Final Words

These 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.

Price/Performance Analysis
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  • Drayvn - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    Actually i just found it for $530 over here in the UK Reply
  • Drayvn - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    In England the price of the XT-PE is about $565 and u could probably find it lower, at around $550 to $540... Reply
  • Noli - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    Guys if you don't like the value information 'overkill', er... just don't hover your mouse over the graphs?
    Actually my beef is slightly different which is why do anandtech log the fps/$ ?? There may be a good reason but am not sure what it is...
    Reply
  • Marsumane - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    Something that I dont think is quite right is that they are doing these benchmarks to determine the value of a card. If you use SM2.0 for the 6800 series and the X800 series you will not be seeing the entire value of purchasing a 6800 based graphics card. SM3.0 IS A FACTOR IN VALUE! Reply
  • DarkKnight - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    I completely agree with #18, just too much value information for me. In the end of an article just give a graph of the overall value, something like they do at THG. Reply
  • DarkKnight - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • ZobarStyl - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    I love my LeadTek 4200, and the 6800nu is right up my alley...not like I need 256 for anything I do anyway. Great article, now I'm sure that once the gouging stops if I can find one for 250 it's mine. And ATi fanboys please stop posting their prices like they are wrong, everyone is overcharging right now...and the XTPE does not equal the XT #17...if the PE costs the same as the XT, who the hell will buy the XT when the PE is clocked higher stock and performs better?

    Hell at my local Best Buy the Pro (yes, the Pro) is proudly sold for 499.99; so much for the MSRP...
    Reply
  • rjm55 - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    #18 - I infer that you meant "I am not implying . . ." in your comment.

    Derek - The "value" thing is a good idea, but using it in every graph is really more information than any of us need - which makes it more confusing than it needs to be. Not many are interested in comparing bucks per frame in Eve at 1600x1200 to bucks per frame in Halo, for example. What's in the article about value is geeky overkill, when what I want to know is true overall value, or bang for the buck.

    Maybe you can settle on a bench ot two to best illustrate value instead of making it so complicated you have to run a computer analysis to figure it out.
    Reply
  • binger - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    nice article, but too bad you didn't touch the issues of heat and noise. for me, those factors are far more decisive than, say, a 10$ price premium or a performance difference of a couple of fps.
    Reply
  • deathwalker - Friday, July 09, 2004 - link

    An after thought to my original post on this review...there seems to be a great deal of emphasis put on 1600 X 1200 performance in these reviews..I know there are still a great number of gamers out there still using CRT moniotors..but..with the growing popularity of LCD monitors this 1600 X 1200 performance range is unobtainable for most LCD owners as most 17" and 19" LCD monitors operate with 1280 X 1024 as the optimal native setting. I am not infering though that 1600 X 1200 is not revelant in this testing process...it's just an observation. Reply

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