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

    I don't see why anyone would still be buying an AGP card when the prices differences between AGP and PCIe are negligible. And why buy a card like the 6800GS for an older board when the video is going to be bottlenecked by the old CPU?
  • superkdogg - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Bob, umm, I don't know how to tell you this, but any Athlon64 socket 939 has AGP motherboards available for it. Bottlenecked by "old" CPU's..... And the price differences are more than negligible. PCI-e is significantly cheaper, actually.

    The problem is that for Intel users, most will need new memory and everybody will need a new motherboard.
  • Spacecomber - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    I'm running a 6800GT with an Athlon XP clocked at 2.3GHz, and they are a good match for each other. Why should I upgrade a whole system when a better video card is enough to let me keep up with my gaming needs (mostly BF2 these days). The 6800GS is priced about right and the performance is about right for use in systems with the rough equivalent of a Pentium 3.0 GHz processor. And, the range of AGP cards still available is getting narrower; so, the interest in those that are still being made is sharper.
  • Spacecomber - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    I didn't really find benchmarks that just compared 6800GS cards to other 6800GS cards that helpful. As a buyer I'm going to probably pick the 6800GS card that is selling for the best price or has the best warranty or some other such feature, if I decide that a 6800GS is the right card for me. In order to do that, I need to see how this card compares to the competition, both from other nvidia cards and from ATI's cards.

    Ideally, these comparisons should also include SLI tests. Does the lack of pipelines come into play when running in SLI mode or not, compared to a 6800GT, for example?

    When you write these reviews, you guys need to be asking yourselves the questions that a Anandtech readers, as consumers, will be asking.
  • nullpointerus - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    Didn't the previous 6800 GS article do just what you wanted? I think I even picked the 6800 GS based on that article.
  • Hacp - Friday, January 27, 2006 - link

    How about showing the results of an overclocked gto? These things overclock pretty well, and should get to x850 pro speeds.

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