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Review: NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 Ultra GPU

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 14 April 2004, 00:00

Tags: NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

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Introduction

It's been silly season in the world of consumer graphics hardware recently. More rumours than I've had hot dinners about what ATI and NVIDIA's new GPUs can do, how they perform, what render setup they'll have, what DirectX Shader Model version they'll support, what clocks they'll ship at, what memory they'll use, what their names will be, what 3DMark03 score they'll get. The list is endless.

Depending on how you view consumer graphics and whether you like to get caught up in the rumour mill and speculation, you'll either be sick to the back teeth of it all or stupidly excited to see what's true and what's not. I'm in the latter camp, so doing the analysis for today's GPU preview was cathartic. One half of the new GPU equation slowly unravelled itself through a mass of benchmarks and image quality analysis.

The result? I can't wait to see what ATI's new GPU can do. You'll soon see why.

So the first half of the new high-end consumer graphics equation, if you discount anyone else being able to punch at this weight, is revealed today with our, and indeed everyone else's, evaluation of NVIDIA's NV40 GPU. Now officially called GeForce 6, the new GPU powers a series of cards that drop the FX moniker and go about things a bit differently than before.

GeForce 6800 Ultra is what reviewers have, so GeForce 6800 Ultra is what we'll cover. Remember, this is a preview, not a full review. Those will come with retail examples, the release of which should be in May. This is a technology analysis, bear that in mind. It's a bit different from the way we usually do things, but more in line with how everyone else does it, and for the better.

Enough chatter, onwards we go.