Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra

Most impressive graphics chip yet?

If by now you're as fed up as I am with all the techno babble and want to know how the GeForce 6800 Ultra performs, read on. Although this is only a preview, I managed to have a brief play with a pre-production board. There is one big drawback with the GeForce 6800 Ultra, if it can be called a drawback, which is the fact that there isn't a fast enough PC around to take full advantage of it. Even though we only tested the card in our somewhat outdated Pentium 4 2.4GHz reference system, it still managed to achieve some amazing numbers.

Nvidia 6800 3DMark 03 benchmark

With a score of over 11,000 in 3DMark03, the GeForce 6800 is more than twice as fast as anything else we've tested. Looking at the performance numbers in the remaining benchmarks, the two that stand out are Halo and Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, both running at about twice the usual speed using the GeForce 6800 Ultra, compared to current crop of high-end graphics cards. This shows the benefit of upgrading to a GeForce 6800 Ultra today, even though current games can barely take advantage of even half of the features of the new GPU. With numbers like these you might be amazed to learn that the GeForce 6800 Ultra GPU is clocked at a mere 400MHz. It is backed up by blisteringly fast 550MHz GDDR3 memory, which has an effective speed of 1100MHz.

Nvidia 6800 Halo benchmark

If you've saved up all your hard earned cash and planned to remortgage your house to get one of these new wonder cards, the good news is that as with recent top-end nVidia products, the GeForce 6800 Ultra will be launched at £399 inc VAT. And even if you don't have the fastest computer in the world, the GeForce 6800 Ultra will still do it justice as long as you're willing to play all your games at 1600 x 1200 resolution with 8x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering. Nvidia sadly doesn't supply high-resolution monitors with the GeForce 6800 Ultra, even though it would be very handy if it did.

Nvidia 6800 Aquamark benchmark

But what Nvidia should be supplying in the box is a discount voucher for a new power supply, as the GeForce 6800 Ultra needs two power lines to itself from the power supply. But worse than this is the fact that Nvidia recommends a minimum 480W power supply to make sure that the graphics card is supplied with enough juice. In return, you do get the most powerful graphics card on the market, which should convince enough users to fork out the extra money for a new power supply. Just don't expect to put one of these babies in small form factor box.

To sum it all up, the GeForce 6800 Ultra is the fastest and most impressive graphics card I have ever seen and I'm not easily impressed. On the down side, you do need a high-end PC and a small nuclear reactor, if you want to get the most out of it, but such is the lot of the early adopter. nVidia has snatched the performance crown back from ATi, but for how long, only time can tell. With ATI's next generation product just around the corner, this will be a very interesting summer for any hardcore gamers out there.

Related Reviews

AOpen Aeolus FX5900XT
Asus Radeon 9800XT/TVD

Visit The Reg's Review Channel for more hardware coverage.

Other stories you might like

  • US won’t prosecute ‘good faith’ security researchers under CFAA
    Well, that clears things up? Maybe not.

    The US Justice Department has directed prosecutors not to charge "good-faith security researchers" with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) if their reasons for hacking are ethical — things like bug hunting, responsible vulnerability disclosure, or above-board penetration testing.

    Good-faith, according to the policy [PDF], means using a computer "solely for purposes of good-faith testing, investigation, and/or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability."

    Additionally, this activity must be "carried out in a manner designed to avoid any harm to individuals or the public, and where the information derived from the activity is used primarily to promote the security or safety of the class of devices, machines, or online services to which the accessed computer belongs, or those who use such devices, machines, or online services."

    Continue reading
  • Intel plans immersion lab to chill its power-hungry chips
    AI chips are sucking down 600W+ and the solution could be to drown them.

    Intel this week unveiled a $700 million sustainability initiative to try innovative liquid and immersion cooling technologies to the datacenter.

    The project will see Intel construct a 200,000-square-foot "mega lab" approximately 20 miles west of Portland at its Hillsboro campus, where the chipmaker will qualify, test, and demo its expansive — and power hungry — datacenter portfolio using a variety of cooling tech.

    Alongside the lab, the x86 giant unveiled an open reference design for immersion cooling systems for its chips that is being developed by Intel Taiwan. The chip giant is hoping to bring other Taiwanese manufacturers into the fold and it'll then be rolled out globally.

    Continue reading
  • US recovers a record $15m from the 3ve ad-fraud crew
    Swiss banks cough up around half of the proceeds of crime

    The US government has recovered over $15 million in proceeds from the 3ve digital advertising fraud operation that cost businesses more than $29 million for ads that were never viewed.

    "This forfeiture is the largest international cybercrime recovery in the history of the Eastern District of New York," US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement

    The action, Peace added, "sends a powerful message to those involved in cyber fraud that there are no boundaries to prosecuting these bad actors and locating their ill-gotten assets wherever they are in the world."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022