Powercolor ATi Radeon 9800 XT Video Card ReviewFormer staff writer -
OverclockingI was able to achieve a 460 MHz core clock and a 400 MHz memory clock, and it was stable. However, I did notice artifacts in games and in benchmarks. I dropped the core down to 455 MHz and the memory down to 395 MHz to see if the artifacts would disappear, and they did. However, when I turned Anti-Aliasing and Ansotropic Filtering on, some of the artifacts appeared again. I finally set the core at 450 MHz and the memory at 390 MHz, and all artifacts disappeared. That was the highest possible overclock we got out of the card that was stable and had zero artifacts. This means we are overclocking 18 MHz more on the core than what Overdrive could ever overclock on it's own, provided that you have enough cooling. This is a 38 MHz overclock, which isn't very good but I really didn't have my hopes up on it being able to overclock well since they're already pushing it.
ConclusionI wish I had recieved a Nvidia FX5900 or a FX5920 to put the Radeon 9800 XT performance in to perspective. When I get my hands on one of the two cards, I'll post and update and revise the benchmarks with the results.
The Powercolor Radeon 9800 XT provided a good performance improvement over the Radeon 9700 All-in-wonder, and it's enough to justify an upgrade provided that you have the money to do so. I wouldn't recommend anyone with a 9800 Pro to upgrade because I really don't believe it would be as beneficial to you. If you've got a 9700 or slower card, looking to upgrade, and have the money to burn then by all means I highly recommend the Powercolor Radeon 9800 XT card to you. The card retails for $500 bucks but can be found cheaper if you shop Pricewatch or Dealtime.
The retail copy of Half-Life 2 that is included is a huge incentive to upgrade to this card, at least for me anyway. It's an excellent marketing strategy by ATI to provide the most anticipating game of the year with their video cards. If you had already planned on purchasing Half-Life 2, and you buy a Powercolor 9800 XT then you've already saved $50 bucks (or however much HL2 will cost you). The Powercolor 9800 XT is already on store shelves, and as I said above you can probably find it on Pricewatch or Dealtime under $499.
Below is a picture of the Half-Life 2 coupon you get with your retail box of the Powercolor Radeon 9800 XT.