Final Analysis and our Rating
Benchmark Summary: In this summary, we're going to focus on the battle between the PC6600U and the Radeon X700 Pro. We included benchmark scores from the X800 XL only as a source of reference. The XL's 16-pipeline GPU and 256-bit memory interface make it a much stronger performer than the other two cards, which is reflected in its price. The X800 XL currently sells for about $100 more than either the PC6600U or X700 Pro. So, pitting the PC6600U directly against the Radeon X700 Pro is a much better benchmark of how this card fares against direct competition. For the most part these two cards are on par with each other, with the overall edge going to the X700 Pro. In games that NVIDIA cards typically do well in, including Doom 3 and Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory, the PC6600U generally took the upper hand. In almost all other cases, the PC6600U fell behind ATi's card.
Albatron has done a fine job retooling the PC6600 into the PC6600U. Raising the core clock speed by a third, from 300MHz to 400MHz, as well as upping the memory clock was a wise move, boosting the performance of the card. The card also took to overclocking, where we found we could raise the speed of the GPU an additional 121MHz, finishing up at 521MHz or 221MHz over a standard clocked GeForce 6600.
On the bright side, the PC6600U sports an attractive heat-pipe based cooling solution that not only looks good, but runs nearly silently as well. A major concern for some builders, however, will be whether or not the over-sized heatsink "sandwich" will fit in their motherboard. It was obviously an issue with our stock Intel board, but the PC6600U fit just fine in an Epox 5LWA+ that we will be taking a look at soon.
Overall, the Albatron PC6600U is a great looking card that's somewhat handicapped by a limited bundle, with performance that's on-par with its main competition. The PC6600U's price is a bit higher than standard GeForce 6600 based cards (about $200), but the PC6600U comes pre-clocked at higher speeds, bringing it close to 6600GT-like performance. Our final rating for the Albatron PC6600U is an 7.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter...