ATI was getting desperate. Knowing that they couldn’t respond with the then broken R520, they made an attempt to capture mindshare with a very premature X800 Crossfire reveal that generated some buzz, but buzz which quickly trailed off and which ultimately died away with every passing week where product failed to show. They had nothing to respond with, and NVIDIA seemed to be holding the entire deck of cards.
Whether it was an attempt by ATI to get some notice or whether it was simply a way to sell off excess inventory, sometime in August ATI announced the X800 GT and X800 GTO. Both the GT and the GTO are built on cut down versions of one of three different GPUs: ATI’s R423, R430, or R480. Each of these GPUs support 16 pixel pipelines and when originally introduced were sold on a bunch of very impressive SKUs for ATI.
While the cards certainly weren’t meant to compete with NVIDIA’s new 7-series, they did sell well due to the potential they held because, even though the X800 GT and X800 GTO were spec’ed for 8- and 12-pipes, respectively, being based on a GPU that was designed with 16-pipes meant that many of them could be modded in some way to unlock the dormant pipes and extra performance could be had for free.
Since the summer ATI has released an entire series of next-generation parts in the form of their X1000 family that has helped ATI retake some mindshare back from NVIDIA’s 7-series. So, even though the X800 GTO is likely on its last legs now, and even though it’s decidedly last generation, it should still generate respectable sales from people looking for high performance at low prices.In this review I am looking at Sapphire’s X800 GTO², a card that has grown notorious in its ability to be successfully modded to full 16-pipes.