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BFG Technologies GeForce 6800 Ultra OC Review - Page 6 of 6

CONCLUSION
It's obvious that NVIDIA has come through with a very impressive product line in the NV40 family. As gamers, we all expect this and as hardcore gamers we want the best of the best, period. The BFG 6800 Ultra OC offers everything a hardcore gamer would want in build quality, performance, stability and headroom to overclock even more. The 6800GT is a very viable option for all but the most serious of gamers in that most GT owners are coming close to reaching 6800 Ultra reference design speeds or better. BFG gives their 6800 Ultra a bit of a core boost but the memory is where a serious gamer has some nice headroom to get even more bandwidth. The dual DVI outputs are exclusive to the 6800 Ultra as well.

NOISE
Noise was an issue with NVIDIA's last generation and I'm happy to report that it no longer is, to me. Ah yes, another subjective issue. The vast majority of users are, however, sharing my sentiment as the 6800 Ultra can barely be heard over a typical system's PSU and case fans. The X800XT PE is quieter, but the difference is not substantial as it was in the past.

TEMPERATURE
Regarding temperature, the 6800 Ultra is not as hot-running as the last generation and I usually saw temperatures around 47C during idle. 54C during the 3DCenter UT2K4 Primeval timedemo and between 61C~64C in various Far Cry timedemos. Please check out this post in our forums for more details and screenshots of the temperature readings.

POWER REQUIREMENTS
Power requirements were very much a topic at one time. NVIDIA recently lowered their official requirements to a 350W PSU but BFG still maintains a 480W PSU requirement. As with any component in your system, you get what you pay for so if you have a generic power supply you should consider that. You should look for ~18A or more on the 12V rail. Of course, if you're buying a $500 video card then what business would you have owning a feeble, generic PSU in the first place?

OVERALL
My overall impression of the BFG 6800 Ultra OC is that it is what gamers would expect it to be. It is as fast (or faster) than the ATI X800XT PE but usually by thin margins. In some cases the 6800 Ultra's core limits its performance at 1600x1200 4xAA/16xAF with the ATI X800XT PE pulling ahead, for now at least. The two cards are essentially in a dead heat. Something to consider, however, is that ATI's Catalyst 4.7 drivers are official and NVIDIA's last official drivers are still version 56.72 dated April 1, 2004. So, we're likely working with drivers that have yet to even fully expose the full potential of the 6800 product line. With Doom 3 having officially now gone gold, one might start putting two and two together early next month.

SHADER MODEL 3.0
I didn't comment a great deal on Shader Model 3.0 (SM3.0) support that NVIDIA embraced with the NV40 family. I do think it is worth emphasizing that SM3.0 support is proving itself. We're still very early in the grand scheme of things but seeing framerate improvements approaching 30% in a game like Far Cry is enough to quiet the naysayers from a few months back. Keep in mind that Far Cry was not designed from the ground up to be a SM3.0 supporting title. This is a patch we're talking about here. One can only imagine how a game that has SM3.0 support from day one will perform.

ATI will eventually move to SM3.0 supporting hardware with their next generation. In the meantime they're doing their best to come up with alternative methods to achieve what SM3.0 already offers. What I find to be rather exciting is the potential that the NV40 series still contains while the ATI R420 is basically a refresh of the R300.

Here is a list of just some of the games coming out soon (or already are) that will support SM3.0 either natively or with a patch:

  • Lord of the Rings, Battle For Middle-earth
  • STALKER: Shadows of Chernobyl
  • Vampire: Bloodlines
  • Splinter Cell X
  • Tiger Woods 2005
  • Madden 2005
  • Painkiller
  • Far Cry

And we haven't even seen the next patch (1.3) for Far Cry that will tap into the vast improvements in lighting, displacement mapping, etc.

Although the BFG 6800 Ultra OC is the NVIDIA reference design at heart, it stands out from the crowd when it comes to BFG's true lifetime warranty, 24/7 phone support and highly praised customer service department. All are very nice things to have on your side with a piece of equipment that costs $500USD. Speaking of nice things to have, this card will be very nice to have around August 3rd, 2004.

PROS

  • Factory overclocked
  • Good headroom for additional overclocking
  • Dual DVI :)
  • True lifetime warranty
  • 24/7 free technical support
  • Quieter than previous generation
  • Improved temperatures
  • PSU requirements aren't "sky is falling" per some early claims
  • Excellent build quality
  • Excellent stability even at higher overclocks
  • Size, it's big and heavy ;)
  • Comes with high quality thermal compound applied to core (brand not yet confirmed)
  • Runs cooler than expected thanks to quality thermal compound on core.

CONS

  • Price
  • Slightly louder than an ATI X800XT PE
  • No video in
  • Size, it's big and heavy
  • Some minor bandwidth limitations at 1600x1200 and 4xAA

Feel free to ask any questions or post any comments in this thread of our forums regarding this review.

A big thanks goes out to BFG Technologies for giving us the opportunity to review the GeForce 6800 Ultra OC. I'd also like to thank ChrisRay for his insights and also to forum member Riptide for his time in helping me test a few things. Oh, I and I can't forget MUYA because well, he's MUYA and he's always a big help. :)

 

CHANGE LOG

  • July 15, 2004 - Added link to thread in our forums for any further questions/discussion regarding this review.
  • July 15, 2004 - Corrected a dead link (second "dock" IQ full size image link) on page 5.
  • July 16, 2004 - Rephrased temperature statement on this page to be more specific and link to examples of mini-investigation I made in our forums.
  • July 16, 2004 - Added section header formatting to this page (page6.shtml).
  • July 16, 2004 - Updated "PROS" list with mention of card running cooler than expected.


Back to nV News

Last Updated on July 16, 2004


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