Product: X800 GTO²
Company: Sapphire
Authour: Mark "Ratchet" Thorne
Date: February 6th, 2006
Conclusion

Sapphire’s X800 GTO² is a fine piece of hardware in its own right. Once modded it can power all the current generation games with relative ease, even with Anti-Aliasing and high levels of Anisotropic Filtering enabled and, quite unlike the current generation from ATI, its runs fairly cool and is sleek and quiet. The bundle is really nice; especially the new Sapphire Select initiative which puts the choice of games in your hands, and Sapphire's Trixx overclocking software gets the job done.

Overclocking is spectacular as well. With the core almost guaranteed to go above 480MHz (often into the low-to-mid 500MHz region), and with the 1.6ns memory modules giving you an almost virtually guaranteed 590MHz+ memory clock, the X800 GTO² puts up a serious fight against the X850 XT Platinum but for considerably less.

The only thing really holding back the X800 GTO² from Rage3D Editor’s Choice territory is that it lacks Shader Model 3.0 support. Last summer when the SKU was introduced SM3.0 wasn't as important as it is now, but with a lot of new games on the horizon, many of which will support SM3.0 in some form or another, Sapphire’s GTO² will cause a lot of people Shader envy.

Compared to the direct competition, which going by price is clearly the GeForce 6800 GS ($199 for GTO² reviewed here versus $218 for a Dual DVI 6800 GS at Newegg, $179 for a cheaper, less equipped 6800 GS), Sapphire’s GTO²  can hold it’s ground, but only when modded. It can’t completely overcome the 6800 GS until you start overclocking, which might be justification enough considering the excellent results we’ve shown with the X800 GTO², but ultimately no amount of overclocking will get you the Shader Model 3.0 which the 6800 GS has, so in that light it’s extremely hard to recommend the Sapphire’s X800 GTO².


Verdict

4 out of 5
4 out of 5

There's a lot to like about Sapphire X800 GTO². It's small, quiet, and easily modable to something pretty fast, it's affordable, and it overclocks like mad. It is last generation however and the lack of Shader Model 3.0 will become more and more detrimental with each passing month..


Montreal Canadiens

  • Pretty quick once modded
  • Excellent overclocking capability
  • Relatively small
  • Quiet
  • Single slot cooler
  • Good retail bundle, Sapphire Select is pretty cool
  • Dual DVI

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Only supports Shader Model 2.0
  • Outclassed by the 6800 GS

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