A few weeks ago we took a look at the midrange GeForce 6800 series in the review of the eVGA e-GeForce 6800GT
. This week Newegg.Com
has sent us the top of the line GeForce 6800 card with the eVGA e-GeForce 6800 Ultra
. It’s a pretty expensive card so let’s see how it matches up with the GT version and ATI’s X800 XT.
The eVGA e-GeForce 6800 Ultra
is the pinnacle of the GeForce 6 series. The card is clocked at 400MHz with a memory speed of 1100MHz DDR. The Ultra card is 12.5% faster in core clock speed and 10% increase in memory speed over the GT card. Like the GeForce 6800 GT, the Ultra has 16 pipelines and a 256-bit interface. Our sample features 258MB of Samsung GDDR3 RAM. More information on the technology can be found here
Unlike the GeForce 6800 GT, the Ultra version has two Molex connectors and two DVI ports. The two Molex connectors are to help stabilize the card when overclocking. People with two monitors that have DVI connectors will be happy to see the two DVI connectors on the card. Usually you will get one DVI and one VGA connector but the GeForce 6800 Ultra series is one of the few cards that come with two DVI connections.
With the larger cooling unit, the card becomes a two slot solution so you’ll need some free space adjacent to the AGP port. It features a large single bracket that takes up two spaces and locks in with two screws. That means that SFF owners will most likely not be able to use this card in their machine.
There’s nothing different over the reference design here. I would’ve liked to have seen something to distinguish this card from others such as a custom cooling unit but you’ll get plain vanilla card if decide to pick this one up. And because of the reference design, the bracket holds two DVI connectors and one SVGA output.
eVGA’s bundle’s pretty sparse but features one very good game in Far Cry
. Far Cry
’s one of my favorite games of the year and it’s one that’ll show off your new NVIDIA card. Also in the bundle is a great DVD player in NVDVD
. Featuring great decoding and good CPU usage, NVDVD
’s one of my favorites and I do prefer it over programs such as WinDVD
We’re going to compare the e-GeForce 6800 Ultra
to the eVGA e-GeForce 6800 GT
to see how much of a performance increase it is over the mid-range card and to the Sapphire Radeon X800 XT
to see how it compares with a card that is in the same price range and stature. The test setup consists of:
2 Crucial PC3200 256-MB sticks
Maxtor 200GIG 7200RPM HD
Windows XP Professional w/ Service Pack 2
NVIDIA Forceware 61.77 drivers
Our first test is going to be iD’s latest. Doom 3
is iD Software’s re-invention of the classic game that started the deathmatch craze. The engine really taxes a system and the graphics are phenomenal for a computer game. For the tests, we ran the game with Max settings here.
The NVIDIA cards outperform the ATI card in Doom 3
pretty handedly. You can see the increase speed in action when comparing the GT and the Ultra cards with the lead increasing for the Ultra as you increase the resolution.Far Cry
is an impressive first person shooter from Ubi Soft with great outdoor levels and some awesome effects. The vehicles and the ability to explore the entire island makes this one of the best games of the past year. Settings were maxed out and we used the default demo.
All the cards performed close here up to 1280x1024. The drop off in frames per second is not as significant in the Ultra card when you hit the 1600x1200 mark. In Far Cry
you won’t see any improvement unless you play at very high resolutions.Halo
is the Microsoft/Bungie/Gearbox first person shooter originally appearing on the Xbox. Featuring great graphics, vehicles, and good gameplay Halo
is ran with max settings as well with Pixel Shader 2.0.
The scores in Halo
are a lot better for the X800 XT as it keeps up with the Ultra card. There isn’t a big difference between the two high end cards on all levels here but you can see the increased core and memory speed hold up a lot better than the GT card in this game.
Epic’s great shooter, Unreal Tournament 2004
is our next test. While the engine didn’t change too much from the previous version, it’s still a very nice looking game. Three bot matches were ran with the scores averaged for each resolution. Details were maxed out.
The e-GeForce 6800 Ultra
just outpaces the X800 XT
here and keeps its lead throughout the resolutions. It doesn’t lose much going to 1280x1024. All the cards do play Unreal Tournament 2004
very well but the Ultra leads the pack.
Our final test is Splinter Cell
from Ubi Soft. The third person stealth game uses a modified Unreal engine. Default demo was used for this test and the details were maxed out.
Here’s another game where the Ultra leads the pack but the X800 XT
doesn’t falter too far.
Now we’re moving on to performance with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering turned on. Here I ran three games and you’ll see how much of a performance loss you get at both 4xAA with 4xAF and the maximum AA and AF settings for each card. That means the Sapphire card will be running at 6xAA and 16xAF while the two NVIDIA cards are running at 8xAA and 16xAF
With the different anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering settings, the performance race is pretty much the same as it was without these settings turned on except for the max settings in Unreal Tournament 2004
where the X800 XT
card stays way ahead of the pack because it’s only using a 6xAA algorithm.
The e-Geforce 6800 Ultra
is definitely the top of the line in performance. It’s also one of the most expensive video cards out there. But like most things in life, you have to pay the premium to get the best. It follows the reference design without anything to distinguish this card from the other offerings. If you must have the best card out there, then the GeForce 6800 Ultra is it and eVGA’s product gives you that.
Thanks again to Newegg.Com
for sending us the sample.
For those with the money, this is the card to get. But the price does put this card out of the reach of many people.