In the never-ending battle between ATI and NVIDIA, price and positioning always play a major role. The current online prices for the RADEON 8500 run approximately $180 for the OEM and $250 for the full retail package. There are also various retail boards made by ATI third-party partners like PowerMagic which check in at around $225. These prices should be quantified properly, since both the OEM and third-party cards sport only 250 MHz core and clock speeds (though a 275 MHz, 3rd-party RADEON 8500 could happen)), which compares to the 275 MHz core/clock rates found on the retail RADEON 8500.
Both the benchmark results and feature set of the retail RADEON 8500 suggest it makes a pretty good challenger for the high-end GeForce3 Ti 500. When comparing the RADEON 8500 against a similar name-brand card like the Hercules 3D Prophet III Ti 500 ($325), we find a very noticeable price difference of $75. In fact, the $250 RADEON 8500 price tag sneaks right into GeForce3 territory and lands smack dab in a large group of GeForce3 boards from manufacturers such as Gainward, MSI and VisionTek.
Personally speaking, the RADEON 8500 OEM model looks like a steal of a deal, especially since its $180 price tag puts it in direct competition with the GeForce3 Ti 200. You may be losing 25 MHz in both core and memory speeds with the RADEON 8500 OEM, but you're really not giving up a lot in gaming performance. The full retail version is still the way to go for high-end 3D gaming and the extended product warranty, but our "emulation benchmarks" show that the price-performance of the OEM model is at least potentially very high.
The ATI RADEON 7500 is more of a value card, and sports a low price of $108-$110 for the OEM model and $140 for the retail board. This places the OEM version in the same price class as the GeForce2 Ti, while the retail version fits somewhere between the GeForce2 ULTRA and the GeForce2 Ti. While a bit more problematic than the RADEON 8500 product positioning, the price of the various RADEON 7500 models still fits in relatively well. We'd still like to see both the OEM and retail models creep a bit lower and really give the GeForce2 Ti a run for its money.
* Please note that online prices are taken at the time of review and are not intended to reflect long-term trends.
Although both of the new RADEON cards are impressive, the RADEON 8500 is the real gem of the ATI crown. While the GeForce3 Ti 500 still gets the nod for all-out gaming systems, the RADEON 8500 is virtually unmatched as a total 2D, DVD and 3D total video solution. Best of all it comes in at GeForce3 price levels, making it a value leader as well. This makes the RADEON 8500 one of the more intriguing products in some time, as it contains all the ingredients for a high-end video solution right now, and any further driver refinements will only sweeten the pot.
RADEON 8500 Pros:
- One of the Best Overall 2D/3D Video cards
- Exceptional High-Rez 2D and DVD Playback
- Excellent Price Performance
RADEON 8500 Cons:
- Still Some Driver Issues
- SMOOTHVISION Design Quibbles
- OEM Price-Performance May Be Higher
RADEON 8500 Ratings:
While the RADEON 7500 doesn't offer the performance of the higher end ATI or NVIDIA products this is still an attractive video card for its respective market. The RADEON 7500 makes it a compelling value/entry-level gaming option for the ATI buyer and it does compete relatively well against the NVIDIA GeForce2 Ti and Pro cards.
RADEON 7500 Pros:
- 290 MHz Super-Charged RADEON DDR Engine
- Value Priced ATI Option
- Mid-Range Performance
RADEON 7500 Cons:
- Not Quite as Fast as Specs Would Indicate
- Asynchronous 230 MHz Memory Speeds
- Retail Model Still Priced a Bit Too High
RADEON 7500 Ratings: