A couple days ago we had the opportunity to look at CPU and memory prices.  Fortunately, today we are going to take the opportunity to look at the prices of our personal favorite subject, video cards. 

As Anand likes to say, don’t buy a video card now for a game you want to play in 3 months.  Generally speaking, if you follow the volatility of the GPU prices, you know that’s a good ideatm.  This week we will start with ATI first, but to prevent any fanboy accusations, we will start with NVIDIA first next week.

ATI, unfortunately, has more product lines than you can shake a stick at.  And believe us, the naming convention is a bit out of hand.  Without further ado, let’s start with the ultra high end cards and work our way down.

As many of you know, there are three editions of the 9800 video cards floating around, the 9800 Pro, the 9800 XT and the 9800 SE.  The fourth Ultra high end Radeon card, the 9800 non Pro, is akin to the Radeon 9500 Pro; fast, cheap and near impossible to find.  It seems once ATI found out it was incredibly easy to turn your $250 9800 non-pro into a full blown 9800 Pro, they stopped their supply of the units.

In our opinion the Radeon 9800 SE (which only has 4 pipelines) really shouldn’t even be categorized with the other 3 cards.  Only rarely does it outpace a Radeon 9600 Pro but still comes with a $20 premium over the 9600 Pro.  There seems to be a few soft-mods around to upgrade your 4 piped 9800 SE to a 9800 Pro, but our best guess is the 9800 SE’s are cards based on chipsets that were unable to clock properly with all 8 pipes.  Banking on the assumption that your 9800 SE will easily unlock to 8 pipelines is probably not a safe bet.

Finally, we have our two champions, the 9800 Pro and the 9800 XT.  Of course the 9800 XT is just coming to market and in limited supply.  For us, it’s a little hard to justify the near $500 price tag.  Particularly since the 9800 Pro 128MB, which performs slightly worse than the XT, sells for $300 brand new.  Granted, this still is not a bargain, but $300 firmly establishes our cap for what to spend on a ‘high end’ video card.

Midrange ATI GPUs and Prices


View All Comments

  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 19, 2003 - link

    #5 Maybe should read some older video card reviews... for instance the Geforce3 review. You could make the exact same arguement there. Anand stated that people who plan on upgrading should wait till fall for the ATI 8500. When it came out, it didnt perform to well because of poor drivers. Despite this, Anand still recommended that people shouldnt purchase a Geforce3 until new ATI drivers were released.

    I can guarantee that if a new NVIDIA card came out first and an ATI card was right around the corner, youd see the things like "Dont upgrade yet, with ATI's new card around the corner, theres no telling what they'll have in store for us." etc etc. But of course you wouldn't argue that.

    Your comments towards Kris (and Anand, as you did in fact mention his name) are completely illogical and very innapropriate. You dont have to throw out baseless accusations that do nothing more than insult the integrity of staff members just because you disagreed with something stated in the review.
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 19, 2003 - link

    booyah! :D Reply
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 19, 2003 - link

    #5: As a proud owner of a 9800 pro, why would you call me a fanboy? To say that we dont know anything about NVIDIA's NV38 is silly, as I even posted links to the benchmarks.

    As for forum posts, feel free to link to them.

    Both of my hardware recommendations were ATI cards. I think your comments are total unsubstantiated.


  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 19, 2003 - link

    "This, of course, is assuming it doesn’t get any competition from NVIDIA."

    Was that sentence really needed? Might as well say XGI too because you dont know jack squat about what the geforce 5700, or whatever driver updates, are going to perform like.

    Kristopher is a fanboy. Its been heavily talked about on the forums. For someone reason you go out of your way to credit Nvidia. In all the ATI reviews you and Anand say WAIT TO SEE what Nvidia has to counter 6 weeks! from now.


    I bet if ATi goes to market first with the R400 you will not recommend buying one (assuming it does great) because your waiting for Nvidia. And then CONTINUE not to recommend until Nvidia has released their product an entire year later, due to delays. JESUS

    Call me an ATI fanboy, i dont care. I am a sad owner of a geforceFX and wish i went the ATi route instead.
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 19, 2003 - link

    I'm using a sapphire radeon 9700 non-pro, is there a similiar pro hack for this? I've tried the omega drivers, but its hack doesnt work and i think they just removed it because of it. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Sunday, October 19, 2003 - link

    #1, learn how to read, its on the first page. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, October 18, 2003 - link

    #1 Isn't that mentioned on the first page?

  • Anonymous User - Saturday, October 18, 2003 - link

    Why not mention the 9800SE->9800 hack?

    .. oh, I know why. It succeeds less often than the 9500 one and the price boost isn't worth it.


Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now