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XFX GeForce 6800 GS 256MB XXX Edition (PCIe)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Zachary Chan on Friday, 9th December, 2005
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

At the beginning of each new product line from chip makers like ATI or NVIDIA, there is almost always a homogeneous look to all the graphics cards across manufacturers. From their appearances to their performance, every other card is practically a clone of the reference card except for superficial customizations like logos and bundled software/accessories. In this fast-paced market, manufacturers are forced to rely on the reference design, restricting themselves to testing and feedback for the sake of being able to be the earliest to market. Any innovation that follows usually occur later in the product life-cycle, when manufacturers have had sufficient time to test their own innovations. How is any such vendor going to distinguish itself from the countless others in the market?

The tried and true answers: building up a distinct branding, price competition or catering to a select but profitable niche market. These are but some of the common strategies used in the industry. Motherboards vendors for example, face the same dilemma and companies like ABIT concentrate heavily on the enthusiast segment with more adventurous products. For graphics, we find parallels in HIS and BFG, which offer overclocked versions out of the box. XFX is another vendor that has taken this path, with almost all their products overclocked by default. This strategy has put it firmly into the enthusiast camp. Today, we shall examine their newest product based on the recently introduced GeForce 6800 GS, the XFX GeForce 6800 GS 256MB XXX Edition.

With such a mouthful of a name, the XFX GeForce 6800 GS 256MB XXX Edition is the ultimate version of the GeForce 6800 GS. The XXX logo on the box reminds us of a certain Hollywood movie but we are more concerned with what is inside the X-shaped package. To avoid over-using the name, we will henceforth refer to this card simply as 'XXX Edition' throughout this article. XFX also has a less powerful version of the GeForce 6800 GS known as the Extreme Edition, so try not to be confused between the two when shopping. They are both overclocked, but the XXX Edition is the most powerful in the family. Here then is a glimpse of its distinctive packaging and the technical specifications:

XFX graphics cards are typically overclocked to give that xtra edge over the competition.

XFX GeForce 6800 GS 256MB XXX Edition Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GPU
    • Stock 3D GPU clock = 485MHz
    • Stock 2D GPU clock = 350MHz
    • 12 pixel rendering pipelines
    • 5 vertex pipelines (geometry engines)
    • 256-bit DDR memory controller
  • CineFX 3.0 Shading Engine
    • Vertex Shaders
      • Support for DX 9.0 Vertex Shader 3.0
      • Displacement Mapping
      • Vertex Frequency Stream Divider (Geometry Instancing)
      • Infinite length vertex programs (supported in hardware)
    • Pixel Shaders
      • Support for DX 9.0 Pixel Shader 3.0
      • Full pixel branching support
      • Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
      • Infinite length pixel programs (supported in hardware)
    • Texturing Engine Features
      • Up to 16 textures per rendering pass
      • Support  for 16-bit and 32-bit floating point formats
      • Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures
      • DirectX and S3TC texture compression
    • Full 128-bit FP Precision Graphics Pipeline
      • Native support for 32 / 64 / 128 bits per pixel rendering modes
  • UltraShadow II Technology (accelerates shadow computations)
  • Intellisample 3.0 Technology
    • 16x Anisotropic Filtering
    • Adaptive Texture Filtering
    • Rotated Grid Antialiasing
    • Fast antialiasing and compression performance
    • Loss-less Color, Texture and Z-Data Compression algorithms (in real time)
    • Fast Z-clear
    • High-resolution Compression Technology (HCT) increases performance at high resolutions.
  • Advanced Video and Display Functionality
    • Dedicated on-chip video processor
      • MPEG video encode and decode
      • WMV9 decode acceleration
      • Advanced adaptive de-interlacing
      • High quality video scaling and filtering
    • Integrated NTSC/PAL TV encoder support resolutions up to 1024x768 with built-in Macrovision copy protection
    • DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
    • Dual 400MHz RAMDACs that support resolutions of 2048x1536@85Hz
    • Dual DVO ports for interfacing external TMDS transmitters and external TV/HDTV encoder
    • Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR)
    • nView Multi-display Technology
  • Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0
  • NVIDIA High-Precision Dynamic-Range (HPDR) Technology
  • Advanced thermal monitoring and thermal management
Graphics Memory
  • 256MB Graphic DDR SDRAM
  • Default memory clock = 550MHz (1100MHz DDR)
  • 256-bit memory interface
RAMDAC
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs that support resolutions of 2048x1536@85Hz
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI 1.0 compliant and HDCP ready)
Connectors
  • 1 x analog VGA connector
  • 1 x DVI-I connector
  • 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN connector
Drivers & Software
  • Driver support for Windows  98 / Me / 2000 / XP
  • FarCry
Other Information
  • 16-lane PCI Express expansion slot required
  • PCIe Molex power connector required

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