The X1800 GTO isn't a brand-new chip, but the competitive pricing introduced by ATI and Sapphire make this package the best deal on the market.
It won't be for everyone. Those who want to play the latest games with high detail levels should make a beeline for the £200-plus Power category. But for those who don't mind playing at lower resolutions, the X1800 GTO offers excellent value.
Its biggest rival is the EVGA nVidia GeForce 7600 GT. The 7600 GT is easier to fit into a PC. The X1800 GTO is larger and requires an additional power connector. Both boast 12 pixel-shader processors but, where the X1800 GTO benefits from a full 256bit memory interface, the 7600 GT has to make do with a 128bit version.
The X1800 GTO loses out comfortably on clock speeds, but its memory interface makes up for these shortcomings. The result is that the X1800 GTO's memory bandwidth of 32GBps (gigabytes per second) easily trumps the 7600 GT's 22.4GBps.
What's the importance of this extra bandwidth? Just take a look at the real-world performance, where the X1800 GTO shows a clean pair of heels to the 7600 GT. It averaged an extra 6-8fps (frames per second) at most resolutions. And when we bumped up the anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering, the gap frequently hit double figures.