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Halos are powerful things. They surround the head of heavenly angels, they launch globally successful gaming consoles and as ATI no doubt is aware, they also help you sell a lot of mid-range graphics card. Unfortunately for ATI though, it’s nVidia that’s been selling lots of them.
The 'Halo' effect generated by nVidia’s success at the high end of the graphics market has ensured that many people have gone out and bought its mid-range 6600 series cards, on the assumption that if nVidia is faster at the top-of-the-range it’s likely to be at the mid-range. On the whole they’d be right. While ATI’s X700 series cards were designed to battle it out with the 6600series they’ve not really had the impact ATI would have liked. Indeed, while this X700 XT we reviewed here showed promise, it never fulfilled it by dint of the fact that it never made it to market, while the X700 Pro that did appear was not quite up to the mark. The only surprise then about the X800 GT then is that it’s taken ATI so long to bring it out.
The GT nonclemature could potentially be a confusing for some, as while nVidia’ 6800 and 7800 GT cards are both high-end parts, this GT is definitely not and is intended to go up against the 6600GT. It’s essentially an X800 XT (R423), that didn’t make the grade, so that instead of a high-clocked 16-pipeline card it’s downgraded to a more modestly clocked eight pipeline card. Some GT’s are rumoured to be based on the X850 (R480). As this is from a newer more refined process there’s possibly more overclocking potential. However, a quick install of ATI Tool revealed that this Sapphire is based on the R423. Indeed we did overclock the card using ATI tool, but as you’ll see from the graphs the results were somewhat underwhelming.
The core clock on the card at default is 475MHz and the DDR3 memory 490 (980MHz effective). A 660GT card is also an eight pipe card running at 500MHz core and 500MHz (1,000MHz effective) for the memory. However, a 6600GT is limited to a 128-bit memory interface, while the X800GT enjoys a 256-bit memory interface. The killer though is the price. At £110, its the same or cheaper than any 6600GT card – and those only feature 128MB of memory. Sapphire also offers a 128MB version of the X800 GT but as the saving is only around £15, the individual should definitely pay the extra for 256MBs.