IntroductionBFG GeForce 6800 Ultra Overclocked
NVIDIA, if pushed hard enough, will readily admit that its premier NV30 cards were something of a letdown. They promised much but didn't deliver the kind of performance that pre-launch hype had suggested. Stung by generally unfavourable press sentiments a lukewarm response from enthusiasts, NVIDIA promised that its next iteration of graphics cards would right all the NV30's wrongs.
The result of NVIDIA's efforts came to fruition with the all-powerful 6800-series of GPUs. With the Ultra and GT models featuring, amongst other things, massive, strict 16-pipeline rendering setups, 6 vertex shaders, high-speed GDDR3 memory and Shader Model 3.0 support, it was clear that the NV40 derivatives would be streets ahead, performance-wise, of the beleaguered 5900/5950 Ultra designs. What is important to understand is that the transition between FX5950 Ultra and 6800 Ultra hasn't occurred through a minor speed bump, rather it's a new GPU that bears little resemblance with its predecessor.
It's just as well, too, as the summer of '04 will see the release of true next-generation games, with Doom 3 alone causing such a stir that many gamers are contemplating purchasing entire new, powerful PCs in anticipation. In short, NVIDIA's 6800-series and ATI's X800 variants have landed at just the right time.
Our technical bod, Ryszard, took a closer look at what makes the NV40 so great almost 4 months ago. I'd recommend perusing his informative article, here. The time between press evaluation and retail model release is excruciatingly painful for enthusiasts and gamers. Even now, GeForce 6800 Ultra cards are relatively thin on the ground. We've been fortunate enough to secure an Ultra model from a rising name, BFG Technologies. The company's quickly taking over Gainward's mantle of producing and distributing premium NVIDIA cards that are often factory overclocked. We already know the GeForce 6800 Ultra is one fast, meaty card. Let's see if BFG can make a good thing even better.