixel pipelines, just like ATIís high-end offering the RADEON 9800 PRO/9800 XT. The only difference is the clock speeds have been reduced to 325MHz core/290MHz memory (580MHz effective).
These boards could be found for as low as $200, but unfortunately in recent weeks theyíve been all bought up, finding a true RADEON 9800 at $200 has been difficult lately. Fortunately the RADEON 9700 PRO at $230 performs similarly, but it doesnít offer some of the RADEON 9800ís features and itís built on an older board design that tends to generate more heat.
GeForce FX 5900/5900 XT
In contrast to the rapidly disappearing RADEON 9800, NVIDIA and its board partners have been stuffing OEM and retail channels with GeForce FX 5900 and GeForce FX 5900 XT boards. These cards boast the same feature set as the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, although in the case of the GeForce FX 5900, the core clock frequency has been reduced to 400MHz and itís equipped with 425MHz memory (850MHz effective). The GeForce FX 5900 XTís core also operates at 400MHz, but its memory is pared down to 350MHz (700MHz effective).
To help offset this, the memory modules on the 5900 XT run at lower timings, allowing the 5900 XT to pull even with the GeForce FX 5900 128MB in many applications, but the overall performance edge goes to the GeForce FX 5900 128MB. You can see the specifics in our eVGA e-GeForce FX 5900 SE review.
In order to further sweeten the deal, NVIDIA and a select group of its board partners (BFG, eVGA, MSI, PNY, Gainward, Leadtek, XFX, and Gigabyte) have put together a special promotional bundle for the holidays with Activision/Infinity Wardís latest shooter, Call of Duty. While supplies last, youíll receive a free copy of this game with the purchase of a GeForce FX 5900/GeForce FX 5900 XT. This game is a $50 value, and is arguably the hottest shooter on the market right now, so this deal is pretty big news. The GeForce FX 5900 XT retails for $200 with Call of Duty bundle, while the GeForce FX 5900 128MB retails for $230 with CoD bundle.
|Mainstream Graphics Feature Comparison
||Core Clock (MHz)
||Memory Clock (MHz)
||Peak fill rate (Mpixels/sec)
||Peak fill rate (Mtexels/sec)
||Peak Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)
|GeForce FX 5900 XT
|GeForce FX 5900