ATi Radeon X1800 XL review
While the Radeon X1800 XL’s price may suggest great value for money, this card is more of a plain L than an XL. Performance-wise, it’s similar to the GeForce 7800 GT, but considering you can buy the 7900 GT for a similar price it’s clear the X1800 XL has its work cut out.
The Sapphire’s video-in capability – a feature absent on the GTs – may appeal to some, but for everyone else the 3D results tell their own story. With only 256MB of memory onboard, the XL struggled with Call of Duty 2 at 1,600 x 1,200, managing just 18fps. By comparison, the 7900 GT – which also has 256MB – scored 25fps. Ramping the XL down to 1,280 x 1,024 gives a much more playable frame rate of 35fps. Far Cry performance was better, with 30fps at 1,600 x 1,200 and 45fps at 1,280 x 1,024.
Offering S-Video, composite and component outputs, plus two dual-link DVI ports, there’s something for every setup. In the box are four demo games, one of which you can choose to unlock the full version. Hopefully, more firms will take this route with bundled games.
Even with a decent array of features, there’s no escaping the fact that the faster 7900 GT costs a similar amount to the X1800 XL. As such, it’s hard to find any real value in this card – if you can stretch to £200, go for the 7900 GT.