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  Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra, King of the Hill 
  Apr 14, 2004, 09:00am EDT 


By: Sander Sassen

Although we’ve only had the sample in a few days prior to the launch we managed to run quite an extensive set of benchmarks to gauge its performance. If you’ve read through all of the article’ pages you will have noticed that Nvidia did not skimp on performance with this new architecture. We’re usually pretty skeptic about the performance of new products and especially about the performance of a new architecture, simply because any manufacturer will try to sell it as the next best thing since sliced bread, understandable as they’ve invested a considerable amount of their time and money in the development. Nvidia however didn’t feed the press that much performance data during the briefings leading up to the launch, They basically said that the press will see what they mean when the samples were shipped and we were able to run our own benchmarks on the graphics card.

Dual power connectors

Fig 5. Dual molex power connectors, both are needed to supply sufficient power.

As you can see from the benchmarks we did just that and the GeForce 6800 Ultra did not dissapoint, on the conterary we have never seen a graphics card perform this well or so convincingly beat the competiton in every single benchmark. When our GeForce 6800 Ultra sample first arrived we looked at it with mixed emotions, it’s bulky, requires two power connectors, has a large heatsink which takes up the PCI slot adjacent to the AGP, it simply looked like the GeForce FX all over again. At the end of the day the level of performance, it beats the best ATI currently has, the Radeon 9800 XT, by 60 to 120%, made us forget about all that, we love it and will continue to do so despite of it’s bulkiness and power requirements. The GeForce 6800 Ultra is simply built like a hotrod, big, bad and with performance that’ll put anything else out there to shame with the appearance to match.

Heatsink assembly

Fig 6. The heatsink assembly of the GeForce 6800 Ultra, notice the axial fan.

If you can afford it, as suggested retail pricing is around $500, you’ve got yourself a graphics card that’ll chew up anything you throw at it with performance to spare. We’re confident that Nvidia will quickly get their driver development team in higher gear to further up the performance and continue to build upon this powerful new architecture. However in the next few weeks we’ll also see the launch of ATI’ new architecture and then we’ll also be able to compare these two architectures in terms of performance, image quality and features. It’ll be an interesting 2nd quarter for sure, with these two manufacturers once again competing for the 3D graphics throne. For now the GeForce 6800 Ultra comes highly recommended, as it simply is the king of the hill of 3D graphics, bar none.

Sander Sassen.

1. Introduction
2. Shaders and pipelines
3. Shadows and illumination
4. Benchmarks, what and how
5. Benchmarks, 3Dmark03, 2001 SE and AquaMark3
6. Benchmarks, UT2003 and 2004
7. Benchmarks, Halo and Far Cry
8. Conclusion
9. Pricing Information

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