Albatron GeForce 6800GT Videocard Review
GeForce 6800 GPU is a powerful chip, as are videocards based on it like the Albatron Geforce
6800GT. The 'NV40' GPU is the backbone of the 6800-series, and comes in a couple
flavours; 6800 (12 pipe lines), 6800GT (16 rendering pipelines, 350MHz
core), 6800 Ultra (16 rendering pipelines, 400MHz core), and the as of yet
unavailable 6800 Ultra Extreme Edition (16 rendering pipelines, 450MHz core).
With so many differently clocked
6800 models to choose from, consumers have a couple of routes to follow. They
can shop on price points alone, or shop smart and overclock for a little
after-the-fact performance upgrade. :)
example, the Albatron GeForce 6800GT is not quite as fast 6800 Ultra
version, but with its core running at
350MHz it is still plenty powerful, and a heck of a lot
less expensive than a 6800 Ultra. It's also safe to assume that the 6800GT is overclockable to
Geforce 6800 Ultra levels (400MHz core), and in fact in our own round of testing
we were able to push this card as fast as 433MHz!
The particular review unit Albatron sent in is
green in colour, but retail videocards will be the typical Albatron shade of blue.
Those of you with lots of PCI cards will be pleased to know that the Albatron
6800GT is a single slot solution, unlike some past high-end nVidia cards which used large
heatsinks that spilled over into adjacent slots. The card itself is literally based
on the nVidia reference PCB design, both with respect to card tested here, and
the retail version.
Your probably already aware
that the high end GeForce 6800 Ultra's have two additional power connectors.
The Albatron 6800GT only requires one extra molex power connector, even though a second position is silk
screened on the PCB. The reason for this boils down to the fact that the 6800GT
and 6800 Ultra share the same PCB.
Experienced computer enthusiasts know
that MOSFETs can generate a lot of heat. The Albatron 6800GT addresses
this cooling concern with a small passive heatsink positioned so that exhaust air from the main cooler
blows over its fins. During testing they did get quite toasty and I surely
appreciate the extra work Albatron has done.
Acoustically, the cooling solution on the Albatron 6800GT
is near silent. During the benchmarks, the GPU fan could not be heard, even
though the system was laying out in the open less than a meter from me.
Of course with such a quiet solution, core
temperatures were a little on the high side for my taste. If I remember
correctly, a highly overclocked GeForce 5950 Ultra idles around 35 degrees
celsius - the Albatron 6800GT idles around 50 degrees at stock!
Whether those numbers are accurate or not is
anyone's guess, but I think it is safe to say that good airflow in the case
should be maintained.
Along with the card, Albatron has included some nice long
SVideo and coaxial cables. They're long enough for one to attach to the TV yet still
have enough slack to hide the computer behind a table. On the down
side, the 6800GT package does not include a DVI-to-analog converter. The
package is also a bit thin.... but I guess the saving grace is that
the 6800GT is pretty competitively priced at just over $430 USD. In the future though, I hope
Albatron do take some steps to improve their software packages to match those offered
by other manufacturers.