Within each new generation of graphics processors (or “half-generation” if we deal with a modification of the existing chip architecture) the leaders of the gaming 3D graphics, ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corporation, put the fastest product in the spotlight. Such GPUs are the first to come to the hardware test labs, the first to get some reviews and praises, the first to confirm the technological superiority over the competitor.
Today, ATI and NVIDIA are offering the RADEON X800 and the GeForce 6 series, respectively as their most advanced products, among which the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition and NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra chips are the fastest. Of course, the price of the newcomers is rather steep – about the same money as you would pay for a mainstream system case with all the stuffing!
This is not a reason to spend your last money, though. Top-end products are always followed by less expensive ones, and they are of a great interest to overclockers: these graphics cards are based on the same GPUs as the top-end products, but work at reduced frequencies and have fewer enabled pipelines, and that means there’re a lot of opportunities to overclock and experiment and turn those disabled pipelines back on!
NVIDIA’s series of products with the GeForce 6 architecture seems rather more interesting so far: besides the front-liner GeForce 6800 Ultra, it includes two less expensive solutions:
- NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT: 16 (4) pixel pipelines, 256MB of GDDR3 across a 256-bit bus, 350/1000MHz clock rates;
- NVIDIA GeForce 6800: 12 (3) pixel pipelines, 256MB of DDR SDRAM across a 256-bit bus, 325/700MHz clock rates.
ATI’s now supplying only the top-end RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition and, as a less expensive variant, the “cut-down” RADEON X800 Pro with 12 pixel pipelines. NVIDIA’s selection gives you more flexibility: you can choose between the “cut-down” GeForce 6800 with 12 pixel pipelines and the full-featured GeForce 6800 GT that only has lower frequencies compared to the GeForce 6800 Ultra.
Now, let’s see what the GeForce 6800 GT and GeForce 6800 are capable of at the standard as well as overclocked frequencies.