Inside the box you find an S-Video cable, which is perhaps a little on the short side, an S-Video to composite converter and a composite lead – useful if your TV doesn’t have an S-Video input.
The PCI Express card requires you to plug in a six-pin PCI Express power connector and you won’t have one of these unless you own a very up to date power supply. Leadtek therefore, has supplied an adaptor for hooking up two Molex connectors.
Next up is the game bundle – again this is quite impressive, with Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within both great and still current games – which is unusual for a game bundle. Also included is WinDVD 5.0, WinFast PVR, WinFox II and Muvee AutoProducer 3.5, which is actually a fun little video producing program.
The only thing left then is to look at the performance of the card. Unfortunately we can’t compare the scores directly with the X850 XT Platinum Edition we reviewed here as for technical reasons we weren’t able to use the same CPU. We are currently in the process of building a new graphics card testbed machine, which will remain constant for as long as is feasible, enabling easier comparisons to be made.
As you can see from the graphs the performance was impressive for an architecture that is coming up to be a year old. In Half-Life 2, benchmarking quirks can explain the fact that it’s slightly faster at 1,600 x 1,200 with FSAA and AF enabled than it is without. At this resolution the score of 43.2 is borderline for a smooth frame-rate and it’s the same in Doom 3 – you don’t really won’t to go below 30fps.
The graphs also shows the heavy effect that enabling both 4x FSAA and AF has at high resolution. But then this is where SLI comes in. One card can let you run at high resolutions but it you want to keep the images both smooth and well defined you will need to go down the SLI route to gain that extra horsepower.
Ultimately, a card like this only really makes sense if you are planning on SLI. £355 is a lot of money and at £89 more than Leadtek’s 6800 GT, and even though it’s a strong retail package it doesn’t really justify itself in the value stakes.
The other issue is that as a stepping stone to SLI performance it’s an expensive way to go, as there are cheaper 6800 Ultra cards out there. However, if you’ve bought one and plan to add a second later you might well want to keep to the same make of card in order to maintain the thermal properties of the system by having the same heatsink and fan on both cards. Alternatively, you could just get a cheaper card and flash the BIOS to be reference cards enabling both will work together.
For those after a high end SLiI capable grahics card, the 6800GT offers a far great price/performance ratio. But for those that can afford it, availability is such that you can now build an SLi system using nVidia’s ultimate card. At the price it’s hardly value for money but probably if you buy two, or even one of these, you’re probably too minted to be bothered.