Late last year ATi went crazy with the Radeon X800 series, turning it from a four card show to a staggering nine! The original X800 series lineup was confusing enough, with four products. Now with a total of nine possible Radeon X800 options, things have certainly got out of hand and many users are unsure as to which product will best suit their needs. Picking the right Radeon X800 graphics card will not be an easy task with such a wide variety now on offer. The prices of these cards can range from $250 US, through to an insane $550 US. Furthermore the performance variation between the slowest and fastest Radeon X800 graphics cards is quite large.
Despite the huge success NVIDIA is having with the GeForce 6600 GT series, ATi have done little to strengthen their mid-range line-up. There are two Radeon X600 products and just one Radeon X700 product. Clearly ATi wish to provide mid-range products through the Radeon X800 series, with cards such as the Radeon X800XL and SE. There are now four Radeon X800 products that do not feature all 16 pixel pipelines. These are the Radeon X800, X800 Pro, X850 Pro and X800SE which all use cut down pipelines.
The Radeon X800, X800 Pro and X850 Pro cores utilize 12 pixel pipelines and the X800SE just 8 pipelines. These four products are naturally inferior in performance to the 16 pipeline X800 products. However, they are also much cheaper with the most expensive option being the X850 Pro at $400 US. The higher-end X800 cards have a few things in common, they all use 16 pipelines, feature 256MB of onboard GDDR3 memory, operate with a memory frequency above 1GHz, produce over 30GB/s of memory bandwidth and cost a small fortune.
These solutions are currently the best of the best from ATi and will most likely wind up only in the hands of the luckiest gamers out there. These graphics cards are the X800XT, X800XT PE, X850XT, X850XT PE and also the X800XL. Now the X800XT and X800XT PE are the original X800 flagship products. There is little difference between the two performance wise, though the X800XT PE (Platinum Edition) is faster due to slightly improved core and memory frequencies. However, the X800XT PE was released exclusively for the PCI Express bus where as the X800XT was both PCIe and AGP compatible.
Unfortunately, the Radeon X800XT PE was an unrealistic product. The extreme pricing of this graphics card put most users off. Those that were not scared away by the price tag were unable to pick up one of these extreme performance graphics cards. The new generation of Platinum Edition graphics cards are said to be not only cheaper, but also more readily available. That said, today we will be taking a look at the Gigabyte Radeon X850XT PE. This is not only the fastest graphics card ATi currently has on offer; it is also the most expensive. The average Radeon X850XT PE can be had for anywhere between $500 and $700 US.