NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800 GS graphics processor

WATCHING THE HIGH-END GRAPHICS scene these days can practically give a miser like me a nosebleed. Six-hundred dollar video cards? Are you kidding? And you’re telling me some people are going to buy two and run them together? I’d better sit down for moment.

Fortunately, as technology progresses, computer power does get cheaper over time, and that’s certainly true in graphics. Case in point: NVIDIA’s brand-new GeForce 6800 GS. This video card, making its debut today, packs the considerable power of a GeForce 6800 GT at the not-so-painful price of $249. Does that combination of price and performance make the GeForce 6800 GS worthy of your consideration? We aim to help you answer that question by flooding you with benchmark results until your head swims and you cry out for sweet mercy. We’ve tested a number of the latest games, including F.E.A.R, Serious Sam 2, and Half Life 2: Lost Coast. Keep on reading to see how the 6800 GS compares to several of its closest competitors—and whether a pair of these puppies will keep up with one of those six-hundred-dollar monsters.

Gran Turismo versus… Good Stuff? General Smoothness?
If you’re like me, you may be a little bit surprised to see NVIDIA cranking out a brand-new GeForce 6-series video card as we head into the holiday buying season, given that the GeForce 7 series has been around for a while in several incarnations. The truth is that the GeForce 6800 GS is not a major new GPU revision in any sense of the word, though, and that the 6800 GT that it ostensibly replaces was most definitely in need of replacement.

The 6800 GS is based on a GPU that NVIDIA has dubbed NV42, and its specs are rather similar to another, already familiar NVIDIA GPU, dubbed NV41. You’ll find an NV41 chip lurking under the garishly decorated heatsink of any recent GeForce 6800 (no extended moniker edition) card with a PCI Express interface. Both the NV41 and the NV42 have five vertex shader units, 12 pixel shaders, and eight render back end units, or ROPs. The difference between them is that the NV41 was built by IBM using a 130nm fab process, and the NV42 is built using a 110nm process. Because the two chips are manufactured using different fab processes that rely on different libraries, NVIDIA estimates their transistor counts differently. Thus, the NV41 purportedly has 190 million transistors, while the NV42 has 202 million transistors, although the two chips “are fundamentally the same architecture,” according to NVIDIA.

You may be wondering: why would you consider a 12-pipe chip like the NV42 a replacement for the GeForce 6800 GT? The answer is simple: higher clock speeds. Although the 6800 GS has fewer pixel shader pipes, it’s practically a dead ringer for the 6800 GT when it comes to key specifications like texel fill rate, thanks to its 425MHz core clock speed. In fact, because I’m still trying to shed those recurring math-class nightmares that plague any liberal arts major, I’m going to hit you with a fancy table laying out those specifications in some detail. This should illustrate how fewer vertex and pixel shaders running at higher clock speeds can make the 6800 GS a pretty close match for the 6800 GT. Of course, these numbers won’t produce exactly comparable performance, especially across different generations and brands of GPU architectures, but they’re still fairly relevant.


Numbers and stuff

The 6800 GS doesn’t quite match up with the 6800 GT in terms of pixel fill rate, but that number isn’t terribly important in today’s games, which require increasing amounts of shading and texturing power per pixel. The 6800 GS offers slightly more vertex processing power, slightly less pixel shading and texturing power, and exactly the same amount of memory bandwidth as the GeForce 6800 GT. Functionally, they’re practically twins.

The NV42, however, has the benefits of youth. The 6800 GT is based on the original NV40 chip, and it needs the help of a separate bridge chip in order to talk over a PCI Express interface. NV40 silicon is also incapable of accelerating WMV video decoding. The NV42’s smaller transistor count and newer fab process should allow the 6800 GS to draw less power and produce less heat than the 6800 GT. The 6800 GS is quite likely cheaper to manufacture, as well.

