Summary & Conclusion
Benchmark Summary: We're not going to dwell on the benchmark scores much in this summary, because we weren't able to compare the Sapphire Radeon X800 XT to a PCI Express GeForce 6800 Ultra, which is a more direct comparison. The GeForce 6800 GT we did have available sells for about $100 less than an X800 XT and is clocked lower than a 6800 Ultra. With that said, the Sapphire X800 XT performed just like the other Radeon X800 XT we tested, and seemed to consistently outperform the GeForce 6800 GT when anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering were enabled concurrently. NVIDIA continues to shine in Doom 3, but ATi is closing the gap with each new driver release.
Sapphires PCI Express Radeon X800 XT is an excellent product, that satisfies on many different levels. In typical Sapphire fashion, their X800 XT ships with a very comprehensive bundle, complete with multiple full version games and an assortment of cables / adapters to connect the card to virtually any type of monitor or television. The PCIe based Sapphire X800 XT also performed very well, tearing through every benchmark we threw at it. Quite frankly, this card can render any game currently available, at more than adequate framerates, at high resolutions with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, which is how you should be gaming with a video card of this caliber in our opinion. It's priced at about $500 (give or take about $40), which is pricey but competitive. It's got ViVo capabilities, and best of all the Sapphire Radeon X800 XT is actually available at quite a few on-line retailers. This is something we can't say about PCI Express based GeForce 6800 cards. PCIe 6800's are very tough to come by to put it mildly.
Now that PCI Express motherboards are being released for the AMD platform, more and more gamers are likely to be in the market for a PCI Express video card. If you fall into this category of gamers, you'll likely be pleased by the Sapphire Radeon X800 XT. It's an impressive product all around. Based on its high performance, availability, overclockability and top-notch bundle we're giving the Sapphire X800 XT an 8.5 on the Heat Meter.