Noise, Overclocking, 2D Quality
The noise the cooling system of the V9999 GE produces is about the same as with the reference GeForce 6800 Ultra when it’s working in the 3D mode. The card, however, doesn’t adjust the speed of the cooler relative to the operational mode (2D/3D), since all fan-controlling options are given to the ASUS SmartDoctor system instead of NVIDIA’s standard one. Having installed and launched it, you get an opportunity to adjust the fan speed in either the manual or automatic mode. By default, the tachometer says the fan speed is about 2700rpm. If you drop the speed to about 2300-2400rpm, the card starts making much less noise, so it’s not quite correct saying that the ASUS V9999 GE is noisy or not – you can adjust this parameter to your taste (or hearing).
Overclocking went very smoothly, as we had expected: the graphics processor could work at 430MHz – not every GeForce 6800 Ultra is stable at such a frequency. The 2ns memory followed suite, yielding 100MHz above its rated clock rate of 1000MHz – that’s a good result, too. Thus, the ASUS V9999 Gamer Edition can be truly called an overclocker’s choice, considering that we reached those frequencies using just an additional 120mm low-speed fan.
The quality of the 2D image as outputted by our sample was excellent up to 1800x1400@75Hz, which was the limit of our monitor’s capabilities. So the ASUS V9999 Gamer Edition receives the highest marks across all the three parameters examined in this section of the review. Let’s see if it’s as successful in game tests.
Six Vertex Processors in GeForce 6800? Sometimes?
NVIDIA officially says that there are 5 vertex pipelines in the “standard” version of the GeForce 6800 GPU. While some consider this as a disadvantage, in reality it hardly is correct. It appears, that triangle setup engine of the GeForce 6800 and GeForce 6800 Ultra is the actual bottleneck that limits geometry performance of the graphics processing units. Below you can compare the results of the GeForce 6800 Ultra and the ASUS V9999 GE in specialized benchmarks. The cards were clocked at the same frequency:
As shown, the GeForce 6800 Ultra and non-Ultra cards deliver roughly the same performance in a bit outdated benchmarks, such as 3DMark 2001 SE. Therefore, we can suspect our particular sample of the GeForce 6800 to have all the six vertex pipelines operable. However, if we consider other benchmarks, such as 3DMark03 and 3DMark05, we will certainly notice that ASUS V9999 Gamers’ Edition is behind the GeForce 6800 Ultra. This strengthens our assumption that NVIDIA’s NV40-series GPUs clearly lack clock-speed and, as a consequence, triangle setup engine performance to spread its “geometry wings” and even 5 vertex pipelines seem to be enough for the GeForce 6800 part.