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View Full Version : GeForce 6800 "Gameplay EXP" Review


Ropponmatsu
05-26-04, 10:34 PM
The local game center I work for (I wont disclose the name or location for certian reasons) recently recieved are beta 6800 card for participating in the launch partner contest sponsored by Nvidia. We've set up a special station to show off various demo's and games running on the new card.

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The specs of the system we are running are:

Athlon XP 2.4Ghz

512 RDRAM

Bioware MB (unsure of specific model)

Integrated sound on a VIA chipset

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So far some of the games we have running are:

Farcry

Battlefield: Vietnam

Call of Duty

Halo PC

Unreal Tournament 2004

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As you may know, Farcry requires quite beefy hardware just to be playable. Running Farcry 1.0 on the 6800 proved very unstable. Corrupted texture shading caused dark areas to appear pitch black, lit areas were blinding white. Frame rate was very sporadic, jumping from 40 fps to 15 every few seconds making it very difficult to play. It was not very enjoyable I must say but there is a happy ending...

Downloading the 1.1 patch caused a drastic increase in performance. Running all settings as high as possible with in-game Antistropic filtering set to maximum in 1024x768 resolution at 32bit color. Everything was rendering correctly inlcuding shadows, mapped textures, etc... the with anti-aliasing and anti-stopic filtering at maximum the game seemed to run in a much higher resolution but at constant 60+ frame rate.

Multiplayer has yet to be tested but singeplayer was very exciting, being able to experience the graphical quality and the excellent AI in Farcry is astounding, with no stutter at all. It truly is a great game, but it can only be experienced to the fullest on a GeForce 6800.

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Vietnam was the next thing tested, although the game does not contain as much eye-candy as Farcry many people can say it has just as much a performance hit as Farcry does with all settings maxed in 1024x768 at 32bit color.

With all settings on high, including sound frame rates never dropped below 30 frames. Although it did not seem like it was running so slow, the more player and vehicle models on screen at one time the lower the fps was. In urban enviroments with less foliage the frame rate's highest was 150-180.

Gameplay did not seem effected in the least even though the in-game frame rate counter said it was near 30 fps. The game looked great and still fealt like it was running great. There was no greater adrenaline rush then ducking behind a corner as bullets chipped away at the concrete inches away and hearing the ricochet and whiz of bullets in Dolby Surround Sound with mortar explosions all around.

Perhaps Vietnam could run better if we add another stick of 512 which we plan to do tomorrow.

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Call of Duty was much the same as Vietnam except the engine performance was much more stable. Running the game with all settings maxed out at 1024x768 at 32bit, the game was still running at over 100fps even in the most intense fire fights.

Playing over LAN with other players using 5600's with the same system specs as well as in-game settings gave a significant advantage.

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The Unreal Tournament 2004 engine is a vast improvement over the 2003 engine which comes with its own performance draining niches. On my home computer which uses the same specs as the demo system except a GeForce 5600 I can achieve frame rates of 30-100 depending on whats being rendered on-screen. Running 6800 allowed frame rates close to 100 constantly, never dropping below 60 ever.

Like CoD the increase in fps gave a significant advantage, there was no stuttering what-so-ever, gameplay was extremely smooth and allowed for perfect leading of projectiles.

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Halo's engine may be showing signs of obvious age but its use of bump-mapping still takes a hit on cards that use shader 2.0. On my machine in 800x600 with all settings except specular lighting on high I still could only achieve rates of 30-45 when looking at mapped textures and wide open terrain(such as Blood Gulch).

With the 6800 Halo can be ran in 1280x1024 with all settings on high and never drops below 100 fps. Note that this was running regular Halo PC, not Halo Custom Edition.
This boost in performance will hopefully increase Halo's lifespan, especially in singleplayer which seems to have the largest performance impact on current cards.

Our center has Halo on every system but not many people even touch it most likely due to its slow performance but hopefully now more people will take more interest.

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As you can see, the GeForce 6800 will set the new standard for graphics technology and hardware. ATI definetely has a run for there money with there competing card the X800.

I hope our center wins the launch partner contest so we can get 20 6800's right off the bat. But I can rightfuly say for myself that I will be putting a 6800 in my system hopefully before the end of the summer.

GlowStick
05-26-04, 10:38 PM
Nice review, good to see some gameing feedback rather than just numbers and graphics and charts.

OWA
05-26-04, 10:55 PM
Yep, nice info and thanks for sharing it.

trolane
05-27-04, 06:15 AM
all those games run perfectly smooth in higher resolutions with max settings on a 5950 ultra. i run farcry full settings, in 1280x1024 low AA and 1 AF and it gets fine fps on a 5950 ultra. So comparing the 6800 ultra to a 5600 will show great speed improvements but a 5950 ultra is still holding it's own. only reason i'm interested in upgrading at all is everquest 2.
vietnam runs in 1600x1200 just fine to on a 5950 ultra.

mikechai
05-27-04, 09:31 AM
Very nice review on actual gameplay on the 6800. Thanks. :)

Actually with only an Athlon XP 2400+, it will be CPU limited in most cases.
Therefore there won't be a huge difference at resolution below 1024x768 between 5950 and 6800.

saturnotaku
05-27-04, 09:43 AM
Very nice review on actual gameplay on the 6800. Thanks. :)

Actually with only an Athlon XP 2400+, it will be CPU limited in most cases.

According to the first post, the processor was running at 2.4 GHz, making it somewhere around 3400+ speeds. Sure it's still going to be somewhat of a bottleneck, but far less so than a 2 GHz 2400+. ;)

fivefeet8
05-27-04, 12:59 PM
I think you may have the 6800gt.. Quite impressive for a $299 card.

http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_ngca_6800launch.html

Draconis
05-27-04, 01:15 PM
I think you may have the 6800gt.. Quite impressive for a $299 card.

http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_ngca_6800launch.html
Cool I hope someone goes there and reports on the performance of the gt thats the one i plan on getting later

UclaBob
05-27-04, 02:44 PM
Good review!

Game performance is all I really care about anyway.

Bob

emailthatguy
05-27-04, 06:01 PM
With the 6800 Halo can be ran in 1280x1024 with all settings on high and never drops below 100 fps. Note that this was running regular Halo PC, not Halo Custom Edition.
This boost in performance will hopefully increase Halo's lifespan, especially in singleplayer which seems to have the largest performance impact on current cards.
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how did you bench halo's performance? using the built in timedemo or fraps?

in multi player i think using ce would be a much better tool to benchmark with as the smartshaders added add an insane amount of performance and compatibility in that engine

Lfctony
05-27-04, 06:03 PM
The 6800U looks faster every day.

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=6074

Blacklash
05-27-04, 09:01 PM
You know what would be an interesting review for the hell of it. The 6800U vs the X800XT both using their 'adaptive' filtering with rtool forcing trilinear filtering on each stage of AF for the ATI card.

Ropponmatsu
05-28-04, 12:49 AM
Yes, the card is actually a 6800 GT.

I used the in-game frame counter in Halo.

emailthatguy
05-28-04, 03:18 PM
im so buying one of these.

but to be honest, im getting a lil frustrated seeing that nv took the time to ship out 6800 cards to every website and internet cafe on the planet before they had the stock to ship to the stores. its really killing me to see some of those popping up on ebay.

(mental note, start my own review site before the next product cycle so i dont have to wait 2 months to get my video card)