If one of your New Year's resolutions involved spending a massive chunk of change to kick out as many frames per second as technologically possible, you may want to put the brakes on that impending NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX purchase. Lvl505 got their palms on a pre-release ATI R600 graphics card and put it up against the best NVIDIA currently has to offer, and the results thus far show ATI's device as "the clear winner." Of course, these benchmarks have to be taken with a certain grain of salt, as the drivers used were "a modified version of a 32-bit Vista pre-build version," which should have yielded less-than-optimal results; interestingly, the R600 still ran all over the optimized NVIDIA setup. Testing the cards on an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700-powered machine with 2GB of RAM, the single R600 card bested the solo 8800 GTX in basically every benchmark they tried, with common applications seeing minimal gains, but games saw between ten-percent (Half-Life 2: Lost Coast) and 42-percent (1701 A.D.) hikes. Apparently, the R600 was exceedingly impressive, as reviewers actually suggested that you "return your NVIDIA" card as soon as humanly possible while patiently waiting for January 22nd, when you can gleefully drop your $630 or so to pick up your very own R600. Oh, and you might end up paying somewhat of a monthly surcharge to use this bad boy too, as the 230-watts (which beats the estimations, actually) it'll require to operate could kick your power bill up a notch or two. Nevertheless, it's not exactly shocking to see a newer graphics card outgun one that's been on the shelf a moment or so, but we're still holding out for a finalized unit before making any final judgments on the combatants.
ATI R600 graphics card benchmarked, cruises by NVIDIA's GeForce 8800 GTX
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