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eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition
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Date: Aug 11, 2004
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction, Specification, and Bundle

Back in May '04, NVIDIA introduced the GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition to counter the launch of ATi's Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition, and gamers the world over took notice.  Just a few weeks earlier, the GeForce 6800 Ultra was unveiled, and at the time it was smoking through benchmarks like nobody's business.  Then, about a month later NVIDIA announces this new card and it's got a 16-Pipe NV40 core running a full 50MHz faster than the "stock" 6800 Ultra.  On top of that, it was said that some AIC partners may even ship cards with faster memory as well, offering even higher performance.  Today, we'll be taking a look at just such a card.

The eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition is basically a reference design GeForce 6800 Ultra with its core clocked at 450MHz and its on-board memory humming along at a speedy 1.2GHz (600MHz DDR).  This is the fastest NV40 based card to land in the HotHardware labs, as its memory is clocked a full 100MHz faster than even the reference GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition NVIDIA shipped to us for this article.  Since its initial release, NVIDIA has also improved GeForce 6 line-up performance, with updated Forceware drivers.  Needless to say we were eager to get the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition installed to see just what she was made of. Here's what we found out.

     

Specifications & Features of The eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition
NVIDIA's Flagship GPU
CINEFX 3.0 SHADING ARCHITECTURE
  • Vertex Shaders
    Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Vertex Shader 3.0
    Displacement mapping
    Vertex frequency stream divider
    Infinite length vertex programs*
  • Pixel Shaders
    Support for DirectX 9.0 Pixel Shader 3.0
    Full pixel branching support
    Support for Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
    Infinite length pixel programs*
  • Next-Generation Texture Engine
    Up to 16 textures per rendering pass
    Support for 16-bit floating point format and 32-bit floating point format
    Support for non-power of two textures
    Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures
    DirectX and S3TC texture compression
  • Full 128-bit studio-quality floating point precision through the entire rendering pipeline with native hardware support for 32bpp, 64bpp, and 128bpp rendering modes

ULTRASHADOW II TECHNOLOGY

  • Designed to enhance the performance of shadow-intensive games, like id Software's Doom III

ADVANCED ENGINEERING

  • Over 220m transistors
  • Designed for PCI Express x16
  • Supports PCI Express high-speed interconnect (HSI) technology for bidirectional interconnect protocol conversion
  • Full support of AGP 8X including Fast Writes and sideband addressing
  • Support for the industry's fastest GDDR3 memory
  • 256-bit advanced memory interface
  • 0.13 micron process technology
  • Advanced thermal management and thermal monitoring
  • 40 mmx40 mm, BGA flip-chip package

 

Architecture Characteristics of the GeForce 6 Series

Pixel pipelines 16
Superscalar shader Yes
Pixel shader operations/pixel 8
Pixel shader operations/clock 128
Pixel shader precision 32 bits
Single texture pixels/clock 16
Dual texture pixels/clock 8
Adaptive anisotropic filtering Yes
Z-stencil pixels/clock 32
NVIDIA HIGH-PRECISION DYNAMIC-RANGE (HPDR) TECHNOLOGY
  • Full floating point support throughout entire pipeline
  • Floating point filtering improves the quality of images in motion
  • Floating point texturing drives new levels of clarity and image detail
  • Floating point frame buffer blending gives detail to special effects like motion blur and explosions
  • New rotated-grid anti-aliasing removes jagged edges for incredible edge quality
INTELLISAMPLE 3.0 TECHNOLOGY
  • Advanced 16x anisotropic filtering
  • Blistering-fast anti-aliasing and compression performance
  • Support for advanced lossless compression algorithms for color, texture, and z-data at even higher resolutions and frame rates
  • Fast z-clear
  • High-resolution compression technology (HCT) increases performance at higher resolutions through advances in compression technology
ADVANCED VIDEO AND DISPLAY FUNCTIONALITY
  • Dedicated on-chip video processor
  • MPEG video encode and decode
  • WMV9 decode acceleration
  • Advanced adaptive de-interlacing
  • High-quality video scaling and filtering
  • Integrated NTSC/PAL TV encoder supporting resolutions up to 1024x768 without the need for panning with built-in Macrovision copy protection
  • DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
  • Dual integrated 400 MHz RAMDACs for display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536 at 85Hz.
  • Dual DVO ports for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters and external TV encoders
  • Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) supports multiple video windows with full video quality and features in each window
  • VIP 1.1 interface support for video-in function
  • Full NVIDIA nView multi-display technology capability

