Price Guides, August 2005: Video Cardsby Anand Shimpi & Cara Hamm on August 14, 2005 12:05 AM EST
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Ultra High End GraphicsThis 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:
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:
So, there you have it: unmatched GeForce 7800GTX 256MB for $500, GeForce 7800GT for $400 or X850XTs in the mid-to-upper $300 range.