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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  • bob661 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link


    the title didn't say only "The NVIDIA 6800 GS [PCI-Express] Closer Look: EVGA, Leadtek, PNY, and Evertop"
    ....because AGP is dead. No need to mention it. LOL!
  • JamesDax - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Gotta wonder why Nvidia and ATI are still releasing AGP cards then. Boggles the mind.
  • DerekWilson - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Going forward, our focus will be on PCIe.

    But we could still have one or two things up our sleeves for those still working with AGP, so don't loose heart.

  • kmmatney - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Isn't AGP performance about the same?
  • grizzly7 - Monday, January 30, 2006 - link

    The AGP versions of 6800GS only have a core clock of 350MHz, so performance is worse.
  • CuriousMike - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Honestly, this article did nothing but say, "Zalman makes a superior cooler."

    Better overclock, better cooling, and more quiet.

    They're all ~ the same reference design (maybe different memory.)

  • Puddleglum - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Searched Newegg and found 4 eVGA 6800GS cards, and each one has different core clock speeds and memory speeds.">Newegg search results

    In the results, none of the cards are clocked at 450MHz/1.05GHz, and the fact that one of them comes factory set at 490MHz/1.1GHz makes me wonder if it can exceed the 510MHz/1.15GHz of your test card. An honest defense for eVGA regarding its nominal performance in this review is that you simply didn't use the right card.
  • DerekWilson - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Stock speeds are actually 425/1.0

    Meaning the EVGA is overclocked. They may have a more uber model out there, but this is the one they sent us when we mentioned this roundup to them.

    From our experience with these cards, it seems like it would be difficult getting a 6800GS clocked higher than ~525 ... The EverTop card stayed cooler than the rest of them, so heat didn't really become a factor in preventing higher clock speeds. I just think the chip has the juice to get much faster than that.
  • Killrose - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Nice article, but the ATi X800GTO is well below the $200 price point. Forget Price Watch even, Newegg has some at the $130 mark and the 6800GS start at $189
  • kmmatney - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Would have liked to have seen a X800GTO2 in there, as well as a 7800GT. The X800GTO2 can be had for $189, and unlocking the extra 4 pipes is easy and only has to be done once, ever. Out of the box, the 6800GS looks like a better deal, but the X800GTO2 gains more with overclocking/unlocking.

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