NVIDIA GeForce 6600 and 6600 GT - Value Based PCI-Express Preview

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Introduction to the 6600 and 6600GT


With the release of both NVIDIA's 6800 Series and ATI's X800 series, the high-end enthusiast has several excellent choices when seeking the perfect gaming card.   It really is hard to go wrong either way, with each product line having the muscle to power any game you can throw at it, while offering the best image quality we've seen to date.  But the high-end market is only a small percentage of sales as these cards can cost in excess of $500.  When it comes to PCI Express based value solutions , ATI has their X600 series which sells in the $200 range, while NVIDIA has yet to launch many new value-based PCI Express offerings as of yet, electing to focus first on their high end products. However, all of that is about to change.

Today, NVIDIA has sent word of their next additions to the GeForce 6 series, namely the GeForce 6600 and 6600 GT. Both are aimed at offering value-based PCI-Express solutions, competing directly with ATI's X600 line.  The goal is to offer a superior performance solution for a lot less than the 6800 models, while still delivering many of its advanced features, including GDDR3 and SLI capabilities.  In an effort to provide you with a little more detail on NVIDIA's newest creations, we've put together a preview of each card, spotlighting its features and capabilities.  Let's get started by giving you the run-down and see what NVIDIA has up its sleeve this time around.

Specifications & Features of The GeForce 6600 & 6600 GT
NVIDIA's Newest Value PCI-Express GPU


   
CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

CINEFX 3.0 SHADING ARCHITECTURE
  • Vertex Shaders
    Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Vertex Shader 3.0
    Displacement mapping
    Geometry Instancing
    Infinite length vertex programs*
  • Pixel Shaders
    Support for DirectX 9.0 Pixel Shader 3.0
    Full pixel branching support
    Support for Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
    Infinite length pixel programs*
  • Next-Generation Texture Engine
    Up to 16 textures per rendering pass
    Support for 16-bit floating point format and 32-bit floating point format
    Support for non-power of two textures
    Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures
    DirectX and S3TC texture compression
  • Full 128-bit studio-quality floating point precision through the entire rendering pipeline with native hardware support for 32bpp, 64bpp, and 128bpp rendering modes

64-BIT TEXTURE FILTERING AND BLENDING

  • Full floating point support throughout entire pipeline
  • Floating point filtering improves the quality of images in motion
  • Floating point texturing drives new levels of clarity and image detail
  • Floating point frame buffer blending gives detail to special effects like motion blur and explosions

INTELLISAMPLE 3.0 TECHNOLOGY

  • Advanced 16x anisotropic filtering
  • Blistering-fast anti-aliasing and compression performance
  • New rotated-grid anti-aliasing removes jagged edges for incredible edge quality
  • Support for advanced lossless compression algorithms for color, texture, and z-data at even higher resolutions and frame rates
  • Fast z-clear
  • High-resolution compression technology (HCT) increases performance at higher resolutions through advances in compression technology

ULTRASHADOW II TECHNOLOGY

  • Designed to enhance the performance of shadow-intensive games, like id Softwares Doom III

ADVANCED ENGINEERING

  • Designed for PCI Express x16
  • Supports for AGP 8X including Fast Writes and sideband addressing
  • Designed for high-speed GDDR3 memory
  • 128-bit advanced memory interface
  • 0.11 micron process technology
  • Advanced thermal management and thermal monitoring
ADVANCED VIDEO AND DISPLAY FUNCTIONALITY
  • Dedicated on-chip video processor
  • MPEG video encode and decode
  • WMV9 decode acceleration
  • Advanced adaptive de-interlacing
  • High-quality video scaling and filtering
  • DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
  • Dual integrated 400 MHz RAMDACs for display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536 at 85Hz.
  • Dual DVO ports for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters and external TV encoders
  • Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) supports multiple video windows with full video quality and features in each window
  • Full NVIDIA nView multi-display technology capability

NVIDIA DIGITAL VIBRANCE CONTROL (DVC) 3.0

  • DVC color controls
  • DVC image sharpening controls

OPERATING SYSTEMS

  • Windows XP
  • Windows ME
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows 9X
  • Macintosh OS, including OS X
  • Linux

API SUPPORT

  • Complete DirectX support, including the latest version of Microsoft DirectX 9.0
  • Full OpenGL, including OpenGL 1.5

* The operating system or APIs can impose limits, but the hardware does not limit shader program length.


      
CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

 

Essentially, the new 6600 models look like scaled down 6800s, but that is not completely the case.  The new GPUs are manufactured using a .11 micron process compared to the 6800's .13, thereby reducing power consumption, which helps reduce heat.  Additionally, PCI Express is native to the 6600s, and NVIDIA is actually using their HSI chip to convert the signal back for AGP versions of the card.  This makes the GeForce 6600 series the only real native PCI Express solution available from NVIDIA at this time. 

Each of the 6600s come with 8 Pixel Pipelines compared to 12 and 16 found on the 6800, 6800 GT and 6800 Ultra.  The memory interface is also reduced to 128-bit, half that of the 6800s.  Each card will be equipped with 128MB of either DDR or GDDR3 memory and will support dual-monitor outputs.  While they may be value-class cards, the 6600 models will still support most of the latest technologies found in the more expensive 6800 line, bringing high-end features to the mainstream consumer.  Both the 6600 and 6600 GT will be able to take full advantage of Shader Model 3.0 with such games as FarCry, Painkiller and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl.   In the end, this means that each card will have an affordable price for the masses without sacrificing image quality or the ability to play all of today's current gaming titles at respectable frame rates.

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