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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  • Wellsoul2 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link would be more of a comparison to include
    the 800XL, 800GTO2 , even the 850XT which is selling
    for $215 some places.

    No need to do the article over, maybe just include
    the old graphs for comparison.

    I'm kind of unhappy that you pay over $200 for a new
    video board and can't even run it with AA/AF/HDR
    at a decent framerate in new games.

  • bob661 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Some of you guys are just rocks. The article was a 6800GS comparison NOT a comparison of video cards in the $200 price range. As a matter of fact, the title of the article says ... The NVIDIA 6800 GS Closer Look: EVGA, Leadtek, PNY, and Evertop!!! Go figure!!!
  • BenJeremy - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    The latest RivaTuner allows you to unlock pipelines (I think it's 3 more, one vertex and 2 pixel) on the GS. I would love to see the benchmarks on that, particularly combined with the overclocking.

    I did have a small problem with thew GPU overclock in Half Life 2, with "flashing" textures. Not sure what was going on, but defaulting the GPU cleared it up, and I haven't messed around with it to see what sort of overclocking I can get without seeing the problem. Otherwise, I'm happy with the GS, particularly with the ability to unlock pipelines.
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    that no website seems to ever put the Radeon X800XL up against the 6800GS as a baseline competitor. I just checked Pricewatch, and Radeon X800XL cards can currently be had for $199-250, the exact same price point as the 6800GS (at least according to your price-links for the PNY model on the page I was looking at). If I was looking to purchase the 6800GS or an equivalent, why would I look at a Radeon X800GTO when the X800XL with four more pipelines is available at a similar price to the 6800GS? Makes no sense to me.
  • WooDaddy - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link


    Reading the article was fine until I started to see the trend of Evertop. The second I saw the picture of the HSF, I knew something was up. Who in their right mind would deviate from the reference design that Nvidia hast dictated!?! Evertop, that's who.

    It was like a nightmare reading this article. Evertop at stock clock at the bottom. Evertop at overclock at the top. Same on BF2. Same on Farcry. Splinter Cell... Lowest power draw at load. Lowest temp at load (UNDER 60 C). WHY WON'T IT JUST STOP!!?!! Who do they think they are?! What's up with this punk Korean company?!? And to make matters worse, I bet that they sell for less than $190!

    Well, that's all fine and dandy. At least they're not in the US. If we can do anything about it, they won't be.

    eVGA - First to release the 6800GS.

    Seriously though. Thanks a lot Josh... You just made us Americans pissed off that we can't get the Evertop card. I just picked up a 6600 GT Leadtek (based on the AT review) and now I find out there's a card that's probably 50% better and only $50 more (possibly)... Geez. Let us know when a retailer starts selling that here. Or... I can take that card off your hands. Meet me in the FS forums ;)

    Good job on the article :)
  • WooDaddy - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    (eVGA speaking)
    Oh damn.. 5dB lower on the noise too...

    That's it. Time to either sabotage Evertop or raid the AT labs. There's gotta be an NDA they're breaking somewhere.

    Maybe? No? Doggonit...
    Evertop is the winnar, I guess...
  • Josh Venning - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Yes we were very impressed with EverTop, especially since the HSF on their card threw us off a bit at first. (we thought it looked a bit silly) It's a great 6800 GS and hopefully if there is enough demand here in the states we might be seeing some for sale here eventually. We'll just have to wait and see.
  • Zoomer - Friday, February 3, 2006 - link

    Why are you so surprised? One look and I can tell hat's the zalman VF700Cu. It's a aftermarket cooler selling for $30. Of course its good.

    The evertop card is a bargain, considering that you'll need at least the VF700AlCu or similar to keep your sanity. Throwing away a perfectly good (but noisy and underperforming) nvidia stock heatsink that you paid for isn't efficient.
  • nullpointerus - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    I don't think it's that the Zalman HSF is so good but rather that the stock HSFs are so incredibly bad. I put in my eVGA 6800 GS with the stock cooler for a few days - HUGE problem. The noise was absolutely terrible! It was simply too much to take, so I installed an Artic Cooling HSF and was immediately impressed by the quietness.

    Anyway, kudos to EverTop for choosing a Zalman HSF! I hope more companies follow suit.
  • gman003 - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Alright now is it me or are all of the AnandTech posters here 12 years old and crying about what is specifically meant to be a 6800GS roundup?
    First of all, if you guys want a varied video card comparison, go look at one. This isn't one of them. It's a "6800GS CLOSER LOOK"!
    Secondly, the ATI card was merely used as a reference so you could see the differences in games with Anti-Aliasing turned on and off between the two companies. It isn't necessarily meant to be compared to the "Red Team", just merely used as a reference point.
    The point of the article is to show you bo-zos out there that the 6800GS is a great price/performance card and which card will perform the best when overclocked. Everyone that buys one of these cards buys it because of the price/performance ratio, not how it compares to a 7800GT(which is getting closer to a good price/performace ratio but that is besides the point) or a X800 GTO.
    The writer picked out great cards and gives a great overview of how these cards will overclock and what you will expect of them.

    So please, no more cry-baby posts on here. If you keep posting, I will have to come OWN you on Quake 4 on my eVGA 6800GS card. Thanks.

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