TweetIntroducing the GeForce 6800 The graphics core itself is build upon a 0.13 Micron Process technology that is fabricated at IBM. As rumors suggested the 6800 indeed has a lot of transistors. I personally didn't count them but NVIDIA states that there are 222 Million transistors, now imagine all that on a 40mm x 40mm FlipChip GPU running 350 MHz. And in case you are wondering yes... the transistor count is actually higher than a Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. Since we are on the topic of the core, there are 6 vertex units inside it. One of the biggest advantages of the Series 6 is of course the increased number of pixel pipelines. The more the faster, is the general consensus.
Let me explain briefly what happens in the pipeline for you to understand its importance, each pixel that is rendered on your screen goes through a pipe where it'll receive its complex color/effect etc. Each time that pixel is altered it'll pass through the pixel pipeline, one pass is one clock cycle. You can imagine going from 8 towards 12 or 16 pipes can bring you a dramatic performance increase. I have to note here that these are not theoretical pipelines as rumored by some websites prior to the product announcements. They are scalable though, each pipe is available at any time in sets of 4. Where NV35 was stereotyped as 4x2/8x0 architecture, the NV40 is 16x1/32x0 or in the case of the standard 6800 1x12.
The silicon itself is of course PCI-Express ready yet the one we are talking about today is running steady on AGP 8x. PCI-Express has double the bandwidth of AGP8x and another plus; it allows data to be sent in both directions. We have a GeForce 6800 GT AGP8x versus PCI-Express article right here.
Board Design Back in March at CeBIT, I was told by an NVIDIA representative that the GPU can actually handle AGP 16x internally at core level... now think about PCI-Express again. The 6800 Ultra is equipped with the latest available in affordable, yet really fast, DDR memory. On the 6800 Ultra it is running at 1.2 GHz (2x600 MHz), the GT is running at 1 GHz (2x500 MHz) and the standard 6800 has a core of 325 MHz and 700 MHz (2x350 MHz) memory frequency.
Due to the nice cooling solution the Galaxy Zeus 6800 is clocked 25 MHz higher on the core as standard already, thus 350 MHz. It's actually the same cooler being used as HiS on their Radeon x800 Pro/XT series. It's by far the most effective and silent solution on the market available to the consumer. And hey, I like this cooling so much as it exhausts heat from the graphics card outside your PC.
Taking a closer look at the board, we can tell that Galaxy used the standard reference design P212 PCB, so don't expect miracles in tweaking thanks to board design. But, the graphics core is cooled with that fantastic cooling solution. And everything has been taken care off.
Let's talk a little about that cooling solution, which Galaxy calls the icy-blue cooling fan, their COOL and QUIET solution. The cooling solution itself of course comes from Artic cooling, that's not exactly a secret.
The cooling system uses the air inside your PC case and exhausts warm air outside the case, this is a huge plus as the 6800 and X800 series gets quite hot. If you get a reference design 6800 with stock cooling then you better be sure that your PC is cooled sufficiently as all that heat will warm up the ambient temperature of your PC's inside and the other components will warm up as a result. The Artic cooling technology will help prevent this as it will bring you an 11-15 °C lower cooling temperature compared to standard reference cooling solution. When measuring the temperature at the back of the card on the GPU spot we indeed remained at 50 Degrees C at 100% GPU utilization, which is very good for a card of this caliber.
Next to that I truly have to compliment the noise level. Why? Well you just won't hear the bloody thing, not even a soft pur. The HD's in your system make a lot more noise then the cooling does. This is partly due to an additional function which simple adjusts rotational fan speed higher or lower depending on the GPU temperature. In guru wording, it's just a smart fan monitored by a thermal sensor :)
Also the memory has been equipped with a large ramsinks, everything is thought through quite well.
Since we are on the topic of memory, it's Hynix 256-bit DDR1 memory rated at 2.2ns, meaning it can go WAY higher then the default clock. Overclocked we should be able to sustain roughly 850 MHz.
To tidy things up a bit I've made a little overview
12 pipeline GPU architecture (16 on 6800 GT & Ultra).
Up-to 8x more shading performance compared to the previous generation
CineFX 3.0 engine - Yes indeed... DirectX Shaders model 3.0 for really nice visual effects
On Chip Video processor.
DDR1 memory on a 256-bit Memory interface @ 700 MHz
UltraShadow II technology - Very well then...3x to 4x faster than NV35
High Precision Dynamic Range (HPDR) technology - we'll discuss this later in the article
128-studio precision through the entire pipeline - 32-bit Color precision; this time with nice performance.
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