Introduction

Today we herald the release of the new ATI graphics solution. Though the R420 is still based on DX9's PS2.0, performance numbers look to be on par with what we would expect from a company who has lead the industry in performance for nearly two years. The two new board configurations based on R420 at which we will be looking today are the Radeon X800 Pro, and the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition. The Radeon X800 Pro is shipping today, but the XT Platinum Edition won't make it out the door until later this month (ATI cites May 21st as the shipping date).

We were skeptical, when the GeForce 6800 Ultra was thrust into the spotlight, that ATI would be able to keep up with their toughest competitor. From the first briefing we had regarding the R420 GPU, we knew it would be an intense fight. Both the NV40 and R420 architectures are very sound and well founded, and the next six months will be a very good time for consumers of computer technology. But before we start handing out the nominations for happiest customer, let's take a look at the new kid on the block.

The Chip
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  • rms - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    "the near-to-be-released goodlooking PS 3.0 Far Cry update "

    When is that patch scheduled for? I recall seeing some rumour it was due in September...

    rms
    Reply
  • Fr0zeN - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    Yeah I agree, the GT looks like it's gonna give the x800P a run for its money. On a side note, the differences between P and XT versions seem to be greater than r9800's, hmm.

    In the end it's the most overclockable $200 card that'll end up in my comp. There's no way I'm paying $500 for something that I can compensate for by turning the rez down to 10x7... Raw benchmarks mean nothing if it doesn't oc well!
    Reply
  • Doop - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    The cards seem very close, I tend to favor nVidia now since they have superior multi monitor and professional 3D drivers and I regret buying my Fire GL X1.

    It's strange ATi didn't announce a 16 pipeline card orginally, it will be interesting to see in a month or two who actually ends up delivering cards.

    I mean if they're being made in significant quantities they'll be at your local store with a reduced 'street' price but if it's just a paper launch they'll just be at Alienware, Dell (with a new PC only) or $500 if you can find one.
    Reply
  • jensend - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    #17, the Serious Engine has nothing to do with the Q3 engine; Nvidia's superior OpenGL performance is not dependent on any handful of engines' particular quirks.

    Zobar is right; contra Jibbo, the increased flexibility of PS3 means that for many 2.0 shader programs a PS3 version can achieve equivalent results with a lesser performance hit.

    As far as power goes, I'm surprised NV made such a big deal out of PSU requirements, as its new cards (except the 6800U Extremely Short Production Run Edition/6850U/Whatever they end up calling that part) compare favorably wattage-wise to the 5950U and don't pull all that much more power than the 9800XT. Both companies have made a big performance per watt leap, and it'll be interesting to see how the mid-range and value cards compare in this respect.
    Reply
  • blitz - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    "Of course, we will have to wait and see what happens in that area, but depending on what the test results for our 6850 Ultra end up looking like, we may end up recommending that NVIDIA push their prices down slightly (or shift around a few specs) in order to keep the market balanced."

    It sounds as if you would be giving nvidia advice on their pricing strategy, somehow I don't think they would listen nor be influenced by your opinion. It could be better phrased that you would advise consumers to wait for prices to drop or look elsewhere for better price\performance ratio.
    Reply
  • Cygni - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    Hmmmm, interesting. I really dont see where anyone can draw the conclusion that the x800 Pro is CLEARLY the winner. The 6800 GT and x800 Pro traded game wins back and forth. There doesnt seem to be any clear cut winner to me. Wolf, JediA, X2, F1C, and AQ3 all went clearly to the GT... this isnt open and shut. Alot of the other tests were split depending on resolution/AA. On the other hand, I dont think you can say that the GT is clearly better than the x800 Pro either.

    Personally, I will buy whichever one hits a reasonable price point first. $150-200. Both seem to be pretty equal, and to me, price matters far more.
    Reply
  • kherman - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    BRING ON DOOM 3!!!!!!

    We all know inside that this is what ID was waiting for!
    Reply
  • Diesel - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

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    I think it is strange that the tested X800XT is clocked at 520 Mhz, while the 6800U, that is manufactured by the same taiwanese company and also has 16 pipelines, is set at 400 Mhz.
    ------------------

    This could be because NV40 has 222M transistors vs. R420 at 160M transistors. I think the amount of power required and heat generated is proportional to transistor count and clock speed.
    Reply
  • edub82 - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    I know this is an ATI article but that 6800 GT is looking very attractive. It beats the x800Pro on a fairly regular basis is a single slot and molex connector card and is starting at 400 and hopefully will go down a few dollars ;) in 6 months when i want to upgrade. Reply
  • Slaanesh - Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - link

    "Clearly a developer can have much nicer quality and exotic effects if he/she exploits these, but how many gamers will have a PS3.0 card that will run these extremely complex shaders at high resolutions and AA/AF without crawling to single-digit fps? It's my guess that it will be *at least* a year until games show serious quality differentiation between PS2.0 and PS3.0. But I have been wrong in the past..."
    --------

    I dunnow.. When Morrowind got released, only he few GF3 cards on the market were able to show the cool pixel shader water effects and they did it well; at that time I was really pissed I went for the cheaper Geforce2 Ultra although it had some better benchmarks at a much lower price. I don't think I want make that mistake again and pay the same amount of money for a card that doesnt support the latest technology..
    Reply

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