eVGA e-GeForce 6800 Ultra AGP

eVGA e-GeForce 6800 Ultra AGP

eVGA_videocard copy.jpgA plain exterior hides ultra-fast performance

The eVGA e-GeForce 6800 Ultra AGP may look like a standard nVidia reference design, but its plain exterior belies a lightning-fast GPU. Once we got past the goofy image silk-screened on the card’s fan (a bug-hunting entomologist you may have seen in nVidia’s tech demo), we were pleased to discover that this nVidia-based board delivers where it counts.

The key to the eVGA’s power is the NV40 core running at 400MHz paired with 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM running at 550MHz. This GPU purred through all of our benchmarks with nary a problem—posting scores even higher than the Leadtek GeForce 6800 Ultra we reviewed last month, all thanks to nVidia’s 61.77 driver revision.

It’s worth mentioning again that nVidia was able to lower the power supply requirements for the GeForce 6800 Ultra boards from a whopping 480W to a more reasonable 380W. To us, this seemed too good to be true, so we did extensive testing, and managed to get the eVGA board to work with an ancient PC Power and Cooling Silencer 275W power supply. It’s still critical that you connect the two power leads on the GeForce 6800 Ultra boards to separate power leads, though. We experienced stability problems on two of our test systems when we used two leads that were daisy-chained off of the same line.

It seems that nVidia’s reference cooler design—which the eVGA board uses—is quieter than the custom rig that the Leadtek 6800 Ultra board used. However, we were not able to overclock the eVGA board as much as we could Leadtek’s board. We could only ratchet the eVGA GPU to 420MHz. Also, beware: The eVGA card’s two-slot cooler does not fit in most small formfactor cases.

The e-GeForce 6800 Ultra really shines when you look at its performance in our standard suite of benchmarks. It cranked out the highest score we’ve ever seen in 3DMark 2003 on our zero-point test beds: 12,557. It also excelled in Doom 3 with a very respectable 83.2fps in the demo1 benchmark. These are the fastest numbers we’ve recorded from a 6800 Ultra board to date, but when benchmarked with the same nVidia drivers, the Leadtek board we reviewed last month posted similar scores. This means that, other than the custom cooler on the Leadtek board, there’s absolutely no difference between the eVGA and Leadtek boards. --Will Smith

+ XGA: Fastest videocard we’ve tested. Quiet cooling solution.

- CGA: Two-slot cooling solution prevents use in small formfactor boxes.

Month Reviewed: October 2004
Verdict: 9
URL: www.evga.com

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