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Leadtek WinFast A400 TDH (GeForce 6800)

The little brother to the 6800 GT and 6800 Ultra comes out to play in this review. Read on to see how the Leadtek Winfast A400 TDH performs in todays newest benchmarks and games.

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Introduction


Being the older brother in my family, I have always seemed to pick on my little brother, from as far back as I can remember.  I had always thought that being the little brother probably sucked while growing up.  But Leadtek has changed my mind about that.  The Winfast A400 TDH, their name for the GeForce 6800, makes being the little brother not so bad after all.

There are a few differences that separate the vanilla 6800 from its older brothers the GT and Ultra.  For one, the 6800 only has a 12-pipe GPU architecture, compared to 16 in the GT and Ultra.  The 6800 also sports only 128MB of DDR RAM, opposed to the 256MB of DDR3 its older brothers have.

With a core speed of 325Mhz and an effective RAM clock of 700Mhz, the A400 is well on its way to running the latest games at the resolutions and frame rates you crave.  Read ahead to see how Leadtek’s A400 TDH fares against last generations technology.

Features and Specs


Features

  • 3 Air-Surround Cooling System
  • TV-out Support
  • Full-version Game Bundle(Prince of Persia & Splinter Cell)
  • Video-editing software bundle(DVD Player, WinFox II, Cult 3D)
  • Full Accessories pack
  • 1st to support Shader Model 3.0 – a must have function for future game development
  • Breakthrough 64-bit Blending & Filtering – a must have for ultra-realistic animation creation
  • Superscalar 12-Pipe GPU Architecture
  • CineFX 3.0 Engine
  • UltraShadow II Technology
  • Intellisample 3.0 Technology
  • Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
  • 0.13 Micron Process Technology

Specs

  • NVIDIA GPU:  6800
  • Form Factor:  1-slot
  • Clock:  325Mhz Core/700Mhz Memory
  • Memory:  128MB DDR1
  • Output:  DVI, VGA, TV-Out
  • Data Bandwidth:  256-bit
  • Superscalar GPU Architecture:  12
  • Graphics Core: 256-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth:  22.4GB/sec
  • Fill Rate:  3.9 billion texels/sec
  • Vertices per Second:  406 million
  • Memory Data Rate:  700Mhz
  • Pixels per Clock (peak):  12

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Package Contents


  • Winfast A400 TDH
  • Instruction Manual
  • Quick Install Guide
  • Driver and Utilities CD
  • Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow DVD
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  • DVI to VGA Adapter
  • A/V Cable
  • S-Video Cable

 

Detailed Look


Packaging

The retail box that my A400 shipped in features a wizard-type character that is found on all of Leadtek’s latest A400 series graphics card boxes.  Showing off the included games on the front is a good tactic for retail outlets, because who doesn’t like a nice bundle with their new graphics card?  The back of the box details some of the features of the A400, and has a lot of good information.

 

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Detailed Look


WinFast A400 TDH

The first thing I noticed when inspecting the A400 is its large cooling aparatus.  The A400 features a dual-heatsink cooling solution that places a heatsink on the top and bottom of the card.  The bottom heatsink is more for looks, as there are no memory modules to cool on the bottom side of the card.  Unless Leadtek is trying to cool the memory by cooling its pins on the bottom of the card, this heatsink is a waste of material, and may have been able to lower the price of this card if removed.

 

 

 

The fan on the A400 is not very loud when under the control of the video card drivers, but when booting up, this fan is a real screamer.  A grill for the fan helps to keep some of the dust off the blades, to ensure a longer lasting, quiet fan.

Power for the A400 is supplied via a single Molex connection towards the rear of the card.  This type of power connection is not going anywhere anytime fast, so get used to supplying your video card with its own dedicated power connection.  A power supply with at least 300 watts is recommended.

Connecting the new video card to your display should be a breeze with the A400′s DVI, VGA, and S-Video output connections.  The included DVI to VGA adapter allows for easy hookup of two analog displays.

With the A400, there is no need to sweat over the amount of PCI slots to be used up.  The A400 only uses one slot, but it is always a good idea to leave a couple slots below your graphics card empty for proper cooling.

$$ FIND THE BEST PRICES FOR Leadtek Products AT PRICEGRABBER $$

Benchmarks 


To really see how the Leadtek’s 6800 stacks up against the previous generation’s technology, the A400 will be competing with a BFG GeForce 5950 Ultra.  The BFG core runs at 475Mhz and has an effective RAM clock of 950Mhz.  With 128MB more RAM, the 5950 was a force to be dealt with at its peak.  Generic benchmarks like AquaMark3 and 3DMark05 are always a good way of showing off your rig’s power, but these benchmarks do not always reflect the performance of real game engines like the DOOM 3 engine and the new Source engine (used in Half-Life 2).  To test these two new engines, I will be benchmarking with id Software’s DOOM 3 and Valve Software’s Counter Strike: Source.

For both cards, the official NVIDIA 66.93 drivers were used, with settings for Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering being application controlled.