NVIDIA DIGITAL VIBRANCE CONTROL (DVC) 3.0

  • DVC color controls
  • DVC image sharpening controls

OPERATING SYSTEMS

  • Windows XP, 2000, ME, 9x
  • Macintosh OS, including OS X
  • Linux

API SUPPORT

  • Complete DirectX support, including the latest version of Microsoft DirectX 9.0
  • Full OpenGL, including OpenGL 1.5

* The operating system or APIs can impose limits, but the hardware does not limit shader program length.


     

eVGA struck a very good balance with their GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition's bundle.  Instead of including a slew of outdated utilities and older games with the card, eVGA has instead bundled one brand new game and includes only drivers, their proprietary ADM (Automated Driver Management) application, and NVIDIA's NVDVD player on the obligatory installation CD.  The game that eVGA is bundling with this card, at least until August 31, is the wildly popular FarCry.  It's good to see a new game, that's actually capable of showcasing some of the 6800's new features, shipping with eVGA's 6800 Ultra EE.  Kudos to eVGA - good choice!  Also included in the package are dual DVI-to-DB15 adapters, dual Molex power cable splitters, and a single S-Video cable.  Lastly, there is a user's manual, a couple of case badges, and a certificate of quality signed by the Director of Technical Marketing, their Chief Engineer, and two Quality Managers.  The certificate details what testing was done prior to boxing up the card and states, "This product comes with a 24 hour next business day replacement should something happen to your card."  That's a very comforting statement to read, when you've just dropped a mint on a new high-end video card, don't you think?

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The Card & Some Screen Shots

With all of the different video card models coming from NVIDIA and ATi based on the same base architectures lately, it may be a bit difficult to figure out exactly where each card fits in the grand scheme of things.  To help explain exactly where each card stands, based solely on theoretical peak fillrates and memory bandwidth figures, we've put together a simple chart that should help clear things up...

As you can see, the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition, which is what the eVGA card we're looking at today is based upon, is right up there at the top of the list in both categories.  Only the ATi Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition has a higher fillrate and nothing touches the EE when is comes to peak memory bandwidth.

The eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition
That's the Good Dr. Timbury!

          

          

The eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition doesn't stray from NVIDIA's reference design, save for the custom fan guard sporting the likeness of the smooth Dr. Timbury!  Dr. Timbury first made an appearance at the NV40 launch in a demo that spotlighted the NV40's HDR (High Dynamic Range) rendering capabilities.  The eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition's cooling solution is a two-slot design; the model we have here does in fact encroach on the first PCI slot.  The blower and shroud are designed to pull air in through the front, and blow it across the heatsinks mounted over the GPU and RAM.    When operating at full speed, we found the fan to be somewhat loud, so don't consider this card if you're trying to build a silent gaming PC.  Underneath the cooler, you'll find a 16-Pipe NV40 core clocked at 450MHz and 256MB of Samsung GDDR3 RAM clocked at a healthy 1.2GHz (600MHz DDR).  The card has Dual-DVI outputs and a video-out connector, and like all other GeForce 6800 Ultra's two Molex power connectors, preferably from two separate PSU lines, are required.

Screen Shots: Doom 3
Dark, Gory, and Scary!

        
          

We've done a few direct comparisons between ATi's and NViDIA's in-game image quality recently (see: here and here), so we won't be doing yet another side-by-side comparison here.  If you read those past comparisons, what you'll find is that ATi and NVIDIA are on equal ground at the moment.  The consensus is that ATi still has slightly better image quality when using anti-aliasing, but NVIDIA's anisotropic filtering is superior.  Turn them both on together and it is difficult to tell the two apart, especially when images are whizzing by in a fast paced game.

What we have for you here is a sampling of images from the incredibly cool Doom 3.  We jumped through a few different levels while gaming with the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition running the game at the "High-Quality" setting at a resolution of 1024x768 with 4X AA and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled.  Take a look at the detail in these images, especially in the faces, and you'll have a good idea of what a high-end gaming card like this one can do, all the while keeping the frame rates at playable levels.

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Our Test System & Final Fantasy XI

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We tested the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition on an i875P based DFI LANPARTY Pro875B motherboard, powered by an Intel Pentium 4 3.2CGHz CPU. The first thing we did when configuring this test system was enter the BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults". Then we set the memory to operate at 200MHz in dual-channel mode, with the CAS Latency and other memory timings set by the SPD, and then we set the AGP aperture size to 256MB. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP1 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the Intel chipset drivers and hit the Windows Update site to download and install all of the available updates. Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating, System Restore and Drive Indexing were then disabled, the hard drive was de-fragmented and a 768MB permanent page file was created on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed the benchmarking software and ran all of the tests.

The HotHardware Test System
Intel Powered Screamer
Hardware:
Processor -

Motherboard -


Video Cards -




Memory -


Audio -

Hard Drive -


Optical Drive -

Other -

Software:
Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers
-

Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz

DFI LANPARTY Pro875B
i875P "Canterwood" Chipset

GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition
GeForce 6800 Ultra
GeForce 6800 GT

ATi Radeon AX800 XT

1024MB Kingston HyperX PC3500
CAS 2

Integrated SoundMax Audio

Western Digital "Raptor"
36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Lite-On 16X DVD-ROM

3.5" Floppy Drive


Windows XP Professional SP1 (Fully Patched)
Intel INF v6.0.1.1002
DirectX 9.0c

ATI Catalyst v4.8
NVIDIA Forceware v61.77
Performances Comparisons With Final Fantasy XI Benchmark 2 v1.01
A Classic Console Franchise On The PC

Final Fantasy XI
The Final Fantasy franchise is well known to console gamers, but Squaresoft has since made the jump to the PC with a MMORPG version of this classic. The Final Fantasy XI benchmark runs through multiple scenes from the game and displays a final score every time a full cycle of the demo is completed. Although the demo is meant the check an entire system's readiness to play the game, the number of frames rendered scales when different video cards are used. Lower scores indicate some frames were dropped to complete the demo in the allotted time. The scores below were taken with the demo set to its "High Resolution" option (1024x768), with anti-aliasing disabled.

A "light-duty" benchmark like this one isn't able to tax today's high-end video cards, especially when they've got incredibly high fillrates and plenty of memory bandwidth, like eVGA's 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition.  As you can, all three of the GeForce 6800s we tested finished within a few percentage points of each other, with the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition jumping out to a slight lead of about 6.5%.

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Halo & Splinter Cell

 

Benchmarks With Halo
Halo - All Patched & Ready To Go!

Halo
For many gamers, the release of Halo marked the end of a long wait, since it was originally released as an Xbox exclusive a few years back. No additional patches or tweaks are needed to benchmark with Halo, as Gearbox has included all of the necessary information in their README file. The Halo benchmark runs through four of the cut-scenes from the game, after which the average frame rate is recorded. We patched the game using the latest v1.04 patch and ran this benchmark twice, once at 1024x768 and then again at 1600x1200. Anti-aliasing doesn't work properly with Halo, so all of the test below were run with anti-aliasing disabled.

 

The eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition swept the competition in the Halo benchmark.  At 1024x768, the GeForces were evenly matched, but the X800 XT fell behind.  Cranking the resolution up to 1600x1200 allowed the X800 XT to pull in front of the GeForce 6800 GT by a couple of frames per second, the 6800 Ultras, however, still dominated.

