Everything you buy has a life cycle, as the need for a particular product loses its usefulness and therefore its value with consumers over time. True, some goods gain value as they age, like a bottle of Dom Perignon. However, the majority of products in the marketplace, especially in the world of technology, decrease in value as newer replacements arrive. Graphics cards are no exception to this phenomenon; we are all aware that our newly-purchased, beloved high-end card becomes only second best or even third best in a matter of months.
All good companies seek to prolong the life of their products. Thus, graphics card manufacturers reengineer, remarket, and repackage older products in an effort to gain as much revenue as possible from existing technology investments. These changes can come in the form of adding a larger cooler and ramping up the clock frequencies, or taking innovations in the rest of the market and adding these to their products. You can see this in the graphics cards from XFX, where the GeForce 6600 was enhanced by exchanging DDR1 with DDR2 memory modules.
We took a look at two graphics cards from Connect 3D and PowerColor, which are nothing more than redesigned X800 based products. Since these are priced at $175 or less, we thought a quick comparison would be helpful - especially with the holiday shopping season coming up.