Benchmark Analysis and Conclusion
ATi's Radeon X800 XL and NVIDIA's GeForce 6800GT match up favorably in both features and price-point. In the benchmarks, the lead seemingly favors which ever side the game engine falls upon. If we're looking at Direct3D-based engines then the X800 XL came out on top. Flip the coin to OpenGL gaming, and we've got the GeForce 6800GT with some sizeable leads. There's really no right-or-wrong choice to be made in the mainstream category. That being said, the Asus Extreme AX800XL was slightly underclocked when compared to it's brethren ATi Radeon X800 XL, which resulted in a small shortcoming performance wise in almost every benchmark we tested.
We had no real issue with what Asus has provided for us in the Extreme AX800XL package. This is a solidly performing card supported with the inclusion of just the right software and other components to meet most user's needs. Our main concern was what makes this card "extreme"? Generally, with this kind of tag added to the nomenclature, we would have been looking for higher clock speeds, or something else that would raise Asus' card over the rest of the manufacturer's. At the very least, we definitely expected to get some kind of improvement over the reference ATi card that we reviewed a few months ago. With its lower speeds than ATi's reference card and Sapphire's own Radeon X800 XL, yet a price tag slightly higher than either of them at $320-$330 currently (although you do get Dual DVI output and a much more robust cooling solution), we were really left wanting more. Although the Asus Extreme AX800XL shapes up as a good choice for upgrading, presently there's just some marginally better options out there. We're giving it an 8 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.