I don’t know if you’ve been around Envy News for a while, or for even those who remember me back when I modded nV News’ forums, but I’ve been a die-hard nVIDIA guy. In fact, I have passed over previous review samples of top-of-the-line ATI cards to review mid-range and entry-level nVIDIA cards. When I reviewed the XFX Ti4200 Turbo, I found it to be one of the best nVIDIA cards out there for the price. Unfortunately, nVIDIA hasn’t produced something that made me smile since then. Even though the GeForceFX 5600Ultra v2 was good for the price, it still wasn’t as good as the XFX Ti4200 Turbo in today’s games.
Sapphire’s Atlantis Radeon 9800XT has permanently changed my view of ATI, and it’s going to take more than a couple of generations for nVIDIA to even get me to consider them as a viable alternative. ATI’s top-notch Pixel Shader 2.0 performance will keep your investment alive much longer than a current-generation nVIDIA card. And performance in today’s games does not suffer as it does with nVIDIA’s current generation. The move from Ti4200 to FX5600 Ultra was a painful one as I could not play current games at 1280 resolution anymore.
I don’t mean to sound like an nVIDIA basher; the internet is full of them enough as it is. Sapphire’s Atlantis Radeon 9800XT has definitely earned its gold medal in the video card Olympics. Even though it’s not cheap, you definitely get what you pay for and you can be assured that your investment will last quite some time into the future. The Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9800XT accomplishes this with its superb Vertex and Pixel Shader 2.0 performance which games like Halo, Max Payne 2, and eagerly awaited games like Dungeon Siege 2, Deus Ex 2 and of course Half Life 2 will be using. ATI also has to be complimented on their recent commitment to driver support as well. ATI driver jokes have disappeared and new driver releases are coming in a consistent stream.
Most (if not all) of the ATI Radeon 9800XT-based cards you see for sale now are reference cards, and this Sapphire card is no exception. Sapphire has mainly been the better-priced ATI-based cards out there, and after a quick look around the internet, this holds true as the selling prices are as low as $460, which is lower than a 9800Pro at some places. If you already have a 9800Pro, there really is no reason to jump to this card, but if you are ready to make the jump to ATI, there is no better time! Viva la 9800XT! And thank you Sapphire for your dedication to the ATI platform.
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