At first glance, ATI's tiring flagship board looks like a spent force. Not only does it take a vicious, vaguely embarrassing shoeing from NVIDIA's new killer, the GeForce 8800GTX, but it also loses out to the green team's previous flagship graphics card, the 7950GX2.

But on closer inspection, there's still a little life in this old DX9 bugger. It's certainly the most advanced Shader Model 3 card on the market. That makes it a better long-term bet than any GeForce 7 card.

It also stands up better to really nasty rendering loads. It closes the gap to the 7950 in both Half-Life 2 and F.E.A.R. at the monstrous 2,560x1,600 resolution. And it's significantly cheaper than its arch rival, making it the best value board at this rarefied end of the market.