Performances Comparisons With Splinter Cell
Stealthy Combat

Splinter Cell
Splinter Cell's version 1.2 patch includes three pre-recorded demos and incorporates a previously unavailable benchmarking tool. The demos included with the patch are somewhat limited by CPU performance, however, so we opted for the custom Oil Rig demo created by the folks at Beyond 3D to test with this game. Beyond 3D's demo removes two CPU intensive routines while increasing dependence on Pixel Shader performance. Shaders are used to render realistic looking ocean water surrounding an Oil Rig in the demo, as well as simulating a night vision effect for a brief period. Take note that anti-aliasing doesn't work with Splinter Cell in its current state. Due to this fact, we do not have any AA scores listed in the graphs below.

 

A few short months ago, ATi hardware owned the Splinter Cell benchmark.  But with the NV40 and Forceware v6x.xx drivers NVIDIA has pull ahead for now.  At 1024x768, none of the cards we tested broke a sweat, all finishing within 3 frames per second of each other.  At 1600x1200 though, the pecking order changed a bit, with the eVGA card taking first, followed closely behind by the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition.

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Unreal Tournament 2004

 

Head-to-Head Performance With Unreal Tournament 2004
Epic's Next Smash Hit!

Unreal Tournament 2K4
Epic's "Unreal" games have been wildly popular, ever since the original Unreal was released in the late '90s. Unreal, Unreal Tournament, and then Unreal Tournament 2003, rapidly became some of our favorites, for both benchmarking and for killing a few hours when our schedules allowed! Epic recently released the latest addition to the franchise, Unreal Tournament 2004. We used a fully patched (v3120) full version of the game to benchmark these cards at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1600x1200, without any anti-aliasing, with 4x AA, and lastly with 4X AA and 16X aniso.

 

eVGA's GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition continued its winning ways in our custom Unreal Tournament 2004 benchmark.  With the game set to 1024x768, frame rates were mostly limited by our CPU and didn't show much variation between the cards.  At 1600x1200, however, a clearer pattern begins to emerge.  Without any anti-aliasing, and again with 4X AA enabled, the Ultras placed first and second, followed by the X800 and the GT. By turning on 4XAA and 16X Anisotropic filtering concurrently, however, the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition is able to pull ahead of the pack thanks its fillrate advantage.

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Tomb Raider: AOD

 

Head-to-Head Performance With Tomb Raider: AOD
The Anti-Greatest!

Tomb Raider: AOD
Although Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness won't be winning any "Game of the Year" awards, it is one of the more advanced DirectX games currently available. We've recorded a custom demo of Lara jogging through an indoor garden area in the "Prague3" map. When using the Pixel Shader 2.0 code path, this area of the game utilizes a DOF (depth of field) blurring effect to enhance the sense of depth and size. We ran our custom demo at a resolution of 1024x768 and then again at 1600x1200, using both the Pixel Shader 1.4 and 2.0 code paths (with and without 4x anti-aliasing enabled in the PS 2.0 tests).

 

It seems that NVIDIA has lost a bit of performance in the Tomb Raider: AOD benchmark with their latest set of Forceware drivers.  If you go back to some of our past reviews, you'll see that they were a few percentage points faster when using some older driver sets.  Here, the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition jumped out to a huge lead at 1024x768 in both of the Pixel Shader 2.0 tests (the PS1.0 tests were fairly even).  When we bumped the resolution up to 1600x1200, the eVGA card pulled ahead in the PS 1.0 test, only to fall back behind again in the PS 2.0 test.  With 4X AA enabled, the eVGA 6800 Ultra EE and X800 XT PE shared a victory, finishing within a fraction of frame per second of each other.

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Aquamark 3

 

Performance Comparisons With Aquamark 3
DX8 and DX9 Shaders

Aquamark 3
Aquamark 3 comes to us by way of Massive Development. Massive's release of the original Aquanox in 1999 wasn't very well received by the gaming community, but it was one of the first games to implement DX8 class shaders, which led to the creation of Aquamark 2 - a benchmark previously used by many analysts. Since the Aquamark benchmarks are based on an actual game engine, they must support old and new video cards alike. Thus, the latest version of Aquamark, Aquamark 3, utilizes not only DirectX 9 class shaders, but DirectX 8 and DirectX 7 as well. We ran this benchmark at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1600x1200 with no anti-aliasing, with 4x AA, and with 4X AA and 16X aniso enabled concurrently.

