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There have been a lot of rumours recently about a new 512mb Nvidia part being launched at the beginning of November…what there haven’t been though are numerous rumours of a new mainstream product from the guys in California. So with that in mind you would be forgiven for visiting the site today to be presented with a review of one such part. That’s right, Nvidia have chosen today to launch their newest mainstream part in the form of the Geforce 6800GS 256mb. So what’s the main competitor for this new part? Well its no less than ATIs new X1600XT 256 which we haven’t reviewed yet…so what better reason to take a first look at that now…

The 6800 GS

So what exactly is the 6800GS? Well obviously it’s based on the same core as the other 6800 models (NV45). The reference clocks for the card are set to 425mhz core and 500mhz memory (1000mhz data rate). Comparing this to the 6800GT and Ultra we see that the GS is actually clocked higher (as far as the reference cores go) and the memory is the same as the GT, however 100mhz lower than the Ultra.

Where the card configuration does differ though is the pipeline configuration. Where as the GT and Ultra are 16 pipelines with 6 vertex units the GS is 12 pipelines with 5 vertex units. The core is a 110 nanometer chip (as with the other 6800 parts) and we have 256mb of GDDR3 memory on this card connected to a 256bit memory bus.

As this is a 6800 part we have all the usual features present here such as Shader Model 3.0 (and HDR) support. The card also fully supports Nvidia's PureVideo technology for great video out quality including the HD 780p and 1080i formats.

The Card (GS)

The 6800GS is shown above, as you can see the card is very similar in design to the other 6800 models. A single slot cooler is all that is required and this cools both memory and core. The card runs incredibly cool which is something we were not expecting, usually when we remove cards from our test rig they are hot to touch however even after a long testing session the GS was still only lukewarm.

Also noticeable in the picture above is the power connector required for the card to operate. Power consumption of the card is 70w which results in the addition of this connector where as the reference 12 pipe 6800 does not need it.

The output connectors on the card are one area where we are slightly disappointed with the reference design as this card comes with 1 analogue VGA out and 1 digital out. We would have loved to see two Digital outputs.

The rear of the card features no major components, however what you can see is the SLI connector, yes, the 6800GS is fully SLI compliant which could make it a very attractive purchase.

Next: X1600


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