Our recommendation last month, the Sapphire Radeon X800GTO^2, has gone up in price about $30, now going for $255.00. This card can still be unlocked to an X850 with the BIOS hack, but with availability so slim, there are better options. This time around, we recommend going with the Sapphire Radeon X800GTO 256MB [RTPE: 100129SR] on sale for approximately $173, but for those who live on the wild side, Connect 3D has an X800GTO that unlocks to an X850 most of the time [RTPE: Connect3D X800GTO]. Check out our forums for more info.

The new GeForce 6800 GS cards are something everyone is eager to get their hands on. And of all the GeForce 6800 line of cards, the 6800 GS is the card to go with - particularly since the 6800 GT and the 6800 Ultra are now completely gone. It is currently only marketed with three manufacturers, LeadTek, XFX and eVGA, but NVIDIA promises more availability within a few weeks. The 6800 GS is the same base design as the vanilla 6800, but it has a higher core clock at 425MHz and comes with GDDR3 at 1000MHz. Essentially, the 6800 GS card is in the same class as the 6800 GT, but at a much lower price. One drawback is that the supply on this card is very low; expect its cycle to end soon at around Q1 '06. You can read more on this card along with benchmarks in Derek's all-inclusive article.

We're seeing the eVGA GeForce 6800 GS 256MB [RTPE: 256-P2-N386] for $200.00. The 6800 GS is much cheaper than a vanilla 256MB 6800. The GS is definitely the choice to go with.

The GeForce 6600 GT is still a viable option going for approximately anywhere from $30 - $70 cheaper than the 6800 GS. The lowest priced this week is the Chaintech GeForce 6600 GT 128MB [RTPE: SE6600G-128] for $133.00.

The ATI X700 is a good mid-range card and depending on which version you go with, it'll run you anywhere from about $80 for the 256MB LE version to about $140 for the 256MB Pro flavor. We seriously recommend the 6600GT, 6800GS or even the X800GTO cards instead, but if you insist ATI sub $150, the Sapphire Radeon X700 Pro 256MB [RTPE: 100596] is a good buy.

There is still no Radeon X1600 availability. Maybe next month, we hope.

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  • mjh - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    I have noticed that heat isn't an issue with the unlocked Sapphire Radeon X800 GTO2 card. Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    Yea I've been wondering that too. X850XT PE (Mine OCs to PE speeds) has a two slot cooler I think, so runing at those speeds while still stable, might not be too good for the card in the long run. X800XL runing at 400/500, which is about the same as X800GTO2 at default, however still has the normal cooler, buuuuut it may be a different core made with a process, 0.11 u I think, so the question still remains??? Mine gets quite hot after a few hours of CS:S. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60-70 C (hard to judge from the graph). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    X800XL uses .11 micron, but without the low-k dielectric material of the .13 micron process. In the end, it appears that the X850 and even X800XT cores are able to clock higher than the X800XL. GTO cores can be R423 or R428 I think, so you could end up with a card capable of X800XT performance or one capable of X850XTPE performance depending on luck of the draw. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    R428 should be "R480", of course. :) Reply
  • lexmark - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    Is heat an issue with unlocked cards? Reply
  • Madellga - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    Please be aware that this GTO is based on the X800, not X850 family.

    It is also easy to unlock the 16p and I could reach 560GPU/580 with stock cooler.
    Awesome, very good bang for the buck.

    The X850XT mod is for the Sapphire GTO2 only. At the end it doesn't really matter which one you get, as the difference in clock is minimal and they will benchmark very close to each other.
    Reply
  • toyota - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    "You'll find the newly released GeForce 6200 GS cards in stock at a few vendors." is that supposed to be 6800 GS? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    Yes - fixed. Reply
  • DrZoidberg - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    Wow, is this even better deal than unlocked GTO2? Connect3D Radeon X800XL 256MB for $130.00 after rebate. Nice!! Too bad im in Australia. Anyone can sell it to me on ebay? :) Reply
  • DrZoidberg - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    actually just read the fineprint. Notice: Purchase of an additional CrossFire Edition Graphics Card is required in order to qualify for $100 rebate.

    So its 229 + 129=358 for 2 x800xl. And then i have to buy a crossfire motherboard for this to work? Maybe anandtech can mention the fineprint cause its a bit misleading in the price guide to not mention u have to purchase a 2nd x800xl to qualify.
    Reply

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