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ATI Radeon X1800 GTO vs Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT

Sub-£150 cards from Gecube and Gigabyte

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GPU face-off Every new generation of high-end graphics cards heralds a speed bump for the mid-range products. In the past, I've been disappointed with many of the mid-range cards - there's just not enough peformance there to justify the £150-200 price point. It's about time we get some decent performance out of the not-stupidly-expensive line-ups and this time round both the red and the green teams have come up with the goods...

Gecube_x1800_gto_card

The X1800 GTO is a cut-down Radeon X1800 XL, so it's not new technology. Neither is the 7600 GT, which owns its heritage to the 7800 and 7900 series of GPUs. To be fair to Nvidia, the 7600 GT is from its most recent generation of graphics chips, while the X1800 GTO comes from an older line. It's nonetheless a very capable card as you'll see from the benchmark results.

There are several differences between the two cards that are worth highlighting. The size of the cards is the most obvious one, with the 7600 GT being about 5cm shorter than the X1800 GTO. This means it will be easier to fit into a small form-factor (SFF) PC, something that you might not be able to do with the X1800 GTO. You won't need to connect any additional power connectors to the 7600 GT - by contrast, the X1800 GTO, which uses the same board design as most of the X1800 series, requires an extra power feed.

Cooling requirements are vastly different too. The 7600 GT's heatsink is tiny in comparison to the X1800 GTO's. The fan is also slightly smaller, although oddly enough it's not as noisy as the one on the X1800 GTO when you're playing games. Although, if you're after a silent card, you might want to consider the 7600 GS - watch out for our upcoming review.

Both cards having 'only' 256MB of memory, so neither will run F.E.A.R. at 2,048 x 1,536 with full-screen anti-aliasing enabled as this requires 512MB of graphics memory.

Let's take a closer look at what the two cards have on offer and what you get for your money. It's a very close call on which card to choose and it really comes down a lot to personal preference and a bit of luck in sniffing out the best price.

The cards where tested using an AMD Atlhon 64 FX-60 processor, 1GB of Crucial Ballistix PC3200 DDR memory, a Western Digital Caviar 16SE hard drive. The GeCube Radeon X1800 GTO was tested on an Asus A8R32-MVP motherboard, and the Gigabyte GeForce 7600GT on an MSI K8N-SLI motherboard.

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