Review By Kalyan Rai - December 13, 2004 Edited By Ed Piotrowski
The Leadtek A400 Ultra TDH and this package is probably one of the better ones in the market. The pricing seems to be in-line with the competition, but the bundle is probably one of the best I have seen. For your money you will get with the package, full versions of Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (being the picks of the bunch), along with Gun Metal and Big Mutha Truckas included. That is at least $60 saved if you count the picks only.
The construction quality of the card is superb in terms of Leadtek's adaptation a non-reference cooling solution. The "Air Surround" may be clumsy looking, but it does its job superbly and quietly. It is so quiet it cannot be heard over my CPU. It may indeed run around the 28 dB mark, but I do not have any equipment to verify this. Perhaps as a result of the adaptation of "Air Surround", the temperatures of the GeForce 6800 Ultra GPU tends to run a bit on the higher side, I have noted the GPU reaches up to 75 degrees Celsius when under load. This is however, well within NVIDIA's set limits
A Solid Package
The only problem I can find with "Air Surround" is the air intake filter. It is nice to see a manufacturer taking the effort to make their cards a little different than the standard reference design. After 3 months, however, I have realized that the air filter can get clogged with dust. That's probably the only gripe I have about the Leadtek A400 Ultra TDH. Sure, it takes up the PCI slot next to the AGP connector but, I am not a PCI peripheral collector and have four other PCI slots to use should the need arise.
The card also comes with dual DVI outputs, which should please those that would want to delve into multi-monitor setups. This can be achieved with two LCDs or even two CRTs with standard inputs as Leadtek includes a pair of DVI to analog connectors.
All tested games run superbly with this graphics card. The GeForce 6800 Ultra GPU is what makes this all possible. The four quad processing GPU is a powerful beast indeed, and when paired with memory modules running at 1.1 GHz, allows for gaming at 1280 x 1024 with at least 4x anti-aliasing and 8x anisotropic filtering enabled. To that, add newer titles which will support Shader Model 3.0 and high dynamic range rendering effects. These extra pieces of eye candy make this card even more appealing.
Other games I play, (and haven't included in this review because of a lack of benchmarking facility) including: Colin McRae Rally 4, Painkiller, Dawn of War and FIFA Soccer 2005 all play beautifully. They suffer no loss of playability with all visual goodies enabled. This is a video card, if you have the cash to spend, that I can more than recommend to anyone.