You already know the verdict eh ? Yes, it's not that hard to predict at all. I just love HiS products as they have never ever disappointed me even once, and for a very good reason. These are high-quality build products, good options when to comes to VIVO (video in- and output connectivity) and what not, very decent bundle and as usual a stunning cooling opportunity. One of the main issues for the X1000 family of cards obviously was related to the fact that they are not exactly the most quiet of the whole bunch. This factor is 100% eliminated with the new ICEQ3 cooler. Really good stuff.
As usual we had no stability issues whatsoever, the cooler works great as temperatures where not getting high at all even at 100% graphics core load so this is just a great product. Personally I really dig the X1800 GTO series as they offer a stack load of fun for the money you have to pay. Products like these you can pickup right now at a sub 200 USD price. For that money you'll receive a very decent amount of gameplay and good framerate numbers at the best quality in resolution up-to roughly 12x10 with newer titles and even 16x12 if you all enable eye-candy or with slightly dated games. And with slightly dated games I really do mean Half-Life 2 and Quake 4. Now that's not bad at all huh ?
Suffice to say that HiS now has an an excellent mid-range performer in the market that offers seriously good bang for your hard earned bucks. As stated pretty much all games can be played at really good resolutions, you are no longer bound to a 1024x768 resolution in the mid-range segment of products. Some examples have to be F.e.a.r which at 1280x1024 was still pushing an average framerate of 37 FPS with 4xAA and 8xAF. And for that title that's exceptionally good performance. What about Splinter Cell 3 Chaos Theory ... 1280x1024 with 16 levels of anisotropic filtering enabled and HDR active pushed an average framerate of 43 FPS, again that's just really good.
So it's suffice to say that the X1800 GTO in the mid-range segment is a winner for sure. Of course it's not all about gaming anymore with today's graphics cards. With the X1800 GTO comes X1000 family features. Among it AVIVO, and I just have to state that ever since ATi released the Catalyst 5.13 driver in late 2005 the output/decoding quality of graphics card decoded media files (and especially high definition content) was taken to extremely nice quality. The HQV benchmark proofs it very well, that remains to be a subjective test though but yeah .. image quality is just exceptionally good. For what is matters, Image quality as always is extremely good with ATI product. They just do not compromise at it and next to that I just have to mention that even with the Beta driver we had to all games just where looking marvelous. In our conclusion we always say a thing or two about stability as ATI has come a long way with driver development. Their driver reputation is still haunting them and therefore I'm glad to report that we did not have one driver issue or a crash whatsoever. Okay .. so I'm still not a fan of the memory hog that is called the Catalyst Control panel but I'll just have to life with it.
So really .. there you have it, the Radeon X1800 GTO is absolutely worth every penny. Especially considering you can opt it as a Crossfire card without the need for an expensive "primary" mastercard, and hey crossfire cable free, now that stuff is golden.
This card itself is 100% reference based yet clocked slightly faster for you, not much though and that will hardly boost your performance at all. With the uber-silent cooling you still have some nice overclockability left to squeeze our that last remainder of "leftover" performance. even more performance out of it. It's an enormously entertaining graphics card and an superbly fine choice for those gamers who play their games at 1280x1024. Yeah, a good product, very decent performance, nice price and a heap of functionality. It's definitely a product worth considering and one if not the top model X1800 GTO currently available.
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