ATI's Radeon X700 XT graphics card

The red team answers
— 5:02 AM on September 21, 2004

THE STRUGGLE FOR THE upper hand in the graphics market has never been tighter than it is right now between ATI and NVIDIA. The two companies both made giant strides forward this past spring with the introduction of new graphics chips boasting over twice the power of the previous top-of-the-line models. These new GPUs, the Radeon X800 and GeForce 6800, were very evenly matched when they arrived, although ATI's Radeon X800 had a slight lead in performance overall. The race has only tightened as NVIDIA has refined its drivers and snazzy new games like Doom 3 have arrived.

The contest, however, is just beginning. Sure, some folks buy those $399 graphics cards, but I get a nosebleed just thinking about it. The real action is down under $200, where those of us who don't host our own reality shows can afford to play. Two weeks ago, NVIDIA pulled the wraps off of the GeForce 6600 GT, a $199 product that offers performance superior to last month's $299 graphics cards, causing us to proclaim the thing "freaking awesome." Today, ATI responds with the launch of its own new mid-range GPU, the Radeon X700 XT. Derived from the Radeon X800, the X700 series offers all the fancy-schmancy new features of its big brother, including improved pixel shaders and a revamped memory controller. How does the Radeon X700 XT stack up against the GeForce 6600 GT? Read on to find out.

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