The card
As you’d expect, the GeForce 6800 GS needs only a single-slot cooler to keep it happy. The board design looks very similar to other GeForce 6-series cards, especially the GeForce 6800 cards based on the NV41.

My only quibble with the NVIDIA reference design pictured above—which is the card we tested—is the lack of a second DVI output. I think a $249 graphics card ought to have a pair of digital outputs. Heck, I think a $149 graphics card should, too. Let’s hope some of the board makers producing 6800 GS cards decide to do the right thing and convert that VGA output into a second DVI port.

So… who’s the competition?
In order to compare the GeForce 6800 GS with its closest competitors, we’ve had to stare deep into the soul of the video card market and pick out a couple of names from the crowded space around the $249 price point. If you were going to spend about that much on an ATI graphics card right now, you’d more than likely be looking at a Radeon X800 XL. You can find the X800 XL selling at online retailers for a prevailing price of about $259, although there are a few places selling the X800 XL for less. This 16-pipe card started life as a foil to the GeForce 6800 GT, so I suppose it’s fitting that it should now face off against the 6800 GS.

There’s also ATI’s new generation of graphics cards, the Radeon X1000 family. Due out at the end of this month is the Radeon X1600 XT with 256MB of memory, a card that ATI says will list for $249. That should make it a direct competitor to the GeForce 6800 GS, but I’m not so sure about that. We’ve included it in our comparison for the sake of fairness and completeness, but the X1600 XT just doesn’t look to me like a $249 card. Everything about it, from its teensy GPU die size to its four texture units, four render back ends, and its 128-bit memory interface screams “cheaper!”—like $169 or so. The X1600 XL looks like it’s outclassed by the likes of the 6800 GS or even ATI’s own Radeon X800 XL. ATI has blessed the X1600 XT with twelve pixel shaders and a stratospheric 590MHz clock speed, though, so perhaps it’s not completely out of its league. We shall see about that.

We have also included a wide range of higher-priced graphics cards from ATI and NVIDIA in our testing today, in part because they’re competing directly with an intriguing option: a pair of GeForce 6800 GS cards in SLI. Could buying two of these new cards and running them in tandem be more cost-effective than ponying up for ATI’s new Radeon X1800 XT? Maybe so.

We’ve also included a range of cards because it was time for an update since we did our last big graphics comparison in our Radeon X1000 series review. Both major players have released new drivers since then, claiming big performance gains, and several excellent new games have arrived, as well.

 

Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and the results were averaged.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Athlon 64 X2 4800+ 2.4GHz
System bus 1GHz HyperTransport
Motherboard Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe
BIOS revision 1014
North bridge nForce4 SLI
South bridge
Chipset drivers SMBus driver 4.50
Memory size 2GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Crucial PC3200 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz
CAS latency (CL) 2.5
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 3
RAS precharge (tRP) 3
Cycle time (tRAS) 8
Hard drive Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150
Audio Integrated nForce4/ALC850 with Realtek 5.10.0.5900 drivers
Graphics GeForce 6800 GS 256MB PCI-E with ForceWare 81.87 drivers
Dual GeForce 6800 GS 256MB PCI-E with ForceWare 81.87 drivers
XFX GeForce 7800 GT 256MB PCI-E with ForceWare 81.87 drivers
MSI GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB PCI-E with ForceWare 81.87 drivers
Radeon X1600 XT 256MB PCI-E  with Catalyst 5.10a beta drivers
Radeon 800 XL 256MB PCI-E  with Catalyst 5.10a beta drivers
Radeon X1800 XL 256MB PCI-E  with Catalyst 5.10a beta drivers
Radeon X1800 XT 512MB PCI-E with Catalyst 5.10a beta drivers
OS Windows XP Professional (32-bit)
OS updates Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c SDK update (October 2005)

Thanks to Crucial for providing us with memory for our testing. 2GB of RAM seems to be the new standard for most folks, and Crucial hooked us up with some of its 1GB DIMMs for testing. Although these particular modules are rated for CAS 3 at 400MHz, they ran perfectly for us at 2.5-3-3-8 with 2.85V.

