Well, we should confess that the Leadtek WinFast A400 Ultra TDH graphics card is no perfection. The company equipped its new product with a traditionally mighty cooling system that can keep the GPU and memory cool even during extreme overclocking, but at the expense of the noise factor. Looking at this well-designed massive copper contraption, you expect complete or near-complete silence, you know. Alas, the card is no etalon of noiseless work. For example, the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition with its simple and compact cooler produces much less noise. We also disliked the nasty 2D image quality on one of the DVI-I outputs of the card. We don’t count this in as a serious shortcoming since we suspect this to be a defect of our particular sample. The accessories are good, though. You get everything to get the card installed and running as well as two games to engage you from the beginning.
Yes, you would buy this card to play games, and the Leadtek WinFast A400 Ultra TDH is excellent in the pure speed mode when full-screen antialiasing and anisotropic filtering are disabled.
As you see, it loses 1280x1024 resolution to its main rival, the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition, in a few games that use complex pixel shaders, but in the rest of the games it is the RADEON’s equal or even superior. The Leadtek wins 16 out of 27 tests, including 3DMark03’s overall score. That’s a nice performance, worthy of a top-end product.
It’s not so well with full-screen antialiasing and anisotropic filtering. The WinFast A400 Ultra TDH could only win 5 out of 21 tests that support the eye candy mode. When overclocked, it won 7 tests, and that’s obviously a defeat. The reason is simple: the activation of those eye-pleasing features puts a big load on the memory controller and increases the demands on the computational capabilities of the GPU, and the new solution from NVIDIA is worse than the RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition in this respect due to a lower clock rate. The RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition is better suited for such hard operational modes as it is equipped with advanced memory bandwidth saving technologies.
The Leadtek WinFast A400 Ultra TDH did well where it was expected to do well – in the pure speed mode as well as in games that don’t use complex version 2.0 pixel shaders. So, this card may suit ideally for people who like playing in high resolutions, although without full-screen antialiasing. Like all graphics cards with NVIDIA’s new-generation GPUs, the WinFast A400 Ultra TDH supports Shader Model 3.0, which may come in handy in the future, in case the new pixel shader version becomes widespread among the game developers. The higher GPU frequency of the Leadtek card (425MHz) is of a small, although noticeable, effect.
- High performance;
- Higher GPU frequency compared to the standard GeForce 6800 Ultra;
- Efficient cooling system;
- Good accessories;
- Useful software bundle.
- Noise is audible;
- The card is heavy;
- Low 2D quality on one of the outputs.
Regrettably, NVIDIA is experiencing problems now trying to promote its new family of graphics processors in the market. Sources say this is due to a low chip yield, arguing that it is practically impossible to enable back the disabled four pipelines of the GeForce 6800. In other words, GeForce 6800 GPUs is really made of defective chips.
Although you can see new products from NVIDIA and its partners in shops, the supply is too low yet: a search through xbitlabs.dealtime.com found only three offers, which is a drop in the ocean. Pricewatch.com showed a list of a score of products, though, and the Leadtek WinFast A400 Ultra TDH was not among them. The price of the new Leadtek is expected to be about $550 and more, but you get an accelerated version of the GeForce 6800 Ultra equipped with the most efficient cooling system for that money.