There is no denying that both of these cards are extremely fast. The question we are wondering though is which one is faster; in all honesty it would have to be the GeForce 6800 Ultra as it comes out in front of most of the benchmarks. This said you have to remember that we are comparing nVidia's top card against ATI's second top card. We are expecting an array of X800 XTs to hit our labs here over the coming weeks so we will be sure to have a look at the performance of these cards over the X800 Pro and 6800 Ultra as soon as we can.
ATI have done an excellent job with the X800 Pro but there is no denying that it is more of a 9800XT on steroids - not really a bad thing as they have got a great driver set happening at the moment and the increases in performance is extremely welcomed. We are finally not only able to play games like Far Cry in high resolution but also with AA and AF on which is always a nice change, no one is going to complain about extra performance.
The 6800 Ultra on the other hand is a whole reworking of their FX line of GPUs. There is no denying that the FX line of cards (especially the 5800 and 5900) hurt nVidia at launch, we know it and they know it but we feel that they have pulled their head out of the sand and worked extremely hard on their latest line of graphics cards. We feel the lessons nVidia learned from the FX 5800 and 5900 cards has helped them get in the position they are today with the GeForce 6800 Ultra. There are still no official drivers for the 6800 Ultra on the nVidia website. It will be interesting to see when they finally do release their first set of official drivers, if there is a performance increase. nVidia have told us multiple times in conference calls to expect performance increases with each new driver - only time will tell.
We can't really say just how good the performance of the 6800 Ultra is until we get our hands on an X800 XT but there is no denying that the battle is extremely heated behind ATI and nVidia again, which is fantastic.
The next 6 months is going to bring interesting driver releases and more graphics cards to the market with the release of the PCI Express. Not only that we are going to see MXM the birth of upgradeable notebook graphics. We have got an exciting year ahead of us with graphics cards - let's see what comes on our plate next.
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