LeadTek 6800 and eVGA 6800 Ultra Extreme: New GeForce on the Blockby Derek Wilson on July 9, 2004 1:00 AM EST
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Final WordsThese two new offerings work well to push the top end and drop into the top of the mid-range market. The 6800 Ultra Extreme will probably be out of reach, price and availability wise, for most of us. But, for those hard core gamers out there, both the Platinum Edition and the Ultra Extreme look very good depending on what kind of games are going to be pushed most often through the framebuffer.
The 6800 GT leads the X800 Pro in value more often than not. Of course, the small price difference in the market might not be much now, but honestly the GT and Pro are very comparable parts. The decision is a hard one to make. Our graphs show it, and our recommendation for the moment reflects it: when performance is on par, go with the cheaper hardware. NV40 has the added bonus of Vertex and Pixel Shader 3.0 support (already shown to help make a difference in FarCry performance) and with floating point frame buffers (which could help provide some very cool blending and HDR effects if developers support it). When everything is said and done, the 6800 GT gets our recommendation despite the close performance.
The GeForce 6800, while not the most impressive performer that we've seen, certainly improves on the performance of the 5950 Ultra and 9800 XT with a much lower cost than both. Unless an application that requires 256MBs of video RAM is key in the decision-making process, the 6800 is a better choice right now than the former top-of-the-line cards, even at their reduced prices. This price point should get even more interesting when ATI's $300 offering hits the streets.
As new technology trickles down through the mid-range and budget markets, consumers who don't care about graphics will be armed with some relatively nice hardware. We are definitely looking forward to seeing what hits at the $200 price point.
For those in the market for a card now, we will continue to try and provide the best information possible. Soon, we'll be taking a hard look at individual vendors cards. We'll be looking at things such as cooling, noise, and overclockability.
The best advice that we can give right now is to pick your card based on the games that you enjoy the most. No matter what ends up happening, there won't be any reason to be disappointed when deciding between ATI and NVIDIA this time around. It really does come down to the value of a particular card with respect to the games that any particular person plays.