Summary & Conclusion
Benchmark Summary: We tested all of the cards in this review in 41 different configurations and found that the GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition was the fastest card in 18 of the tests, the Asus AX800 XT was the fastest card in 12 of the tests, and the remaining 11 tests concluded in a draw. The GeForce was mostly faster when AA was disabled and when 4X AA was enabled. It was also clearly superior in Doom 3, but the Radeon shined with using anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering concurrently in most of the tests. Subtract Doom 3 from the equation, however, and the win / lose / draw ratio becomes 12 W - 12 L - 11 D. How's that for close competition?
The Asus AX800 XT is a fine choice for hardcore gamers in the market for a high-end card such as this. Asus has included a very complete bundle of accessories and software, including two full games, the card is backed by a very well respected company, and performance was excellent in all but one of the benchmarks we ran, Doom 3. This is, however, quite an expensive product and finding one may prove to be difficult. We found five on-line retailers that listed this card in their inventory, but none of them had it in stock and all were selling the AX800 XT for a price in excess of $580 U.S. A few of the retailers expected delivery this week, but we weren't able to found out in what quantities they would be arriving. We expect there won't be many available in the immediate future though. It'll probably be a few more weeks before these cards become more common. Based on its performance, single-slot near silent cooler, and good bundle, we're giving the Asus AX800 XT an 8.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.