Ultra High End Graphics

This market segment is for the serious enthusiast who has to game at extreme resolutions and is willing to pay the heavy price to the pocket book. Happily, that price just became a lot lower this month on the reigning king of graphics, the GeForce 7800GTX, falling $100 from $600 to just under $500. Let's take a look at how GeForce 7800GTX card prices have dropped since their June 22 launch:

eVGA GeForce 7800GTX 256MB

Here, we have a LeadTek GeForce 7800GTX 256MB at ZipZoomFly [RTPE: PX7800GTX] for $495. Just last month, we were wondering about the possibility for a $50 reduction by year's end. Surely, a $100 drop just one month later is pleasant news that NVIDIA brings us.

Unfortunately for AGP holders, this card is only available in PCIe form for at least several more weeks. People should really think about making the transition to a PCIe graphics slot if they're in the market for a new high-end/extreme card right now, since AGP (for all practical purposes) is dying quickly.

The new show stopper is NVIDIA's GeForce 7800GT just launched this past Thursday. Higher performance than a decent Radeon X850XT, the new card is an upgrade from the GeForce 6800 Ultra series, but at the same cost (or lower) in many instances! With an MSRP of $399, we can easily expect these prices to drop at least $50 in the next few months - which in turn may also drop the prices of comparable cards, like the X850XT series.

The GeForce 6800 Ultra has really lost favor in PCIe form, since it's now competing with the 7800 GT and GTX while being approximately 40-60% slower than the 7800GTX depending on the benchmark. There are some decent deals on the 6800 Ultra in AGP form like the MSI GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB for $350 after Mail in Rebate (MIR) at ZipZoomFly [RTPE: MS-V801-001]. However, we can't really recommend a 6800 Ultra right now, since an equivalently priced GeForce 7800GT outperforms the 6800 Ultra at launch. The fact that GeForce 6800GTs are much more competitively priced doesn't help. Remember that the 6800GT is just a slightly under-clocked 6800 Ultra, same pixel pipelines and same features, making the GT the most popular choice for enthusiasts for almost a year now due to price.

The only people that might want to pick up a 6800 Ultra are users who want to upgrade to 6800U SLI. We'd be hesitant to recommend even that, given the current price/performance offered. If you have $400 for a second 6800U, we'd suggest the 7800GTX instead, and you can then SLI that in the future. Selling the 6800U for $300-$350 would only sweeten the deal. 6800U SLI does come out ahead a single 7800GTX overall, though, so go for it if you want.

ATI, whom of recent seems a bit slow out of the gate with their Crossfire and R520 compared to NVIDIA, have no choice but to slash prices to garner attention, which is good news for us consumers. ATI is offering their AGP Sapphire Radeon X850XT PE 256MB for $339 at EWiz [RTPE: 100111] dropping roughly $100 this month. The X850XT PE PCIe version for $350 from Connect3D [RTPE: Connect3D Radeon X850XT PE 256MB] is also falling by $100. ATI's only chance right now is to outperform the 7800GT on the price rather than performance. Check out how the price of the X850XT series has plummeted since the middle of July:

Connect3D Radeon X850XT PE 256MB

So, there you have it: unmatched GeForce 7800GTX 256MB for $500, GeForce 7800GT for $400 or X850XTs in the mid-to-upper $300 range.

Index High End Graphics
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  • ChronoReverse - Thursday, August 18, 2005 - link

    This card is going at Newegg ato $129 with $4 shipping.

    Performance at stock is slightly below 6600GT. Mine unlocks fully and gives me slightly below 6800GT performance.
  • Methusela - Monday, August 15, 2005 - link

    When are we going to see the mid-range, budget/performance 7800 series cards out? I've been waiting for seven weeks since the introduction of the 7800 series and it'd sure be nice to get 6800GT/U speed at the $175-$200 price point.

    In my scenario, nvidia makes no additional money from me because my current rig is more than powerful enough for my needs, but I happened upon a good deal from a friend on one of those AMD Tech Tour bundles, so I've got a cpu+mobo waiting... on the above video card to be released!

