While NVIDIA and ATI are getting over the problem of small output of graphics processors for expensive graphics cards, their partners are releasing in-between solutions on available chips, targeting enthusiasts and gamers who want to have the highest performance in demanding applications right here and now.
The population of GeForce 6800 cards in the market today is very small – the GeForce 6800 Ultra, the topmost model, can hardly be observed at all. And if you do spot it in a shop, its price is likely to be much above the recommended one ($499), as it usually varies in a range of $530 to $600 and more. The junior model, GeForce 6800 GT, is met oftener. According to Pricewatch.com, its price starts at $400, just a single US dollar above the recommended price ($399). The GeForce 6800 (without any indexes) remains the most widely available today, and you can sometimes see it selling for less than $299 (NVIDIA’s recommended price). However, this card is coming with rather slow memory, clocked at 350 (700DDR), and this often leads to a paradox: despite its advanced architecture, 12 pipelines and Shader Model 3.0 support, this new-generation card sometimes turns to be slower than the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra.
ASUSTeK Computer Inc. has found a solution to this problem – though a not very original one – embodying it in the V9999 Gamer Edition graphics card. Like all products from ASUS we have had a chance to test in our labs, the V9999 Gamer Edition comes in a huge-size colorful box, ready to be placed on a shelf in a computer shop and start the fight for the attention and money of a prospective buyer. The box of the V9999 Gamer Edition is as big as the ones of ASUS’ AX800 XT, AX800 PRO and RADEON 9800 XT cards:
The box is designed similarly to the package of ASUS’ X800-based products, but blue tones are replaced with greens here, and the girl on the face side of the package has vanished to give place to a young red-haired mage. The box has ASUS’s traditional flap that covers a window through which you may take a look at the graphics card inside. The carry handle makes it easier to transport such a huge box. Inside it we found the following things:
- ASUS V9999 Gamer Edition graphics card (in a transparent plastic box);
- Quick installation guide;
- CD with a detailed technical manual;
- CD with drivers and utilities from ASUS;
- DVI-I а D-Sub adapter;
- S-Video а RCA adapter;
- ASUS’ web-camera.
The accessories are not as plenty as the purchaser of an AX800 XT or AX800 PRO would get, but nothing vitally important is missing, either. There’s no Molex splitter among the accessories, and this may become a problem if you’ve got no free PSU connector, but the company may be just trying to make the user attach the device to two different PSU lines as NVIDIA recommends.
The traditional orange plastic CD box contains the following:
- CD with ASUSDVD player;
- CD with CyberLink MediaShow SE 2.0;
- CD with Battle Engine Aquila;
- CD with Gunmetal;
- CD with demo versions of several games;
- 2 CDs with Deus Ex: Invisible War.
This software pack emphasizes the gaming orientation of this product; there’re no video-editing tools here, since the card just has no video-input capabilities. If you’re an admirer of war robots of various kinds, you may like the two games on this subject: Battle Engine Aquila and Gunmetal. As for ASUS’ exclusive utilities, they remained the same since the previous products (you can refer to our ASUS V9950 Graphics Card Review, ASUS RADEON 9800 XT/TVD Review in our article called ASUS RADEON 9800 XT and LeadTek WinFast A380 TDH Ultra: The Battle for AquaMark3, or ASUS AX800 PRO/TD Review for details; the last of these reviews also describes the webcam enclosed with the V9999 Gamer Edition, with all its pros and cons).
Unlike the AX800 series and like the ASUS RADEON 9800 XT/TVD, the V9999 supports SmartCooling technology that allows controlling the rotation speed of the cooler basing on the user-defined preferences and the graphics core temperature. For an effective realization of this technology, the motor of the cooler is equipped with a tachometer with an additional output, while the standard motor of NVIDIA’s reference coolers has only two pins it receives its power through.