All of our test systems were powered by OCZ PowerStream 520W power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor’s Choice winners in our last PSU round-up.

Unless otherwise specified, the image quality settings for both ATI and NVIDIA graphics cards were left at the control panel defaults.

The test systems’ Windows desktops were set at 1280×1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

 

Pixel-pushing power
We’ve already looked at the math briefly, but we’ll pause again to consider pixel-pushing power, because it still determines performance to a large degree, especially at higher resolutions when video cards tend to hit their limits.

  Core clock
(MHz)
Pixels/
clock
Peak fill rate
(Mpixels/s)
Textures/
clock
Peak fill rate
(Mtexels/s)
Memory
clock (MHz)
Memory bus
width (bits)
Peak memory
bandwidth (GB/s)
Radeon X1600 XT 590 4 2360 4 2360 1380 128 22.1
GeForce 6800  325 8 2600 12 3900 700 256 22.4
GeForce 6600 GT 500 4 2000 8 4000 1000 128 16.0
Radeon X800 400 12 4800 12 4800 700 256 22.4
GeForce 6800 GS 425 8 3400 12 5100 1000 256 32.0
GeForce 6800 GT 350 16 5600 16 5600 1000 256 32.0
Radeon X800 XL 400 16 6400 16 6400 980 256 31.4
GeForce 6800 Ultra 425 16 6800 16 6800 1100 256 35.2
GeForce 7800 GT 400 16 6400 20 8000 1000 256 32.0
Radeon X1800 XL 500 16 8000 16 8000 1000 256 32.0
Radeon X850 XT 520 16 8320 16 8320 1120 256 35.8
Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition 540 16 8640 16 8640 1180 256 37.8
XFX GeForce 7800 GT 450 16 7200 20 9000 1050 256 33.6
Radeon X1800 XT 625 16 10000 16 10000 1500 256 48.0
GeForce 7800 GTX 430 16 6880 24 10320 1200 256 38.4

The 6800 GS slots in between the two competitors from ATI. The Radeon X800 XL has more theoretical texel fill rate and the same memory interface type and speed. The X1600 XT, meanwhile, is long on pixel and vertex shading power as we’ve noted, but lacking in the fill rate and memory bandwidth departments.

The cards stack up as expected in 3DMark05’s synthetic test of multi-textured (or texel) fill rate. The 6800 GS has a little bit less peak pixel-pushing power than the Radeon X800 XL, but it has more than twice the peak texel throughput of the Radeon X1600 XT.

 

Doom 3
We generally used in-game controls when possible in order to invoke antialiasing and anisotropic filtering. In the case of Doom 3, we used the game’s “High Quality” mode in combination with 4X AA.

The 6800 GS takes it to both of its rivals from ATI in Doom 3, pretty much as we’ve come to expect NVIDIA cards to do in OpenGL games. Note, though, that the top single-card solution in the group is ATI’s Radeon X1800 XT. ATI’s newest Catalyst drivers seem to have paid off here.

Also notice that two GeForce 6800 GS cards can outrun any single graphics card available in Doom 3, even a card that lists for twice as much as a single 6800 GS.

 

Half-Life 2: Lost Coast
This new expansion level for Half-Life 2 takes advantage of high-dynamic-range lighting, and it looks spectacular. HDR lighting requires the use of higher-color texture formats, so it really stresses a card’s throughput.

The Radeon X800 XL ever-so slightly edges out the 6800 GS here, but the difference is negligible. The Radeon X1600 XT looks outclassed.

 

Serious Sam II
Here’s a new game with a new game engine that takes advantage of all of the hottest lighting and shading techniques. Unfortunately, we decided not to test with high-dynamic-range lighting on this game because it didn’t appear to work correctly on Radeon X1000-series cards. Perhaps a future patch or driver update will resolve the problem.

