Introduction

NVIDIA's 6800 GS has been available for over two months now, and it seems to be doing a nice job of providing users with quality performance. Now that the holidays are over, many new 6800 GS owners have settled in and are happily putting their new card to good use with their favorite games. Both ATI and NVIDIA did a decent job of getting out some new parts in time for the Christmas rush, offering a good selection to those gamers in the market for a new card. ATI's recent X800 GTO was, and still is, a no-slouch mid-range graphics card with a decent price tag (about $150), and a nice addition to their product line.

That being said, the 6800 GS is NVIDIA's answer to the X800 GTO, and they managed to slip it onto the market just before ATI's X1600. The X1600 is still pretty new, and it looks promising, but the NVIDIA 6800 GS has already proven to be a top contender for best performance at the most reasonable price.

Today, we'll be looking at four different manufacturers' versions of the 6800 GS, and seeing what each has to offer. The cards that we have are from Leadtek, PNY Technologies, EverTop, and EVGA. We've already talked about how the 6800 GS compares to the current NVIDIA lineup, but we'll offer a recap and hopefully provide a good overview of how this and other available graphics cards rank in terms of performance in the next section. When comparing multiple cards of the same type to one another, it can be easy to lose sight of how these parts fit into the ranks of graphics cards that are available by both NVIDIA and ATI. One of our goals in this review is to shed some light on the "big picture" of graphics card performance in general, and in particular, how the 6800 GS fits into it.

Usually, after the holidays, there tends to be a lull in parts being released, but this doesn't look to be the case, as we have been hearing murmurs about something interesting coming from ATI very soon. There has been a kind of shift in ATI's schedule lately, so we may see parts trickling out from them over the next few months. NVIDIA might have some surprises for us as well, but for now, the 6800 GS has enough clout to be one of their key parts until then. This card looks like it will be a great value part for those looking to upgrade anytime soon.

General Overview
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  • superkdogg - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    This article was good and informative if a consumer is only looking @ 6800GS cards. Now, if they were smart they would consider the 7800GT for more money, and the 6600GT to save money. If they were not opposed to supporting the red team, they could look at the x800gto2 and it's unlockable quad and overclocking that part too. They could also look at the x1600's and the entire x850/800 pro series would not be far from this price range.

    It's nice to have information available. It's even better when reviewers pull it together for consumers rather than consumers having to do the legwork.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    quote:

    It's even better when reviewers pull it together for consumers rather than consumers having to do the legwork.
    Sounds like instant gratification syndrome to me. What wrong with doing the legwork yourself? Especially when it's already been done. Why should AT have to do redo test because of lazy readers, like yourself?
    Reply
  • andrep74 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    One obvious area of testing that was overlooked, and would have been somewhat simple, was to do some CPU scaling: while using the fastest CPU available does remove the CPU from the equation, the fact that these cards are midrange means that people who buy the card will most likely have midrange CPUs, also. Perhaps two or three speeds at "midrange" CPU speeds like 3200, 3500, 3700 would have shed light on the effects of CPU on performance. Interpolation requires at least two to three points of analysis. Reply
  • superkdogg - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    You're calling me lazy? Hmm. My wife, kids and two jobs don't think so. Well, maybe my wife sometimes.

    Seriously though. Read my comment. What's the first sentence? Yep, you're right I do say that the article is useful for people who are only interested in the 6800GS. My point is that most consumers would want to compare the 6800GS with other cards in a similar price range and since AT serves consumers, it is probably in the best interest of everybody to focus on a wider segment of the population.

    This sort of article was very useful in the days of the MX400's and the GeForce GTS's. Back then, there was only one viable card per price point (ATI's first real card was the 8500's to be honest) and manufacturers didn't just regurgitate the reference design. However, since now there are innumerable cards that could possibly meet an end user's needs, the fact that all decisions are in some way based on relative value, and the fact that most if not all manufacturers use the reference design exclusively, this article's relevance is somewhat limited.

    My point is not that the article was poorly written, that it was slanted against ATI, that it was dishonest, or that it does not provide what it says it will. None of those things are true. What I was writing about was whether or not this article needed to be written at all and if it would have been more useful to review more than one graphics card. If you eliminate chance and the fact that one manufacturer uses a Zalman heatsink, and figure in that the GTO is just thrown in for comparison, this is essentially a one-card review, but takes the same amount of time to compile data and write as a 4-5 card review would.

    Would it not be more useful to have one widely available 6800GS, a X800 Pro, a 6600GT, a 7800GT, a x800XL, and a x800 GTO (especially the GTO2 and show unlocking), rather than the article as written? I think that it would, and I don't think that you can build an argument that it wouldn't. BTW, don't bother flaming me because I'm through with this since you can't read and understand my first sentence and resort to name calling in titling your response.
    Reply
  • superkdogg - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    But, what I wrote was "Why not write a full-blown midrange comparison?" That is what my title was and that is what I meant and said.

    My meaning is that there is no point in singling out a 600GS roundup anymore than there is a NForce4 roundup or any other part based on 4 different colors of the reference design. I was stating that it is much more useful to compare different cards than tell us again that overclocks are about the same and that this will vary based on your setup and your particular card.

    As far as instant gratification. "Hello, I am the internet. I am here to fulfill your thirst for knowledge. But I won't because it might happen too fast." Umm, don't think so. The whole point of the internet is to have the knowledge at our fingertips. Otherwise why would we read this stuff. Why not better compile the knowledge into a more readily usable form? That was and is my question. Read my comment. I don't rip them for writing a 6800GS roundup. I wonder why the assumption is that knowing the difference between brands is more important than knowing what cards are available in the price range.
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    If I had one comment I'd say the x1600xt would have been a better choice as a competitor for the 6800gs.

    However, it pains me to see how the comments always start out with people 'angry' because the review didn't contain the information for their own particular situation. A review can NOT cover every particular base, it is a decision made at the start what to cover. If you think you can do better, write your own article, if not then yes, you will have to do your own legwork. Do not always expect people to figure things out for you.

    If the article was named "Vidcard midrange comparison" you'd have reason to complain, now the article does what it set out to do.

    This comment is directed to everyone having replied up till now, not anyone in particular.
    Reply
  • Bull Dog - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Oh right and the X1600XT costs some $40 LESS than the 6800GS. And appropriately, doesn't perform quite as good. Reply
  • deathwalker - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    This review has missed the mark by failing to include the "AGP" versions of the 6800GS. Test results for the AGP version are important not only because there is still a very large contigent of gamers still using APG graphics supported motherboards but also because the clocking is very different on the AGP versions vs. the PCIe version. Dissapointing that AT had there tunnel vision visors on for this exersize. Reply
  • bob661 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    AGP is dead which is why it wasn't tested. This IS an enthusiast site not a J6P site. Reply
  • Patrese - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    I'd like to see the AGP 6800GS tested anyway. As Anandtech is a worldwide website (as it was said in the article), they should be aware that in less developed countries AGP is still a big deal, even for new computers. Here in Brazil, buying a Semprom 3100+ with Palermo core and putting it to work at 2.5GHz on air is becoming a national sport [sort of :)], and most of them are AGP based systems. It's not cutting edge technology, but still is enthusiast stuff!
    I'm not a cry-baby though, as I found the review really good (Zalman kicks the stock cooler's a**!). They may test the AGP version on other occasion. It's just a reply for those who think AGP is already dead and gone, specially in this price range.
    Reply

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