Better late than never they say, they being ATI of course. After a six month delay the Radeon X1000 series is finally upon us. This is ATI's answer to the GeForce 7 series and it is what we have been eagerly awaiting all this time. The previous generation Radeon X800/X850 products were fighting a losing battle against NVIDIA's more up-to-date, more powerful GeForce 7 graphics cards. It would seem as though ATI has done their best to make the wait worth it by including a whole line-up of new features. This new graphics architecture features "Shader Model 3.0 support" along with several other new and important technologies.

Rather than increase the rendering pipelines for the Radeon X1000 series, ATI has shrunk the die and gone for higher core clock frequencies. Using a 90nm TSMC process, core frequencies of over 600MHz are achievable. The Radeon X1000 series currently consists of seven graphics cards featuring price tags that range from as little as $80 through to $550.

Today's review will be focusing on one of the more high-end X1000 graphics cards, the Radeon X1800XL. We will also throw a few cards for comparison including the competing GeForce 7800 GT and Radeon X850XT PE. Currently the 7800 GT is not only cheaper than the X1800XL, but it is also widely available. This means that it will be imperative for the Radeon X1800XL to be superior in the majority of the benchmarks, but does it?