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Reviewed by: Ed Lau [09.17.04]
Manufactured by: HIS

Lowest Price Finder!
ATI Radeon X800 Pro 256MB: $394 @ mWave
ATI Radeon X800 XT 256MB: $479 @ eCost

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You Must Be Kicking Yourself

So you finally found an awesome deal on a 9800 Pro, digging one out of the local buy and sell from a guy that bought one and realized that he didn't need it to send e-mail to his hot chick German pen pal, which he mistook for a dude. As you pat him on the back, telling him to accept that it isn't the video card's fault, inside you're jumping with joy, on top of the world with your new graphics card, which you think is the top of the pops.

Of course, at the same time, the marketing executives at ATi and nVidia are watching you from NSA style satelites and decide that the time is right to release their next generation of high performance video cards - y'know, just to give you that extra kick in the groin.

You think "DAMMIT!  They did it to me AGAIN!", thinking back on when you picked up a shiny Radeon 8500 for a measly $250, one day after the 9800 was announced. ATi and nVidia further laugh at your misfortune.

Okay, that's far fetched but hell, don't tell me you've never bought something only to find that something better was just on the horizon. When ATi announced the X800, it was quite a surprised to more than just a few people who immediately messaged me with "And I *JUST* got my 9800 Pro!"

As with any top of the line graphics solution, the X800 is especially for the hardcore enthusiast who will settle for nothing less than puke inducing framerates. At nearly $400 for a Pro edition and at least $500 for a XT, you're going to need some Grand Canyon sized pockets, hopefully filled with gold.

And so, today we'll be answering the riddle that has plagued mankind since maybe...May: How much of an improvement is the X800 over a 9800 Pro and should I cash in my 401k to buy one?"

That's FAT, er, PHAT.  No wait...just fat.

We're looking at not one but TWO X800 video cards and not just any X800s, the IceQ II versions from HIS, both of which feature a ridiculously huge cooler. I know I shouldn't be surprised with these things anymore but it's bigger and heavier than two Rosie O'Donnells!  For the first time ever I was actually afraid the thing would snap off in the AGP slot while I was putting in the thumb screws. HIS claims that their cooler lowers the temperature 11 degrees compared to the stock ATi solution and is quieter but of course, this isn't the card for you if you're in dire need of 5 or 6
free PCI slots as it blocks the one right underneath the AGP slot completely.

The HIS Exclalibur X800 IceQ II VIVO Limited Edition cards come in Pro and XT flavors but other than for a small sticker on the back, you'd never be able to tell the difference. They're physically identical to my not-so-keen vision.

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