IntroductionSAPPHIRE X800 GT Hybrid 256MB PCI-Express
What to buy? The perennial question that's always on users' lips, and a question whose answer changes over time, as newer products are released, at certain pricepoints, that make the incumbents seem rather slow and expensive. The top-end of the graphics card market is a prime example, with ATI and NVIDIA continually pushing the performance envelope by releasing faster and faster GPUs that slot in at established pricepoints. Take the GeForce 7800 GTX as an example. It debuted at, roughly-speaking, GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB money, yet it's markedly faster in pretty much any game or benchmark you want to throw at it.
It's no surprise that the top-end sector is always going to be volatile, but the majority of users, we find, simply cannot afford or justify spending £350+ on a single graphics card. What those users want to know is what's the fastest/best GPU for a more modest outlay, say, £100.
Right now, ATI and its board partners push Radeon X700-based cards, most likely ones with 256MB of onboard memory, as the must-have £100 product. NVIDIA, on the other hand, has its established, and arguably better, GeForce 6600 GT SKU at or just above this crucial pricing figure. However, a few days' ago ATI quietly slipped in a Radeon X800 GT SKU into its lineup, with board partners pricing the retail product at £100-£110. Now what on earth is an X800 GT, I hear you say? Read on to find out.