We did, however, decide to test both with and without 4X antialiasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled, because we wanted to see whether our extensive use of AA and aniso was putting the Radeon X1600 XT’s unique, asymmetrical GPU architecture at a particular disadvantage.

The Radeon X1600 XL’s performance doesn’t seem to suffer inordinately when 4X antialiasing and 16X anisotropic filtering are in use, after all; it’s just slow across the board. The 6800 GS, though, can’t quite keep step with the Radeon X800 XL here.

 

F.E.A.R.
We tested the next few games using FRAPS and playing through a portion of the game manually. For these games, we played through five 60-second gaming sessions per config and captured average and low frame rates for each. The average frames per second number is the mean of the average frame rates from all five sessions. We also chose to report the median of the low frame rates from all five sessions, in order to rule out outliers. We found that these methods gave us reasonably consistent results.

F.E.A.R. is my current game of choice, and incredibly, I enjoyed reenacting the firefight that we used for this test all 80 to 100 times that I played through it for this review. I used lots of slow-mo to take down the bad guys, and it’s freakishly addictive.

Light detail, shadow detail, texture resolution, shaders, effects detail, model decals, and relections were all set to maximum for our testing. Computer performance, water resolution, and volumetric light density were set to medium.

The 6800 GS again finds itself bracketed by the competition from ATI, although the X1600 XT looks a little stronger than usual in this shader-filled game. In SLI mode, the 6800 GS produces average frame rates comparable to a Radeon X1800 XT, but the 6800 GS SLI rig’s lowest frame rates are superior to the X1800 XT’s.

 

Battlefield 2

The 6800 GS essentially ties the Radeon X800 XL once more in Battlefield 2.

Guild Wars

The 6800 GS puts in a nice showing in Guild Wars, with a single card outperforming a Radeon X800 XL and two cards in SLI beating out the Radeon X1800 XT.

 

3DMark05

3DMark05 is a rare case where the Radeon X1600 XT looks like it belongs in the same league as the X800 XL and 6800 GS. Here’s how the three individual game tests break down.

Our three contenders around the $249 price point are very evenly matched here, with no card taking a clear lead. The 6800 GS in SLI takes two of three game tests from the single-card champ, the Radeon X1800 XT.

 

3DMark05 (continued)

3DMark’s remaining synthetic benchmarks give us a split result. The 6800 GS wins out in the pixel shader test, but the ATI cards are both faster in the vertex shader test. In fact, the X1600 XT has finally found a place where it excels; it beats out the Radeon X1800 XL and the GeForce 7800 GTX in the vertex shader tests. This robust vertex throughput may help explain the X1600 XT’s ability to keep up with the Radeon X800 XL and GeForce 6800 GS in 3DMark05’s three game tests.

 

Power consumption
We measured total system power consumption at the wall socket using a watt meter. The monitor was plugged into a separate outlet, so its power draw was not part of our measurement. The idle measurements were taken at the Windows desktop, and cards were tested under load running Half-Life 2: Lost coast at 1600×1200 resolution with 16X anisotropic filtering and HDR lighting enabled.

Out of curiosity, I threw in a GeForce 6800 GT for these tests, because I wanted to see how the 6800 GS compared to its predecessor. Will the GS’s smaller transistor count and newer fab process give it lower power consumption than the GT, or will the GS’s higher clock speed offset its advantages?

The system with the 6800 GS card pulls about 16 fewer watts under load than the system equipped with a 6800 GT—not bad. The systems based on the two ATI cards require even less power under load, however. Also, notice that our idea of pairing up two 6800 GS cards to defeat a single high-end card has taken a hit. The SLI rig eats roughly 25 to 30W more power than a system with a single high-end GPU.

Noise levels
We used an Extech model 407727 digital sound level meter to measure the noise created (primarily) by the cooling fans on our two test systems. The meter’s weightings were set to comply with OSHA standards, and the meter itself was mounted on a tripod approximately two feet from our test system.

