A Closer Look at the PC6600U
This new PC6600U model was quite different than the original PC6600 that Albatron has released earlier. The original PC6600 appeared to be your usual run-of-the-mill variant of the 6600. Cooling consisted of a single heatsink/fan placed over the GPU, with nothing placed over the RAM at all. With the PC6600U, the older style TSOP memory chips found on the PC6600 have also been replaced with 128MB of 2.8ns BGA packaged memory, which should provide some better overclocking potential.
According the Albatron, by switching over to BGA RAM and raising the GPU clock speed to 400MHz (over the standard 300MHz of non-GT 6600s), the PC6600U should be able to perform closer to 6600GT levels, while keeping the price lower. Our feelings, however, is that we were already looking at a GT, just underclocked to come somewhere between the typical 6600 and 6600GT. One sure giveaway was the SLI connector, which has typically only been available on GT models.
The Heatpipe cooling technology that Albatron utilizes provides better heat dissipation than traditional cooling strategies. The heat-conductive copper heatpipes absorb heat from the GPU's heat plate and transfer it to aluminum heatsinks placed on the back of the card. Within the heatpipe itself is a liquid that is vaporized at the end closest to the GPU. This vapor moves to the cooler end of the pipe where it is condensed back into a liquid and wicked back to the front of the card to start the process again. The rear-mounted fan sits atop of the heatsink and blows heated air up and away from the card towards the upper parts of the chassis where, presumably, case fans can help dissipate the heat even quicker.
Upon close inspection, however, we find that there could be some serious consequences of Albatron's engineering. Having large heatsinks and fans placed on both sides of the card make the PC6600U much thicker than the average video card. Thus, when we tried installing the PC6600U on our Intel D915PBL motherboard we ran into an immediate snag; the rear of the card was making contact with the heatsink covering the Northbridge. It took some major pushing and bending back of this Northbridge's heatsink's fins in order to get the video card properly installed, and even after doing so we found that Windows XP would fail during the installation, because the card wasn't staying seated in its slot. Obviously, not all motherboards are configured the same, but you might want to check out the layout of your board before purchasing the PC6600U as a complement.