Our Summary & Conclusion
Performance Summary: The Asus EAX1800XT Top performed very well throughout our entire battery of tests. The card's higher core and memory clock speeds give it a distinct advantage over any standard Radeon X1800 XT, and also helps the Asus EAX1800XT Top to outperform a 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX in almost every benchmark. Only in the 3DMark06 SM 2.0 test and in Quake 4 without anti-aliasing was a 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX faster. The 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX was faster than the EAX1800XT Top more often than not, but similarly the Radeon X1900 XTX was faster throughout.
We like almost everything Asus has done with the EAX1800XT Top. Its GPU and memory are clocked significantly higher than any standard Radeon X1800 XT, which gives this card a measurable performance advantage over just about any other X1800 XT based card. Asus also ships the EAX1800XT Top with one of the best accessory bundles we have ever come across, and the card's oversized, near-silent cooler is excellent. We also like the included external power supply, because it could potentially save someone from having to upgrade their PSU to use a high-end video card like the EAX1800XT Top. All of these tweaks to ATI's reference specifications come at a price though.
We were only able to find the Asus EAX1800XT Top listed at ZipZoomFly at an astronomical price of $999. We're unsure if that is an actual "street" price, or just a placeholder until the card is back in stock, but regardless that is a hefty price to pay for a single graphics card. We should note that Asus has set the MSRP on this card at $579, though. ZipZoom's $999 could only be a reflection on the rarity of the EAX1800XT Top at this moment in time, however, as we've been unable to find it on sale anywhere else. At that price it's impossible to recommend this card to anyone, but we suspect street prices will be much lower when/if the EAX1800XT Top becomes more widely available, because Asus' standard X1800 XT is priced much more competitively and the MSRP is much more realistic. As it stands now, we like everything about the EAX1800XT Top except its price and availability. The card is a great performer and its bundle is top notch. We're giving the EAX1800XT Top a 7 on the Heat Meter, but could revisit this article should street prices drop to within striking distance of standard Radeon X1800 XTs.
|•_Overclocked "Out of the Box"
•_Insane Accessory Bundle
•_Optional External Power Supply
|•_Nearly Impossible to Find
•_More Expensive than other X1800s