 

Our results in the Aquamark 3 benchmark somewhat mirror what we saw with Unreal Tournament 2004.  In this test, the eVGA card was fastest at 1024x768 when no anti-aliasing and 4X AA was enabled, but the Radeon X800 XT took the lead when AA and Aniso were enabled together.  At 1600x1200, the scales tipped slightly more in favor of the Radeon X800 XT, where it was able to score victories in the 4X AA test by a small margin, and again in the 4X AA + 16X Aniso test by about 10.5%.

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Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

 

Benchmarks / Comparisons With Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
Q3 Engine Based Freebie

Wolfenstein: ET
We also ran through a batch of timedemos with the OpenGL game Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Wolfenstein: ET is a free, standalone multiplayer game that is based on the excellent Return to Castle Wolfenstein, that was released a few years back. It uses a heavily modified version of the Quake 3 engine, which makes it a very easy to use benchmarking tool. We created our own custom demo and used the built-in timedemo feature to check each card's frame-rate. The tests below were run at 1024x768 and again at 1600x1200, without anti-aliasing, with 4X AA, wand lastly with 4X AA and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently.

 

With Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory running at 1024x768, all of the cards we tested were basically CPU bound in every configuration, except for the AA and Aniso test, where the Radeon X800 XT PE dropped a few frames per second and lost to all three of the GeForce cards.  At 1600x1200, without any anti-aliasing, the GeForce cards again outpaced the Radeon, but with 4XAA, and again with 4X AA and 16X Anisotropic filtering enabled, the Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition was sped passed the fastest GeForce (the eVGA 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition) by about 10%.

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FarCry

 

Benchmarks and Comparisons With Far Cry
DX9 effects galore.

Far Cry
If you've been on top of the gaming scene, you probably know that Far Cry is one of the most visually impressive games to be released on the PC to date.  Far Cry gives us a taste of what is to come in next generation 3D Gaming on the PC.  We benchmarked the graphics cards in this review with a custom recorded demo run taken in the "Catacombs" area checkpoint, at various resolutions without AA or Aniso Filtering enabled and then with 4X AA enabled, and lastly with 4X AA and 16X Aniso enabled together.

 

Before being influenced by these FarCry results, let us preface them by saying performance in this game is going to change dramatically when the v1.2 patch is officially re-released in the next few weeks.  With the new patch, SM 3.0 support will be available to the GeForce 6 series of cards, SM2.0b will be made available to the Radeon X800s, and instancing support will be available to both.  All of which increase performance.  For now though, if you bought the game today, and installed it today, without using any beta drivers or patches, this is how the cards we tested would fare.

As it stands now, The ATi Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition has a distinct advantage in FarCry.  At 1024, the Radeon pulled ahead of the GeForce cards in every configuration.  With the resolution turned up to 1600x1200, the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition was able to nudge just slightly past the Radeon when 4X AA was enabled, but without AA and with AA and Aniso enabled together, the Radeon was still the victor.

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Doom 3

 

Benchmarks and Comparisons With Doom 3
The Wait is Over!.


Doom 3
id Software's games have long been pushing the limits of 3D graphics.  Quake, Quake 2 and Quake 3 were all instrumental to the success of 3D accelerators on the PC.  Now, years later with virtually every new desktop computer shipping with a 3D accelerator, id is at it again with the release of the visually stunning Doom 3.  Doom 3 is an OpenGL game using extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows.  We ran benchmarks with Doom 3 set to its "High-Quality" mode, at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1600x1200 without AA or Aniso Filtering enabled and then with 4X AA, and with 4X AA and 16X Aniso enabled.