I would be more confident in these numbers if the chipset fan on our Asus A8N-SLI mobo didn’t rattle and clatter like it does sometimes. Still, the numbers here show the 6800 GS to be a reasonably quiet card by current standards, and that jibes with what my ears tell me. Two of ’em together in SLI make a lot of racket at idle, although they’re comparable to a setup with one Radeon X1800 XL or XT under load.

The always-on, uber-loud fan on this Radeon X1600 XT has got to be an artifact caused by our review sample card’s pre-production status. I hope. Please?

 
Conclusions
In terms of fan noise, power draw, and overall performance, the GeForce 6800 GS runs neck and neck with the Radeon X800 XL. That’s not bad at all for a card that starts life at the $249 mark. If history is any guide, board makers will offer discounts and “overclocked in the box” clock speeds to make the 6800 GS even more appealing than NVIDIA’s stock design. In fact, I believe those cards should be available for purchase starting today.

The Radeon X800 XL, meanwhile, started life in a higher tax bracket and only recently has dropped into the $259-ish neighborhood. We’ll have to see whether it will stick around and continue to drop to $249 or less over time. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the X800 XL as an alternative to the GS, except for the fact that ATI has now embraced Shader Model 3.0 in the Radeon X1000 series. The 6800 GS has Shader Model 3.0 support, and the Radeon X800 XL doesn’t. That fact may not matter now, but it could well become a source of regret down the road for someone choosing an X800 XL over a 6800 GS today. Game developers may shift their attention to SM3.0 at the expense of older cards, especially once ATI joins NVIDIA in pushing them to incorporate more SM3.0-specific features and performance optimizations.

As for the Radeon X1600 XT, let’s hope ATI finds a better way to plug the gap between the $199 and $299 price points than penciling this minor leaguer into its lineup. The Radeon X1600 XT is in many ways a very forward-looking design, but it’s not a good value at its current list price.

The biggest knock on the GeForce 6800 GS, in my book, comes from another source. If you’re going to fork over $249 for a graphics card, you would probably do well to consider shelling out the additional $70-100 for a GeForce 7800 GT instead, if you can. The 7800 GT delivers significantly more performance, thanks in part to the tweaks NVIDIA made between GeForce generations six and seven. Similarly, if Radeon X1800 XL prices settle into the same range as the 7800 GT as supply becomes more plentiful, that card could become a very attractive option. I don’t advocate reaching into a higher price bracket often, but this is one case where it may make some sense. 

Comments closed
    • flip-mode
    • 14 years ago

    Damage, it wouldn’t hurt to throw the 6800GT in this most recent test system – the last time you tested a 6800GT the test system was entirely different, so and apples to apples is not really possible, even when going back to earlier articles.

    Whatever you decide, thanks for the review.

    • Proesterchen
    • 14 years ago

    I pitty the fool who outlined ATi’s RV530, it’s wholly incompetent in it’s current price bracket and only competes well in 3DMark.

    RV530 = One Benchmark Wonder.

    • Chryx
    • 14 years ago

    It would have been nice if there had been a 6800GT in the testing guys.

      • hmmm
      • 14 years ago

      Agreed. Since this is supposed to replace the GT, it is pretty important to know how it compares to its forerunner.

        • jobodaho
        • 14 years ago

        Well it’s in the review now, kind of, in the 3D mark section.

    • matnath1
    • 14 years ago

    I vote for an article “rematch” of the high end heavyweights. Looks like ATI has turned the tables on NVIDIA in OPEN GL BIG TIME..FUNNY that HL2 lost coast was a loss for ati

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 14 years ago

      I have a feeling next week when 7800gtx 512mb edition comes out….

