Legit Reviews Staff Thoughts:
Though most of our testing showed the X1800 GTO ahead of the overclocked 7600GT, we would only expect that since the ATI card is $50 more expensive. With specifications so close to the X1800XL the GTO performed nearly as well, which is to say it is very fast for a mid-range product. When it comes to Anti-Aliasing results the X1800 GTO will almost always show better performance and scaling due to the 256-bit bus vs. 128-bit on the Nvidia card. The ATI offerings also seem to perform better in shader intensive operations which is believed to be the direction for upcoming games. The X1800 GTO gives you the option of High Quality Anisotropic Filtering and HDR+AA. HDR performance is an important feature for upcoming titles and the GTO does very well here.
The NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT could be found for $189 yesterday when launched and one can only expect that price to drop over the next couple of weeks. It would be my best guess that we might be seeing GeForce 7600GT’s selling for the $179 price range by the time these $249 ATI Radeon X1800 GTO’s hit the market. In that case the cards would be nearly $70 apart in cost. That leads us to believe that the chopped up R520 core is not in the same market at the NVIDIA G73 core. The sub $199 video card market is very different than the $249 market.
Now that we have a chance to see how these two cards pair up it’s easy to see why ATI was in such a hurry to launch the GTO. Looking back at our X1000 series article even the X1600XT couldn’t keep pace with the X1800XL, which the GTO is nearly identical to.
Once again, the biggest news is CrossFire without the master card or dongle, provided that you pick up an Xpress 3200 motherboard. We don’t yet have a second GTO card to give you benchmark numbers, but even if we did ATI doesn’t have the drivers ready yet that support CrossFire on teh X1800 GTO series. Master-cardless CrossFire is great news for ATI as it opens up CrossFire to a market that they haven’t really been able to reach. Anyone building a new system or upgrading an old and looking at the mid-range line of cards should have it on their list.
The main issue at this moment is availability. Currently the only shipping Xpress 3200 board is the Asus A8R32-MVP but you can expect others to be arriving later this month, just in time for the X1800 GTO to be shipping. While the announcement without product in stores is frustrating, ATI no doubt has R520 GPU’s around for use in the X1800 GTO so it is reasonable to expect them to deliver the GTO before or on March 31st.
At this time of writing this I can’t tell you that the X1800 GTO is the card that you should buy because obviously you can’t. If you must have a new video card today for $250 or less than the XFX 7600GT XXX is the card that you should be looking at. If the X1800 GTO is indeed available on March 31st as promised then the decision will depend on how the market is pricing each card and if you want CrossFire or SLI. If price were the same or you have the budget for the GTO it would be our choice, but that is a very big ?IF.?
In closing we just got in some NVIDIA 7900GT’s which are priced at $299 and for $50 more than the ATI X1800 GTO and are supposed to be some fast cards. We wanted to bring you the X1800 GTO article this week and rather than holding off all of our articles for an entire week.
Legit Bottom Line: The X1800 GTO brings with it the promise of great mid-range performance for a middle of the road price. March 31st will be a big day for ATI.