AOpen Aeolus 6800 Ultra

So let’s look at some results. Needless to say the AOpen was very fast indeed, but at default speeds it was a little slower than the Leadtek at almost every test, which you would expect, seeing as its core clock is running 25MHz slower. However, the fact is that while the AOpen is behind in all tests bar Halo, the graphs show that the gap is consistently very small.

Take 3DMark03 at the default resolution of 1,024 x 768 – the difference is only 357 points. Then there’s X2: The Threat where the AOpen runs the Leadtek practically neck and neck across all test resolutions and image quality (IQ) settings. And with IQ switched on, the same was true in our custom Far Cry benchmark.

We’re also now able to test with Doom3 – a game that pushes graphics card like no title ever before. The built-in time demo doesn’t stress AI and physics but it’s a fantastic test for graphics cards and the quality of OpenGL drivers. All tests are run at High Quality, a setting that enables 8x AF by default.

Moving straight to the most demanding test, the AOpen was able to achieve 40 frames per second (fps) at 1,600 x 1,200 with 4x FSAA - only 1.2fps less than the Leadtek.

The great news is that the AOpen also proved very amenable to some overclocking. Despite its reference standard design we were able to take the GPU up to 425MHz and the memory to 1,200MHz. Any higher and we saw artefacts while testing. Once overclocked the AOpen was actually able to overtake the Leadtek in some tests hitting 43.2fps at Doom3 with FSAA and AF at 1,600 x 1,200. However when overclocked the Leadtek pulled ahead again.

Considering the price difference and its overclockability the AOpen looks a more attractive option. The disadvantage is that there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a card that can overclock to the levels we reached, though by the same token you could get a board that will go even higher. However, even if you can’t overclock the AOpen, it’s so narrowly behind the Leadtek that of the two, it’s the card we’d go for. And we’d spend the difference on a copy of Doom3.

Verdict

All 6800 Ultra cards are very expensive and in terms of value for money a 6800 GT card is the sensible option. However, if you want the best and money is no object, then a 6800 Ultra is an attractive option. But at the same time, there’s no need to throw money around. If you want top-end power without being overly extravagant, the AOpen would be our choice.

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