        • axeman
        • 14 years ago

        In the orginal x1000 series review, the ATi cards were benchmarked on a different motherboard, an ATi Xpress mobo. So was it that or the new drivers that make the x1800XT look so much better in OpenGL. I did some comparing, and the Doom3 scores for the top-end Radeon were at least 30% higher now.

    • mongoosesRawesome
    • 14 years ago

    I’ve been having trouble with the texture corruption in guild wars with nvidia’s newer 80 series drivers. Did that occur during testing, Damage? Is there a fix?

    • Pete
    • 14 years ago

    Great roundup, Scott. Three questions:

    1) Are you using a full, retail version of FEAR? I’m curious b/c the RX1s scored so well with the demos but then gave way to the GF7s with the retail version.

    2) Do you think the X1800XT’s crushing wins in BF2 and FEAR are due to memory bandwidth and maybe amount? This’ll probably be answered with your 512MB GTX review, but I thought I’d throw it out there. 🙂

    3) What’s with the huge drop in the X1800XT’s relative power consumption, especially when idle? Are the new drivers downclocking the card, like NV does, or did you receive a newer sample? The gap b/w the XT and the GTX is basically insignificant now in both usage cases.

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 14 years ago

      In response to #1, since I don’t recall seeing that screenshot in the demo, and the fact that it says FEAR 1.02 (I don’t know of any patched demo’s), I’m willing to bet it’s retail

    • Palek
    • 14 years ago

    I also would have liked to see the 6800GS compared to the X800 GTO, although whatever the results they would not have affected my purchasing decisions, since I have ordered a GTO and it’s already been shipped. Oh well.

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 14 years ago

    q[https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=35104<]§ You need a passive solution for your noise-testing rig. I hope that you have a super-quiet power supply in there, too.

    • swaaye
    • 14 years ago

    The 6800Go in my Dell notebook is NV42. I’ve been using it for months now, since May. I clock it at 380/770 and it gets the job done for everything except FEAR. I didn’t know it was like the 6600 in that it had decoupled ROPs and pixel units. Interesting.

    I’d recommend that desktop users go after the X800GTO or GTO2 personally. I clocked a GTO up to 575/1000. It just smoked up at that speed. These cards are usually even a few $ cheaper than this 6800GS.

      • Pete
      • 14 years ago

      The whole GF6 (and now GF7 as well as ATI’s X1) line has its ROPs decoupled from the pixel/fragment pipes, it’s just that some use fewer ROPs than pipes. It saves die space and, according to ATI and NV (and benchmarks), it doesn’t cost you much performance. This’ll probably become truer with more shader-heavy games, as each pixel is processed for more than one clock cycle.

        • swaaye
        • 14 years ago

        Thanks for the info. I have some 3dmark05 scores I put together last week when I was messing with a 6600GT and a X800GTO.

        X800GTO @ 550/1000 = 5320
        6800GT @ 370/1000 = 5123
        6800Go @ 370/770 = 4355 (NV42)
        6600GT @ 590/1200 = 3997
        9700P @ 390/350 = 2572

        So yeah the NV42 is a bit slower than that 6800GT. Obviously though my 6800Go is quite limited by the RAM bandwidth there too. Considering though that it’s a 12/8 vs the 16/16 6800GT, it’s very impressive. Check out that $200 X800GTO go though! That’s like 35MHz from max stable clock too. Didn’t want to have to worry about skating the edge with my friend not knowing what to do if he had problems.

        I upgraded him from a AthlonXP 2500+/6600GT/2GB system to a Athlon 64 3200+@3800+/2GB/X800GTO and he was just blown away at how Everquest 2 ran. 🙂 I get major kicks out of building comps like these for people. Why can’t everyone out there need bitchin’ gaming rigs?

    • kilkennycat
    • 14 years ago

    The Anandtech review compares the 6800GS with the 6800GT:-

    §[<http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2593<]§ The 6800GS is still for sale@Newegg for $209 (plus shipping) :- §[<http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=14-130-258<]§

    • Reputator
    • 14 years ago

    NV42 has 8 ROPs? You guys sure about that? That’s the first I’ve heard of it.

