Anyone with $400 to spend on a graphics card should currently be looking at a RADEON X800 XL. It boasts the same 16 pipelines as an X800 XT, and also packs 256MB of GDDR3 memory to boot. GeCube’s version has a core clock of 400MHz with memory running at 980MHz.
In our 3DMark test it managed a perfectly useable 3351 points. In our Doom 3 test at 1024 x 768 it scored 44fps at full detail settings. At 1600 x 1200 it dropped only to 40fps. Needless to say, there is ample headroom at lower resolutions for tougher games in the future.
GeCube fits a heatpipe to the side, but there’s still a 65mm temperaturecontrolled fan, which, although quiet, isn’t silent. We like the fact that there are adapters for the component, S-Video and composite cables in the box. There’s no video in but you can pick up the VIVO version for an extra $55. No games are bundled but there is a copy of CyberLink’s PowerDVD 5 and PowerDirector. The former is limited to two-channel audio, though.
There will always be people who feel they must have the best and the latest cards which play at invisible frame rate increases. Others may think it’s worth paying for future headroom, but they’ll find that future games require features only available on future cards. We believe the X800 XL chipset hits the sweet spot of price with performance. There simply isn’t any point in paying for more than GeCube’s well-rounded implementation seen here. This will play the best games for some time to come and is half the price of other cards.