Continuing with our coverage of GeForce based cards, we are now bringing you two new competitors to decide upon. Currently there are few decent choices as far as graphics chipsets go and an abundance of choices when it comes to boards based on the excellent GeForce chipset (reviewed last year in the article Full Review of NVIDIA's new GeForce 256 'GPU' ). This is a huge reason why we have done so many reviews on the different flavors available of this graphics chipset. Leading edge performance and features make this solution the most relevant solution on the market today for most gamers and performance buffs. In this latest installment we bring you the Asus AGP-V6800 Deluxe and the Creative Labs Annihilator Pro. Both boards are the GeForce DDR flavor from each company. We've previously reviewed the Asus AGP-V6600 Deluxe (GeForce SDR SGRAM) and Creative Labs Annihilator (GeForce SDR) and now it's time to take a look at their more powerful siblings.
AsusTek (Asus) is one of the biggest names in the industry right now producing top-notch motherboards and graphics solutions. Their products have been synonymous with the words quality and performance but never left your billfold feeling too empty. Armed with a leading edge R&D team, Asus is able to provide customers with rock solid hardware and software utilities that are backed by a long history of good customer satisfaction. I don't know of many companies that I can honestly say do a better job than Asus.
Creative Labs came to us way back in the early 1990's offering this nifty sound card called the "Sound Blaster" that became ultra-popular with many consumers which propelled the company to expand its market to what we know now. This expansion in the "multimedia sector" included graphics solutions, web cams, DVD solutions, and other various multimedia upgrades. Although the latest audio solutions have been subject to much debate on their quality and compatibility, the graphics solutions offered have been regarded as a great "bang for the buck" solution. Not only has Creative been offering competitive hardware but took extra steps to offer customers software and utilities that would enhance their experience beyond what can be found in their competitors packages (i.e. Unified Driver, AGP utility, O/C Utilities).
The AGP-V6800 Deluxe comes with a number of features that are unique to the typical GeForce board. Its layout is a bit different from your average GeForce DDR board but that is to be expected since the card has the video in capability that adds various extra components. On the backside of the card you have VR-Glasses output, S-video input, HD15 monitor connection (the 'normal' monitor connection), S-video output and a composite out. The retail package (Deluxe version) includes these items in the box:
- VR 3D Glasses
- Video cables (S-video cable, Composite cable, S-video to composite cable)
- Software Bundle (Asus DVD player, Ulead Video Studio SE, Rollcage, Drakan, CD game sampler)
The manual was noteworthy as it offered very detailed instructions for those who aren't too technically inclined with computers. Like many of their motherboard manuals, the V6800 manual offered useful information that shows you how to adjust various software settings or use their video capture software. It's not going to make the card faster but makes life easier when trying to use some of their proprietary software. The 3D Glasses haven't changed much since I last tried. The glasses work fairly well, however for those with corrective lenses the additional weight may be somewhat uncomfortable. The video cables are pretty standard. They could be picked up at the local video store, however, the fact that the card offers video-in is pretty cool (descent resolution you can capture at, I might add) although the card doesn't come with a video input device, you'll have to provide your own (web cam, video camera etc.). I also liked the fact that Asus provides a beta driver that stays somewhat near to NVIDIAs latest reference drivers if you feel the need to use them (as I did). I also was pleased with the various tweak and monitoring utilities that the card came with right ouf of the box. The Asus DVD player is the same standard player they've been shipping for some time now. As for the remaining software, a couple of free games and a CD sampler aren't too horrible but don't really interest me personally. Overall I would say the hardware and software features of the V6800 Deluxe were above average and the fact that the card comes with video out just adds extra appeal to this card.