It's been a pretty rough spring for ATI in the graphics arena. Its Radeon X1800 GTO response to NVIDIA's winning streak of GeForce 7600 and 7900 series have not been entirely convincing. For sure, they still have a strong flagship performer in the Radeon X1900 series but in the mid-range, the prices of the paper-launched and delayed Radeon X1800 GTO have not exactly endeared themselves to the popular masses, a requisite for the more budget conscious mid-range segment.
Just compare the number of vendors that offer Radeon X1800 GTO cards versus that for the GeForce 7600 GT and you'll find it tilting heavily in favor of the GeForce. Already, silent and overclocked editions of its NVIDIA rival are widely available while we could only find the standard Radeon X1800 GTO reference designs on the shelves; that seems somewhat like a sign of disinterest from the vendors themselves, while in contrast, the under-performing but relatively cheaper Radeon X1600 series has had more love.
It could be that there isn't that many 'rejected' R520 cores available for the Radeon X1800 GTO to go around but whatever the reason, price is definitely a major factor. And if some of the rumors circulating around are true, we are likely to see a price cut for the Radeon X1800 GTO soon. The current recommended retail price of US$249 is rumored to fall to US$199, putting it on par with the GeForce 7600 GT and by that measure, finally make it a worthy competitor. It certainly makes sense for ATI in order to try to win back the important mid-range market, though we doubt that it can afford to go much lower due to the complexity and cost of its chip. Meanwhile, the prices of GeForce 7600 GT continue to head south so it could turn out to be a fruitless chase for ATI.
Whatever the strategy ATI plans for the mid-range, consumers will of course welcome any price cuts. So if you have been eyeing the Radeon X1800 GTO for a while, especially its performance with high dynamic range rendering and anti-aliasing, where it arguably can outpace the GeForce 7600 GT and the elusive 'image quality superiority' of ATI graphics cards, here's a good time to do some comparison shopping. To aid you in this, we have today the MSI RX1800GTO-VT2D256E, the Radeon X1800 GTO from the giant Taiwanese manufacturer. Here then are its specifications: