ATI's Radeon X850 XT graphics cards
ATI'S HIGH-END RADEON X800 CARDS
have been reasonably successful by most measures. The technology is solid and, although a little older, more or less on par with NVIDIA's GeForce 6 series GPUs. They seem to be selling well, with big PC makers like Dell sucking up nearly all the cards ATI can supply. The cards' performance is decent, and ATI's market share numbers are up.
However, not all has been roses. NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 cards have been fierce competition, with the 16-pipe GeForce 6800 GT arguably offering a better value at $399 than the Radeon X800 Pro. Also, ATI's top-end product, the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition, has been exceptionally rare. Oh, sure, the streets aren't exactly awash in GeForce 6800 Ultras, but the Platinum Edition has been brutally scarce.
ATI is aiming to correct these availability problems and bring a little more performance to the X800 series with a pair of new graphics chips, code-named R430 and R480. The first products based on these chips will be the Radeon X850 XT and X850 XT Platinum Edition, and we've had our grubby little hands on one of these cards long enough to benchmark it. In fact, we've benchmarked it against nearly every card we could find. Read on for a look at how ATI is remodeling the high end of its product line, and for a performance comparison of all of the latest the graphics cards from $199 and upincluding dual GeForce 6800 Ultras in SLI.