      • Damage
      • 14 years ago

      Yes, like the NV41, according to NVIDIA.

        • Reputator
        • 14 years ago

        Then it’s amazing the GS can keep up with the 6800GT at the higher resolutions with AA.

    • CampinCarl
    • 14 years ago

    Ugh…You got my hopes up with this article–I read the title quickly and thought it said “7800 GS”…which is the card I’m waiting on. If it comes out at around 250 dollars like speculation seems to be…*drool* 😀

    • Thebolt
    • 14 years ago

    This thing appeared on newegg for 209$ for a while this morning but since has dissapeared.. maybe they sold out quickly. At 209$ they’re a really nice card for the money. It’s almost worth considering SLI for a mid range card of this caliber with 256MB of quick RAM. Two of these put up nice numbers in comparison to the high end cards so if it gets long in the tooth you can just slap another in there to make it able to keep up with the latest games. I doubt a midrange card will beat the pants off of this thing for a good while.

    • Chrispy_
    • 14 years ago

    If this is nothing more than an overclocked (and process-shrinked 6800NU) then I’m a little worried.

    I borrowed a 128MB NU 6800 when I still had my 9700 Pro and was hideously underwhelmed. Moreover, It seems that at the midrange, cards like the 6600GT and the X800GTO will be eating away at it’s market share for a lot less money,

    The only plus-side would be if they made this in AGP, where there are still quite high prices for 6600GT’s and X800’s

    • lemonhead
    • 14 years ago

    I would have liked to see 6800 GT scores to compare to, since in the article it’s supposed to replace it. All I see are fill rate #’s.

      • continuum
      • 14 years ago

      Agreed, that would be nice. For $249… I’ll buy something else. For $210… I’d look at it if I had a need. (I don’t… yet…)

    • jobodaho
    • 14 years ago

    Are the F.E.A.R. benchmark graphs the same, or did they all just score the same in both settings?

      • Damage
      • 14 years ago

      Doh. Fixed.

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 14 years ago

    yeah…TR staff where is your GTO2 ?

      • leor
      • 14 years ago

      emkubed has one 😉

    • Sumache
    • 14 years ago

    You gotta get one of the new ATI cards like the X800GTO^2 and bench that sucker now 😀 It goes for around the $240 mark and is built on a R480 core modable + overclockable to a X850XTPE.

    • Shinare
    • 14 years ago

    This is $229 + 5 shipping at Monarch!

    This just hit my “Best-Bang-For-The-Buck” leve for PCIe vid cards.

    §[<http://www.monarchcomputer.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=M&Product_Code=190443<]§

    • SpotTheCat
    • 14 years ago

    Don’t you have one of those ultra-expensive video cards in your system? :p

    • kvndoom
    • 14 years ago

    You need to enlarge that Guild Wars screenshot… can’t quite see the character name there… need to add you to Guild… WE WILL ABSORB YOU!

    • Illissius
    • 14 years ago

    I will ask again. Why is it that in quite a few benchmarks, the 7800GT edges out the X1800XL, and yet in the same benchmark, the X1800XT completely outclasses the 7800GTX? Theoretically, each pair of cards has close to identical peak fillrates and memory bandwidth (close enough that it couldn’t possibly account for the difference, anyways), so logic would dictate that where the 7800GT and X1800XL perform comparably, the 7800GTX and X1800XT should do likewise — but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
    The only thing I can think of is the X1800XT’s 512MB of memory, but I somehow doubt it could be causing this much of a difference. Not impossible, though.

      • Damage
      • 14 years ago

      Look at the specs again. The Radeon X1800 XT has more peak pixel fill rate and a whopping 10GB/s more memory bandwidth, in addition to more onboard RAM.

