IntroductionAOpen Aeolus GeForce 6800 GT 256MB
Who doesn't want the absolute best hardware available?. I sure do. The innate problem in drawing up a list of dream components is in justifying astronomical price tags for cutting-edge kit. With respect to graphics cards, it's quite easy to spend over £400 on a GeForce 6800 Ultra. That kind of money buys you a full 16-pipe design, a minimum 400MHz core speed and memory running at 1100MHz. Quite obviously, the asking price puts 6800 Ultras out of reach of all but the most hardy of enthusiasts or those lucky enough to have fat wallets.
NVIDIA and its partners know that they won't sell an awful lot of Ultras for this very reason. That's why every GPU maker releases slower, lesser, cheaper parts based on the same technology. ATI's done it with its X800 XT Platinum Edition and X800 PRO GPUs, which are differentiated by not only slower core and memory speeds but also by pipeline setup. NVIDIA's answer is, on the face of it, a better one. It's decided to keep the Ultra model's 16-pipeline setup and simply pair it up with a slower core and memory. The end result is a GeForce 6800 GT, a card which carries exactly the same tech. found on Ultras, but clocks in at 350MHz core and 1000MHz memory. The clincher is price; GTs are up to £100 cheaper than their Ultra counterparts.
We recently reviewed AOpen's Aeolus GeForce 6800 Ultra DVD 256(E) card, here. AOpen stuck with a reference design and positioned its Ultra on the basis of price. Given what's been discussed above, it's no surprise that AOpen's released a GeForce 6800 GT. A sub-£300 asking price and full GT specification makes it an attractive proposition on paper. Let's take a closer look.