    Any info or approximations would be super, duper helpful, Kris. Thanks.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, August 15, 2005 - link

    I've mentioned this on the 7800GT article comments. Basically, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where a "budget" (actually mid-range) 7800 chip would really be useful. You want a 16 pipeline 7800? You've already got most of that with the 6800GT. The price cuts on 6800GT are designed to reflect this fact.

    The main point people raise in support of a lower cost 7800 part is that they want 110nm technology (cooler running and higher clock speeds) with the performance of the 6800GT. While that is possible, there's a lot of 130nm production capacity that can still be used, and 130nm is mature and the designs are already tested and validated.

    The big problem with a lower 7800 part competing with the 6800GT is that it would then kill off the 6800 series. While some people might like that, provided they can just get their "7800LE" for $225 or less, there are a whole bunch of 6800GT users that are still thinking about going to SLI that would be very unhappy.

    Bottom line: you want a great card for under $200, you've got several choices. X700Pro for $100 is half what that card cost at launch. 6600GT for $140 is another reasonable option, and 6800 ("vanilla") for $200 is yet another reasonable choice. The fundamental technology in G70 is the same as NV4x, with the only difference being the ability of G70 pipelines to do two MADD (multiply-add) operations per clock per pipeline. If a G70 part that cost the same and performed the same as the 6800GT were released, would it really be much better than a 6800GT? I don't think so.

    [/My two cents.]
  • SkyDiver - Monday, August 15, 2005 - link

    Hey, I can't get to zipzoomfly--currently unavailable. It isn't usual for a big e-com site to be down for hours. Is it just me? Obviously, I can get to anandtech.
  • skindogg - Monday, August 15, 2005 - link


    Unfortunately for AGP holders, this card is only available in PCIe form for at least several more weeks. People should really think about making the transition to a PCIe graphics slot if they're in the market for a new high-end/extreme card right now, since AGP (for all practical purposes) is dying quickly.

    So does anand have a dirty little secret? Is nvidia going to give us a pleasant surprise?
  • KristopherKubicki - Monday, August 15, 2005 - link

    Not really. It's the same as we have been saying all along; AGP takes longer to get to market and is kind of expensive on several different chipsets.

  • Bonesdad - Sunday, August 14, 2005 - link

    What about the Super Ultra High End Graphics Series and the Super Ultra High End EXTREME cards? Those of us that have 3-4K to spend on a video card need some love too...

    I just got my 6600 last year and it seems like its about to fall into the "low end" soon. It works for me...I'll save my money for travel and food thanks...I can play a game like HL2 and have it look really good (not INSANE like was posted above). Besides, isn't INSANE something to be avoided???
  • bupkus - Sunday, August 14, 2005 - link

    I understand, dude. It's ok. I have the X800/256 for $170 AMIR + shipping and I have video envy too, but... it beats my Ti4200 all to heck. Perhaps we can form a support group. Sob
  • Spacecomber - Sunday, August 14, 2005 - link

    Seems like the X800XTs are the bargains, for the moment, if you are looking for a high end AGP card. ZipZoomFly was selling an OEM version for $220, which I think makes them the better choice than an equivalently priced X800XL, unless I'm missing something about how these two cards compare. The prices on the AGP X800XT PE also seem to have taken a free fall dive; ZipZoomFly was selling the MSI model for around $250. Unfortunately, I see that both these items are now out of stock, but perhaps this reflects a trend in pricing for these components.

    Anyway, I'd do some pricing search engine research on the X800XT and X800XT PE, before I made up my mind that I was going to buy a 6800GT or X800XL AGP card.

  • at80eighty - Sunday, August 14, 2005 - link

    Do these vendors have international shipping?

    I live in Dubai - UAE, and here, the h/w vendors give us the shaft by charging almost double the rates you get in the US! im not too keen on paying $800 farking dollars for a VGA card dammit!

    so can anyone in the know , help a fellow AT'er out?

    thanks in advance!

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