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Chaintech AE6800 Apogee (GeForce 6800 PCIe 256MB)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Tuesday, 2nd August, 2005
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  

Pick Me!

NVIDIA launched its GeForce 6 series using the NV40 graphics processor (GPU) around April last year. Such is the fast pace of progress in 3D graphics technology that this seemed like a lifetime ago. After all, only slightly more than a year later and already, the successor to the GeForce 6 series – the imaginatively named GeForce 7 - is widely available in retail stores.

In that timeframe, the mid-range GeForce 6600 GT turned out to be extremely popular, both with enthusiasts and mainstream buyers. Most people have a certain budget to spend on their graphics cards and the US$299 GeForce 6600 GT seemed to hit the sweet spot between price and performance. Although both NVIDIA and ATI have a product for almost any price range, having too many similar-sounding models could end up confusing those who do not keep in touch with the graphics scene. Hence, many informal recommendations simplify the myriad and confusing range from NVIDIA to a simple mantra: fastest card – GeForce 6800 Ultra, mid-range value for money – GeForce 6600 GT and so on; you get the idea.

Of course, these recommendations are just a rough gauge then and by now, not very accurate either. However the point is that some models slip under the radar and are largely ignored due to improper pricing or more attractive alternatives. NVIDIA's GeForce 6800 is a possible candidate for this category of 'forgotten' cards. When it debuted, the GeForce 6800 was a crippled GeForce 6800 Ultra, with 4 pipelines disabled and despite its 256-bit memory bus, came with only 128MB of DDR1 memory. Its performance fell in between a GeForce 6600 GT and a GeForce 6800 GT, but it was closer to the former rather than the latter. Not to mention a chunky US$100 more than the GeForce 6600 GT. No surprise that the GeForce 6600 GT ended up cannibalizing the sales of the GeForce 6800. Consumer's decisions aren't the only reason for this, as many graphics card vendors didn't really push the GeForce 6800 lineup in retail, although everybody had one to show on their catalog.

Things have changed somewhat though. NVIDIA has revised the GeForce 6800 with a pure PCI Express version that supports up to 256MB of memory. Meanwhile, the launch of the GeForce 7800 GTX has exerted downwards pressure on all the older NVIDIA cards, the GeForce 6800 included. Would the cheaper and rejuvenated GeForce 6800 be a good alternative to the GeForce 6600 GT? Has it been underrated so far? Today we examine this question by scrutinizing a souped up GeForce 6800 from Chaintech, the AE6800 Apogee.

Does size matter? Chaintech seems to think so with its XXXL-sized packaging.

Chaintech AE6800 Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GPU
    • Stock 3D GPU clock = 360MHz
    • 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 = 330MHz (660MHz DDR)
  • 256-bit memory interface
  • 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)
  • 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
  • InterVideo WinCinema (including WinDVD 5.0, WinDVD Creator 2, WinRip 2.1)
  • Home Theater 2.1 lite
  • DVD Copy 2 lite
  • Adobe Photoshop Album 1.0
  • Painkiller (full game)
  • Game Demos CD (5-in-1)
Other Information
  • 16-lane PCI Express expansion slot required
  • Requires two expansion slots

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