Since the end of August, ATI has been shipping several 'dead-die' SKUs (stock keeping units) in an attempt to clear out as much of its remaining R420-based inventory as possible. These included the likes of Radeon X800GT, Radeon X800GTO and Radeon X800GTO².
NVIDIA is also doing the same, in an attempt to sell off as many of its remaining NV40-based inventory before it unleashes its new mid-range part, which is expected to be known as GeForce 7600 series. At the moment, there is little known about GeForce 7600 series, other than it's expected to be based on the company's 90-nanometre G73 chip.
At the start of November, NVIDIA launched GeForce 6800 GS to a wave of good press. We liked the product a lot and the price was pretty competitive too. The standard GeForce 6800 GS is clocked at 425/1000MHz, and delivers performance that's very similar to the GeForce 6800 GT. In fact, there were very few tests where we had to throttle back the in game settings when switching between GeForce 6800 GT and GeForce 6800 GS.
A couple of NVIDIA board partners decided to sell pre-overclocked GeForce 6800 GSs in an attempt to offer even more value for the consumer at this particular price point. Today, we're going to be evaluating the real-world gaming experience delivered by Leadtek's 'Extreme' GeForce 6800 GS video card that comes clocked at 485/1100MHz. This is quite a healthy increase over the default 6800 GS clockspeeds, and should provide an interesting level performance at this price point.
The card looks just like the reference GeForce 6800 GS, with the same copper cooler and board layout. Leadtek has included a glossy black heatsink cover that looks pretty cool. It'd be good to see a black PCB at some point too - that'd give this card an air of coolness about it. The copper cooler is held on the GPU with spring-loaded screws - these are held in place by the plastic retention bracket on the back. The heatsink fan is reasonably quiet in operation and stays cool. Subjectively, it was no louder than the cooler on a GeForce 7800 GT.
The back plate has DVI, VGA and HDTV-Out connectors, allowing for a wide range of connectivity options. It's a shame that Leadtek hasn't implemented dual DVI ports on this card - we were hoping that some of NVIDIA's board partners would stray from the reference design a little by including two DVI ports. We've seen a few 6800 GS cards now and unfortunately, none of them seem to stray from the DVI-VGA combination.
The bundle includes an RGB YPbPr connector, a 6-pin PCI-Express power adapter and a DVI-to-VGA convertor. There are also a few CDs included, along with the user manuals. One CD contains the drivers and other software, including Leadtek's WinFox utility. The second application CD contains PowerDVD 6 and Muvee version 3. Finally, there are two games on DVD - Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within.