Test System

AMD Athlon64 3200+ (2.2Ghz, 512k L2 Cache)
Biostar K8VHA Pro
Corsair XMS 3200 RAM 1x512MB
Maxtor 120GB HDD
Lite-On 4xDVD+-RW
Antec True 430 power supply
AOpen A600 case
NVIDIA 66.93 Drivers

AquaMark3

1024×768 – noAA/4xAF, very high
Videocard
FPS
BFG 5950 Ultra 46.06
Leadtek A400 TDH 55.16

 

3DMark05

1024×768 – default settings
Videocard
3DMark05 Score
BFG 5950 Ultra 1276
Leadtek A400 TDH 3362

 

Source Stress Test

1024×768 – noAA/noAF, high detail, reflect world
Videocard
FPS
BFG 5950 Ultra 117.21
Leadtek A400 TDH 136.42
1600×1200 – noAA/noAF, high detail, reflect world
BFG 5950 Ultra 58.79
Leadtek A400 TDH 80.03

  

Source Stress Test

1024×768 – 4xAA/8xAF, high detail, reflect world
Videocard
FPS
BFG 5950 Ultra 76.25
Leadtek A400 TDH 115.42
1600×1200 – 4xAA/8xAF, high detail, reflect world
BFG 5950 Ultra 36.82
Leadtek A400 TDH 26.03

DOOM 3

1024×768 – noAA/noAF
Videocard
FPS
BFG 5950 Ultra 54.1
Leadtek A400 TDH 86.1
1600×1200 – noAA/noAF
BFG 5950 Ultra 26.1
Leadtek A400 TDH 52.0

DOOM 3

1024×768 – 4xAA/8xAF
Videocard
FPS
BFG 5950 Ultra 38.5
Leadtek A400 TDH 58.5
1600×1200 – 4xAA/8xAF
BFG 5950 Ultra 18.3
Leadtek A400 TDH 22.4

 

As you can see, the A400 tops the top of the line from last generation in every test.  Being just the normal 6800, you can expect to see even better numbers from its big brothers, the GT and Ultra.


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Overclocking


BFG’s 6800 OC core comes overclocked 25Mhz from the factory and Bjorn3D’s own Adam Erker was able to squeeze another 24Mhz from the core and a whole 48Mhz from the RAM, resulting in a final 374/745 combination.  Anxious to see if Adam’s numbers were achievable with the A400, I set out to push the 6800 to the limits.  The included Winfox software is what I have chosen to overclock the A400 with.  Sure, there are other choices like Coolbits and Riva Tuner, but why not just use the software from the card manufacturer?

After slowly making my way up the megahertz scale, I finally reached a 375Mhz core clock and 750Mhz memory clock, the same clocks Adam reached on his 6800 OC.  These increases in speed did help out in the benchmarking some, but the differences are very hard to see with your own eye in gaming situations.  Below are the AquaMark3 and 3DMark05 scores obtained with the overclocked Winfast A400 TDH, as well as the stock clock scores.

AquaMark 3

1024×768 – noAA/4xAF
Videocard
FPS
Leadtek A400 TDH (325Mhz Core and 700Mhz Memory) 55.16
Leadtek A400 TDH (375Mhz Core and 750Mhz Memory) 59.12

3DMark05

1024×768 – default settings
Videocard
3DMarks
Leadtek A400 TDH (325Mhz Core and 700Mhz Memory) 3362
Leadtek A400 TDH (375Mhz Core and 750Mhz Memory) 3773

The few extra frames picked up in Aquamark 3 and the couple hundred 3DMarks gained from the overclocking of the A400 TDH show that there is some performance increase at a higher clock, but don’t count on a huge improvement on the visual quality or framerate from your overclocking.


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Included Software


The included software bundles that come with video cards these days can often be the winning combination for card manufacturers looking to beat out their competition.  Leadtek has included a decent bundle with their A400 TDH; one that includes many handy applications and utilities, as well as a few games.  The only thing I think Leadtek may want to change with their bundle is the number of games.  There are many videocard manufacturers that include more than two games.

Also included with the drivers and manual on one CD are the following appliations and utilities:

  • Colorific True Internet Color – Used to ensure proper colors on internet pages
  • Muvee 3 – Video editing software
  • AGP Update – Application for updating AGP
  • Winfast DVD – DVD playback software
  • Coloreal – Used to ensure proper colors on internet pages
  • DirectX
  • 3Deep – Corrects lighting, shading and color in 2D and 3D applications
  • Cult 3D – 3D editing tool
  • Winfast PVR – Think Tivo
  • Winfox 2.0 – Special Leadtek software, including overclocking capabilies and other handy features

The games that come with the A400 are not just “no-name, cookie-cutter” games.  Leadtek put forth the effort to include both Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow on DVD, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.  Both of these games are sure to show off your new video card’s power.

Conclusion


With a strong performance in multiple benchmarks, the Leadtek A400 TDH proves that being the little brother is not always a bad thing.  The A400′s missing pipelines and slower clocks do not hold it back much, as it is able to put the hurt on last generation’s highest performing videocards.

With a generous overclocking capability and great cooling performance, the A400 will also fit into the budget of the price watching gamer.  For around $280, this card is far from the top of the price list.

Pros

  • Looks great
  • One-slot design
  • Good performance to price ratio
  • Overclocks like a dream

Cons

  • Mediocre bundle
  • Excessive cooling solution on back of card

If you are in the market for a new videocard and cannot afford to pay the high prices for a top of the line card, the Leadtek A400 TDH offers great performance at a great price.  After many benchmarks and many hours of great looking gaming, I am proud to give the Leadtek A400 TDH an 8.5 out of 10.

$$ FIND THE BEST PRICES FOR Leadtek Products AT PRICEGRABBER $$

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