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Sapphire Radeon X800 XT Graphics Card Review

By: Mike Wright | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Aug 14, 2004 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.5%Manufacturer: Sapphire Technologies



All right, so you go shell out $500+ for your new video card and you STILL want it to go faster? Well of course! Isn't that what being an enthusiast is all about?


When we receive graphics boards based on a new chipset, particularly top tier versions such as this, we usually don't expect to see much in the line of overclockability. The manufacturer is already trying to get the most performance as possible out to the public anyway, so these boards are generally set very close to their limits. As a general rule, is we can get as much as a 10% overclock from this type product, things are looking pretty good.


With this in mind, I began playing with the internal clock speeds of both memory and core. For those who haven't seen a video board review from me, I tend to be very picky about the overclocking portion of the article. I start with a moderate step-up and then continue on until I see ANY glitch or artifact. I only give credit for the highest speed in which I received no errors in the display.


So how did the X800 XT do in this test? From a stock speed of 520/560 I was able to get to 563/607 (effectively 1214MHz for the memory). This works out to an 8% increase for both speeds. So while this will enhance the performance a bit more, it falls right into what we expected to see from a top-tier performance board just hitting the streets.




After all benchmarks have been laid to the side, I can say without hesitation that this is one awesome video board. While the 9800 Pro used to compare it with isn't a slouch at all, the Sapphire X800 XT just ran circles around it. It does, however, take a monster system to take full advantage of its potential, but the results were still very one-sided as a general rule.


There will always be arguments regarding the ATI vs. nVidia class boards; just like there will always be these same arguments between the Intel and AMD clans. Both boards have their merits, but most tests I have seen so far show a very close standing between the two. You'll have to make up your own mind which direction you want to travel, but today's goal is to try to decide whether the Sapphire X800 XT is a worthy upgrade for those using a system similar to our test rig, which is really quite a few folks out there. In my own humble opinion I will say that yes, it is indeed worth the upgrade if you can afford the entry fee. Power to spare and ready to handle even the most demanding of tasks, the X800 XT stands on its own feet as a powerful component.


When you also consider the software package that comes standard with this Sapphire board, you begin to see that you're getting something very special. A pair of full version games that are actually decent, a DVD software package, a digital video editing package, and even an overclocking utility; this thing just comes with it all.


Bottom line... If you have a decent but not outstanding system and have been considering one of the new high-end video boards, you simply cannot go wrong with this Sapphire product. It screams and then comes begging for more, plus it includes a software package and features that let it hold its head high above most other competitors.


- Pros


Incredibly powerful


AA/AF with little performance degradation


256MB GDDR3 memory


Excellent software package


- Cons


Very expensive!


Rating - 9.5 out of 10 and TweakTown's MUST HAVE Performance Award!



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