1. Download and install RivaTuner from www.guru3d.com
The link is currently here: http://downloads.guru3d.com/download.php?det=163
2. User RivaTuner to check board revision: Main > Target Adapter Customize > Diagnostic Report
3. Scroll down and find the information about “Graphics Core”
4. If it says, “NV40 revision A1 (8x1,4vp)”, then you have the old BIOS installed which has wrong number of pipelines ( 8 ) and vertex shaders (4) enabled. They should be 12 (12x1) and 5 (5vp). The number of pipelines and vertex shaders can make a big difference to performance.
5. To enable the right number of pipelines and vertex shaders you need to install BIOS version F3 or alternatively, use RivaTuner to unlock the extra pipelines and vertex shaders.
6. BIOS flashing: Download BIOS version F3 from Gigabyte’s website. Ignore version F2 as this appears to have a bug that disables DVI support. Once the BIOS has been downloaded, follow Kevin’s instructions above, or those contained in the manual. The actual names of the file or flash command may vary slightly - I used: ''gvf13 -p r92128dh.f3'' It is not generally a good idea to use the Gigabyte Windows utility to flash the BIOS. Users have reported problems with the Windows BIOS flash utility: http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=16746
7. Using RivaTuner to enable pipelines / vertex shaders: Main > Target Adapter Customize > Low Level System Settings > NVStrap Driver: Graphics Processor Configuration > Customize > then select tick the Pipeline and Vertex Shader row to unlock the Pipeline / Vertex Shader > OK > Apply > OK > Reboot
8. Voila! You now have a “proper” 6800 with 12 pipelines (12x1) and 5 vertex shaders (5x1). You can experiment with 16 pipelines and 6 vertex shaders, but this resulted in artefacting (strange shapes appearing on screen). The Gigabyte cards overlcock pretty well, so you can experiment with this as well.
Comments about the card generally:
The difference between this and other 6800 cards is the passive heatsink which is smaller than I thought it would be (for example, smaller than the Zalman passive GPU heatsinks). The card runs hot - 60C to 80c - and the heatsinks are hot enough to burn you after about a second. Haven't noticed any problems running at high temperatures. The card is also quite slim - it doesn't take up PCI slot 1, so unless the top side of the card points outwards it will *probably* fit into a SFF / Shuttle type case (I haven't tried it).
On my system (3200+, 1gig, 6800) I find that the 6800 isn't quite powerful enough to play HL2 at 1280x1024 with max detail and 8AF/4AA - on some levels framErates drop to 16-25fps. I have to turn it down to 6AF/2AA to get framerates back to 40-50fps. If people want to play HL2 at max everything, it would be worth consider getting an ATI X800 Pro/XT type card coupled with a Zalman HS/modded 80mm fan (about £100 more expensive than the Gigabyte 6800 though).
TIP: If you want to a cool the card, a very simple yet effective solution is to install a Zalman fan bracket but orientate it the wrong way up and then attach 1 or 2 80mms fans to the middle of the bracket. Reduces temperatures by 30C-50C.