        • MadCatz
        • 14 years ago

        When an x800xl 512mb can edge out an x850x pe 256mb, which has a substantial memory and core clock difference, then it is easy to assume a card with an extra 256mb of memory along with much higher core and memory clocks would beat out a card lacking all these things by a large margin.

        • Illissius
        • 14 years ago

        Hmm. Right you are, though I had assumed (given the 6600GT’s example) that peak pixel fill rate doesn’t matter nearly as much (read: at all), compared to the texels. Not sure about the memory bandwidth; on the one hand in newer games shading power seems to make a much bigger difference, but yes, 10GB/s could be having an impact.

        Anyways, I think have found an entirely more plausible explanation: the 7800GT you tested with is not a vanilla one, but rather an overclocked XFX variant… so with the vanilla version, likely the picture would be more like the 7800GT somewhat trailing the X1800XL, and the 7800GTX trailing the X1800XT by more. Just speculation, though. But I can imagine that all these things could possibly add up to account for what’s in the graphs.

        By the way: I recall seeing a chart some time back (at AnandTech if memory serves), where all of the X1000 series was listed as having 128 internal threads, except for the X1800XT, which had 512. It seems strange for the XL not to have the same number, but it could be another explanation for the results — do you know whether this is actually the case, or whether that was just a typo?

        (speaking of typos: in the pixel-pushing chart at the top of page 3, the ‘Radeon 1800 XL’ is missing an X)

          • Damage
          • 14 years ago

          The X1800 XT’s pixel fill rate advantage probably doesn’t matter too much in newer games, but the extra memory bandwidth certainly should. The X1800 XL has a clear advantage in pixel fill rate over the 7800 GT (even the “overclocked” version), and it doesn’t make the X1800 XL faster than the 7800 GT. Given that the X1800 XT is faster than the 7800 GTX, I’d say the extra 10GB/s helps.

          We did not use an “overclocked in the box” 7800 GTX.

          These are, of course, very different GPU architectures that have different sorts of efficiencies, allocations of execution resources, thread management techniques, real-time compilers, register space amounts, and all the rest. The math in the tables is interesting, but it’s not destiny. So I wouldn’t get too hung up on minor differences in the numbers. ATI or NVIDIA could well be faster due to greater architectural efficiency. For instance, ATI definitely is faster at certain shadow-mapping routines that use flow control thanks to the X1000 series’ finer threading granularity. NVIDIA may be faster overall clock for clock, though, at the same time.

          10GB/s, however, isn’t a minor difference or a special-case kind of advantage.

          We have an X1000 series thread count table here:

          §[<https://techreport.com/reviews/2005q4/radeon-x1000/index.x?pg=3<]§ The X1800 XL is based on the same R520 chip as the X1800 XT and has the same number of hardware threads. I can't vouch for other sites' typos, though. ;) Don't see your missing "X". Hmm.

            • Illissius
            • 14 years ago

            §[<https://techreport.com/reviews/2005q4/geforce-6800gs/index.x?pg=3<]§ 10th row down Anyways, my inquiry wasn't related to why ATi is faster or slower than nVidia per se, but rather why it was slower in one instance, and much faster in another, seemingly similar one -- but I'll just chalk it up to the extra memory bandwidth and give it a rest :)

    • tay
    • 14 years ago

    Overclocking results?

    • Ruiner
    • 14 years ago

    So they bumped the clock with the smaller nm process but slashed pipes to keep it from kicking sand on its big brother.

    Meh.

    This should be a $160-180 card.

    • PerfectCr
    • 14 years ago

    I was actually thinking about getting this one, but I think I’ll take your advice and wait for the 7800GT.

    • Vrock
    • 14 years ago

    It’s a higher clocked 6800NU. Interesting, but not worth the money IMO. I would have liked to see how it stacked up against the NU.

    • Dposcorp
    • 14 years ago

    I gotta agree with your conclusion. A 7800GT bought on sale would be a much better value at this point in time.

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