Gigabyte releases 512 MByte, dual-chip graphics card

Taipei - Gigabyte is shipping its third dual-chip graphics card. The new 3D1-68GT is based on two GeForce 6800 GT chips and will come close to the performance of two GeForce 6800 Ultra cards in SLI mode, according to Gigabyte.

Continuing its strategy to offer SLI technology integrated into one device, Gigabyte today launched yet another dual-chip graphics card. The 3D1-68GT is the firm's first product in the series that offers a total of 512 MByte GDDR3 memory (2 x 256 MByte) and is based on the 6800 GT graphics chip.

Gigabyte's 3D1 series limits the user in future graphics upgrade opportunities and therefore remains mainly a laudable approach to bring innovation into the graphics industry, at least as long as Gigabyte does not offer its 2xSLI motherboard announced in May. According to a press release, the company is especially proud of this unique selling point as it "differentiates Gigabyte from other VGA card suppliers."

The 3D1-68GT promises a performance that will be slightly below a BFG GeForce 6800 Ultra card Tom's Hardware Guide recently reviewed. The 3DMark03 score is expected to be about 20,400 and 3DMark05 is estimated to come in at about 9500. The BFG SLI devices posted about 21,000 points in 3DMark03 and 10,000 in 3DMark05. There will be quite a distance to dual 7800 cards, which achieved about 27,000 and 11,500 points, respectively.

Compared to the first 3D1, a 6600 GT model, the new version include dual 16 pixel pipelines from two GeForce 6800GT GPUs, quad-view support for up to four displays at a time, and compatibility with a wider range of motherboards, Gigabyte said. Output interfaces include dual DVI-I, TV-OUT and D-SUB. The card handles DTV and HDTV encoding with a resolution of up to 1024 x 768 pixels.

Pricing has not been announced yet, but Gigabyte said earlier that it intends to price the 3D1-68GT about 10 to 15 percent less than two 6800 GT cards in a package - which hints to a price of about $700.

The recent Computex trade show revealed that Gigabyte will not remain the only graphics card company that offers dual-chip boards. Along with competitors such as Asus and MSI, Gigabyte showed 6800 Ultra-based graphic cards with up to 1 GByte of memory.

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