ATI Radeon X800 Pro review: ATI Radeon X800 Pro

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Strong performance for a mid-high-end card; efficient design.

The Bad Price still high.

The Bottom Line If you can live a few frames per second behind those with the highest-end graphics cards, the ATI Radeon X800 Pro saves you $100 and still smokes most of the competition.

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ATI announced two next-generation graphics cards this morning, the 256MB Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition and the 128MB Radeon X800 Pro. The higher-end X800 XT Platinum Edition card goes on sale May 21; the $399 X800 Pro card is available today. With impressive benchmark scores, an efficient design, and a price that brings elite 3D graphics power closer to the hands of PC gamers than the most expensive cards, early adopters and gamers looking for a strong performance-to-price ratio will want to give the X800 Pro serious consideration.

The X800 Pro and X800 XT Platinum Edition cards are extremely similar in design. Both feature a slim, single-AGP-slot design, which means that you don't lose an adjacent PCI slot because of an overhanging fan. Both cards also require only one connection to your PC's 300- to 350-watt power supply (depending on the number of other hardware components), unlike Nvidia's new GeForce 6800 Ultra card, which demands two connections to at least a 480-watt supply.

The X800 Pro and the X800 XT also share the same fundamental architecture, with the X800 Pro having more modest specifications: 128MB of memory instead of 256MB and 12 pixel-rendering pipelines compared to the XT's 16 pipes (the previous generation high-end Radeon cards had 8). Both cards offer advanced image-quality-enhancing features such as ATI's new 3Dc texture compression and so-called temporal antialiasing. These features will mean more in the coming months, however, when new drivers, new games, and patches for old titles come out that enable them.

Until we can test the X800 Pro's direct competitor, the GeForce 6800 GT, which was also announced today, we can't tell you whether ATI or Nvidia is the leader at this performance level and price point. Nvidia has told us that the 6800 GT will require only one expansion slot, one power-supply connector, and less wattage than the 6800 Ultra, but we'll reserve judgment until we can see the card for ourselves and run it through our tests. Measured against both the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition and the GeForce 6800 Ultra, however, the X800 Pro gives a strong performance.

The X800 Pro, in fact, bested the supposedly higher-end GeForce 6800 Ultra card on half of our benchmarks. Of particular interest is that the X800 Pro beat the 6800 Ultra on our new Far Cry benchmark at the demanding 1,600x1,200 resolution. This game is one of the first to take extensive advantage of DirectX 9.0 graphics effects, and it presents an extremely challenging graphics test. While all 3D game software is different, if the ATI Radeon X800 Pro's impressive performance with Far Cry is any indication, you will be well positioned for high-quality gaming in the foreseeable future if you pick up this card.

Unreal Tournament 2003 test: Flyby-Antalus (in fps)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,024x768 with 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering  
1,600x1,200 with 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering  
ATI Radeon X800 Pro (Beta Catalyst 4.5 driver)
204.9 
105.9 


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell test (in fps)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,024x768 with medium-quality settings  
1,024x768 with high-quality settings  
1,600x1,200 with medium-quality settings  
1,600x1,200 with high-quality settings  
ATI Radeon X800 Pro (Beta Catalyst 4.5 driver)
92.7 
80.4 
85.1 
64.8 
ATI Radeon 9800 XT (Beta Catalyst 4.5 driver)
89.1 
59.9 
58.3 
42.2 


Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (in fps)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,024x768 with 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering  
1,600x1,200 with 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering  


Far Cry (in fps)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,024x768 with 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering  
1,600x1,200 with 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering  


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ATI Radeon X800 Pro

Part Number: 100-435200 Released: May. 4, 2004
MSRP: $410.80 Low Price: $361.19 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May. 4, 2004
  • Interface Type AGP 8x
  • Max Monitors Supported 2
  • Graphics Engine ATI Radeon X800 Pro
  • Size 256 MB
  • Compatibility PC