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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  • jcsamp - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    <$50: Crap.
    $50-$100: Almost acceptable
    $100-$150: Mainstream
    $150-$250: High-end
    $250-$350: Too expensive
    >$350: I'd rather buy an Xbox 360

    Unfortunately the only place where the big 2 seem to agree with me are in the lowest price brackets. More unfortunately, most users don't agree with me either and think it is just fine to go out and plop down $350 for a video card, regardless of how great it is, thus validating the card companies' outlandish prices. Stop buying those expensive cards so I can actually afford one :)
  • yacoub - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Most consumers are sheep and the companies are marketing to them at full tilt.

    If they want to be fiscally foolish that's their problem. I'll stay satisfied with my 17" LCD and gaming at 1024x while they put themselves into debt trying to maintain solid fps at 1600x with decent looking graphical settings.

    I'm not going to give in to a retarded price model offered because others are willing to take whatever is put out for them the moment it's put there without the patience to wait for the items to drop down to a reasonable price like an educated consumer would.

    If no one bought cards at outrageous prices the providers wouldn't be able to offer them at that pricing because they would be wasting their time. They instead would have to offer them starting at a more reasonable price to get the same sales volume they can currently get at rip-off prices.

    So the people to really be sarcastically thanking or to be disappointed in are the ones buying cards at those prices without a care for rationality.
  • dimnikar - Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - link

    I'd like to say you should've been happy with what you had back then. Look at high end gfx prices in 2018 :D Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Considering the "mid-range" graphic options can barely power 1024x with decent graphical settings in the latest games, this market is truly jacked up as far as pricing goes. Reply
  • jcsamp - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    The guide seems to skip straight from 6600GT/X700 to 6200TC/X300, leaving out all those cards in between. Specifically I would have liked to see some pricing on those updated cards like the 6600 DDR2. I know there's not many producers (XFX is the only one that comes to mind), and even fewer vendors right now, but I would have liked to see some pricing data on these cards as well, since the MSRP is so low, and the performance is almost at the 6600GT level. Reply
  • johnsonx - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    I'm not sure ~$350.00 X1800XL and 7800GT cards qualify as Ultra High-End cards in the same category with $500-and-up XT and GTX cards. Particularly when there are cards in the 'regular' high-end costing far more. Those XL and GT cards are pretty mainstream high-end I think.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Most readers would put the $350 and up price as high end, but we're also considering performance. The X1800XL and 7800GT are quite a bit faster than the best "high end" cards. We also make it pretty clear that spending $250 to $300 right now is probably not a great idea, due to the better deals in the mid-range and ultra-range cards. (See bold text at the bottom of page 2.) Reply
  • stephenbrooks - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    Something I've been thinking of asking the reviewers here is whether they could do a plot of price vs. performance (measured in 3Dmark05's or various things), for each of the graphics cards in ATI and NVidia's ranges. I imagine it would end up looking a bit like a "battlefield" with red and green each trying to get below each others price/performance curve. It would also make it visually really easy to see what card is where. Just a thought, anyway. I think it would be a cool thing. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Sunday, November 13, 2005 - link

    I think that would be a good idea as it would show at which point across the performance spectrum you get the best value. In other words, where you start paying a lot more for relatively small returns, and also how the low-end and mid-range value-for-money compares.

    I wouldn;t use 3DMark05 though; instead a weighted-average of actual game results, though with a proper selection of games and not the FPS only games that AT uses.
  • stephenbrooks - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Actually I was thinking just display several graphs - perhaps not as elegant, but at least it would show that which card is best depends on what you use it for. Reply

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