Our Summary & Conclusion
Benchmark Summary: Like ATI's reference Radeon X800 XL, Sapphire's Hybrid Radeon X800 XL performed very well throughout our entire suite of benchmarks. It did best in DirectX games like Half Life 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004, but faltered a bit in the Doom 3 (OpenGL) tests. In games like Halo, Splinter Cell, and FarCry the Sapphire Hybrid Radeon X800 XL battled it out with a GeForce 6800 GT, with one card winning a few tests only to fall behind in others.
Sapphire's Hybrid Radeon X800 XL is a hit. This video card succeeds on many different levels. Sapphire's bundle consists of a very good array of software and accessories, including two full version games (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow), a tweaking / overclocking utility, Cyberlink's PowerDVD software, and an assortment of output adapters and cables. The Hybrid Radeon X800 XL's cooler is also nice; it's compact and quiet, yet effective. This card also performed very well, and best of all it's actually in-stock and available at a variety of on-line retailers. It's no secret that ATI has had some supply issues recently, so it is reassuring to review a new product and actually see it available for sale at the time of publication. These supply issues seem to have had an effect on the selling price of Radeon X800 XLs, however, as they are currently selling for about 20% more than ATI's MSRP of $299. The Sapphire Hybrid Radeon X800 XL for example, is selling for about $369 on-line. $69 more than ATI's suggested price. Regardless, even at $369 this card is about $60-$80 less expensive than a PCI Express GeForce 6800 GT at the moment. And with a little luck, hopefully pricing will drift back down to ATi's MSRP once these cards are flowing a bit more freely in the channel. Then, you'll be looking at serious gaming value for the money. We're giving it a solid 9 on the Heat Meter.