 

And now it's time for some benchmark results using the game that's generating more buzz than an oversized colony of killer-bees jacked up on Red Bull and Skittles - Doom 3.  For these tests, we used the timedemo that ships with the game, demo1. We are in the process of creating custom demos for each level, however, and will be using custom tests in the near future, when we're done with our final evaluation of each demo...

With the current state of the game, it's clear that NVIDIA has got a HUGE advantage over ATi in Doom 3.  Even the GeForce 6800 GT, which is about $200 cheaper than the X800 XT, is able to handily beat the best ATi currently has to offer by a sizable margin.  ATi claims future driver revisions, and potential tweaks to Doom 3 will improve performance on their hardware, but they won't likely be able to make up this much ground with the R420.  At 1024x768, without any anti-aliasing, all of the cards we tested performed similarly.  Once AA and Aniso were enabled though, the GeForce cards ran away with this benchmark.  The eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition was dominant, besting the X800 XT Platinum Edition by 30-37%.  At 1600x1200, the Radeon falls well behind in all three test configurations, losing by margins ranging from 30-52%.  Let's hope for ATi's sake, this performance pattern doesn't also ring true for future games based on the Doom 3 engine.  As it stands today, if you're looking for the ultimate video card for Doom 3, a GeForce 6 series card, and especially the higher-clocked eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition, is for you.

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Overclocking

 

Overclocking the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition
Making The Fast, Faster...

If you've read every page of this review, it should be obvious that the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition, and quite frankly all of the cards we've tested here, are extremely fast and are clearly superior to the previous generation 4-Pipe and 8-Pipe cards.  But there's just something about overclocking a card to its limit that appeals to us!  As fast as the eVGA GF 6800 EE was, we thought we could make it a little faster by overclocking it a bit...

 

We used the Coolbits registry tweak to enabled the Clock Frequency sliders in NVIDIA's Forceware drivers, and raised the eVGA card's core and memory clock speeds slowly until our test system became unstable.  Please keep in mind that the "Extreme Edition" GeForce 6800 Ultra cards are technically pre-overclocked Ultras, so expecting huge overclocks from any EE would be unrealistic.  In the end, we were only able to increase the default core and memory clock speeds of 450MHz / 1.2GHz to only 462MHz / 1.26GHz.  We re-ran the high-resolution Aquamark 3 and Doom 3 tests at these higher clock speeds to see what kind of performance gains were afforded by the higher clocks and saw some minor gains.  In AQ3, the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition's frame rate increased by just over 1 FPS.  In Doom 3 though, we only gained .6 FPS.

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Summary & Conclusion

Benchmark Summary:  We ran benchmarks with each card that we tested at 41 different test configurations. Obviously, the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition, with its faster core and memory clock speeds, was going to outpace the other GeForces, so we'll focus on the 6800 Ultra EE vs. X800 XT PE battle in our summary.  If you were keeping track, you'll find that the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition was the fastest card in 18 of the tests, it lost to the Radeon in 12 tests, and the remaining 11 tests were a draw.  The GeForce was mostly faster when AA was disabled and when 4X AA was enabled.  It was also clearly superior in Doom 3, but the Radeon shined with using anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering concurrently in most of the tests.

There's a lot to like about the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition.  It's one of the fastest overall video cards currently available for 3D gaming, and no other card is better equipped to handle Doom 3 at the moment - bar none. Image quality was excellent throughout all of our testing (both during benchmarks and while gaming), it's one of the few cards with dual-DVI outputs, and it ships with a complete version of an excellent game, namely FarCry.  About the only drawbacks to the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition are price and availability.  You can expect to pay upwards of $600 for a card of this caliber, and we were unable to locate a retailer that had them in stock at the moment.  The eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra (non-Extreme Edition) is available at multiple outlets for about $550, but the Extreme Edition isn't widely available just yet.  In the end though, if you've got the budget, and can find one, you'd be hard pressed to find a better overall performer.  And Doom 3 gamers looking for the absolute best performing video card need look no further.  We're giving the eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition a 9 on the Heat Meter.

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