SLI Widescreen Gaming and Overclocking
What good is top of the line hardware if you canít push it further than anyone else? It wasnít too long ago that 1600x1200 was the absolute highest resolution anyone could imagine using to game. After all, most video cards still keel over when you add anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering to such a high-end workload. Not the 6800 Ultra, though. We hooked a handful of cards up to our Dell 2405FPW wide-aspect LCD display and fired up Half-Life 2 and Far Cry at 1920x1200. Doom 3 was on the list too, but it topped out at 1600x1200, unfortunately.
When you first look at the Half-Life 2 scores it almost seems like thereís a problem with the driver since performance dips when you add a second card. However, the results with 4xAA and 8xAF reveal that SLI actually does make a difference once you apply a heavy enough load. At 1980x1200, thatís a 21 percent boost. The only real bummer is that the 512MB cards score almost exactly on par with the 256MB models.
Far Cry yields more of the same, except the jump is a staggering 63 percent improvement when you add SLI to the mix, making 1920x1200 with 4xAA and 8xAF a perfectly playable setting. Itís again unfortunate to see no gains from the extra memory, though.
Although BFG ships the GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics processor at an accelerated 425 MHz, itís forced to relax the memory bus frequency somewhat due to the load of 512MB. The goal in overclocking was to overcome that 50 MHz drop to 1,050 MHz at the very least.
It was a pleasant surprise, then, that the board scaled right up to 470/1150 without any sign of instability in SLI mode, yielding 85.64 frames per second in Half-Life 2 at 1600x1200 with 4xAA and 8xAF (at stock speeds, the card scores 81.21 frames). Doom 3 tops out at 75.9 frames, a minor jump compared to 75.2 for default settings.