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The card
The GeForce 6800 Ultra reference card is an AGP-native design; there is no bridge chip. Rumor has it a PCI Express-native version of NV40 will be coming when PCI-E motherboards arrive, but this first spin of the chip will fit into current mobos without any extra help.

This card is also quite sight to behold, with yet another custom NVIDIA cooler onboard, and two Molex connectors for auxiliary power.


The GeForce 6800 Ultra reference card

NVIDIA recommends a power supply rated to at least 480W for the GeForce 6800 Ultra, and the two molex connectors should come from different rails on the power supply, not just a Y cable. For most of us, buying and installing a GeForce 6800 Ultra will require buying and installing a beefy new power supply, as well. (Not that it won't be worth it.)

Clock speeds for the GeForce 6800 Ultra are 400MHz for the GPU and 550MHz for the 256MB of onboard DDR3 memory (or 1.1GHz once you factor in the double data rate thing.) For the privilege of owning this impressive piece of technology, you can expect to pay about $499.

Although the cooler design on our GeForce 6800 Ultra reference card is a dual-slot affair (that is, it hangs out over the PCI slot adjacent to the AGP slot), NVIDIA does have a single-slot cooler design that it will make available to its board partners. Here's a picture the company provided:


NVIDIA's single-slot cooler for the GeForce 6800 series

Expect most GeForce 6800 Ultra boards to occupy two slots, at least initially. However, judging by how much it burns my hand when I touch it, the 6800 Ultra runs quite a bit cooler than the downright sizzlin' GeForce FX 5950 Ultra. I wouldn't be shocked to see single-slot designs come back into favor amongst NVIDIA card makers. Then again, the dual-slot cooler runs nice and quiet, and card makers may not want to sacrifice peace for an extra PCI slot.

There will be a non-Ultra version of the GeForce 6800 available before long at $299. That product will be a single slot design with a single Molex connector. However, it will have only twelve pixel pipes, and its clock speeds haven't been determined yet.