My schweet new nVidia card

Posted: July 8, 2005 in Uncategorized
Back on March 13, I went on about how tech was slowing down, and that I was still using a machine of which the central core was built over three years ago. I also said that a few months from then I might buy a faster videocard, but otherwise didn’t want to do a complete upgrade with today’s tech…something is going to happen in the next year or so (I dunno exactly what, but I have a pretty good idea), and I don’t want to be stuck with a new system that can’t be upgraded.
Well, I got that videocard a few weeks ago, the last AGP I will probably ever own. Thanks to somebody at FatWallet, I jumped on a deal from Newegg for a vanilla 6800 for $170 shipped…and got in before they ran out of stock (the average price for a 6800 was about $230). Here’s where the old tech I decided to stick with for now REALLY helped me out…
The vanilla 6800 AGP utilizes the same GPU as the GT and Ultra cards…the NV40. nVidia simply disables four of the pipes and one of the vertex shaders on the vanilla 6800, plus clocking down the core and memory speeds, that’s all. Using a tool called RivaTuner, I was able to unlock those disabled features, and for all intents and purposes, I now have what is almost the equivilent of a $300 6800GT videocard. If I had done a complete system replacement (which would have had PCI-E), I would have ended up with a card that could not be unlocked…this is because the PCI-E version of the vanilla 6800 uses the NV41 GPU, which doesn’t have disabled features that can be unlocked…because those features aren’t built into it in the first place. So I basically saved $130 on the card, while still getting much of the performance I desired that would have required a $1000+ system replacement. Booyah!
The water in HL2 is just how the reviewers described…absolutely gorgeous. I loaded up UT2K4, went into the settings and started cranking every single option to its maximum setting…when the last one was set, a game character voice suddenly exclaimed thru my sound system, "Holy SH!T". I giggled uncontrollably…and then found the game was liquid smooooooth. I still get my proverbial azz kicked in online deathmatches, but I die very pretty deaths.
Maybe a year or two from now I’ll dump that old mobo and proc, and this schweet videocard as well…but I’ve staved off the total upgrade cycle for now, and can plod happily along for another year, waiting to see what’s behind door number three before I take my next system plunge, which will likely be my first Longhorn machine.

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