Asus Extreme N6600GT x 2 - Revisiting SLI

Article Index

Introduction, Specifications, and Bundle

A few months ago, we assessed the performance of a pair of GeForce 6800 GTs and a pair of GeForce 6800 Ultras running in SLI-mode, and were impressed by the platform's performance.  We did have some concerns over driver support and the TCO of the platform, however. NVIDIA's current SLI (Scalable Link Interface) technology requires a specific profile be integrated into the drivers that dictates whether alternate frame rendering (AFR) or split-frame rendering (SFR) can be used for a particular application, and without that profile SLI won't function correctly. And a pair of GeForce 6800-class cards plus an nForce 4 SLI motherboard commands a significant monetary investment, so the technology isn't for everyone.

Today though, we're approaching SLI from a different angle.  We've acquired a pair of SLI-capable Asus Extreme N6600GT, GeForce 6600GT based, graphics cards, nForce 4 SLI motherboards have gotten much more affordable than they were at launch, and we're working with the third official set of SLI-enabled Forceware drivers to be released. NVIDIA's SLI technology has matured nicely since we first wrote about it in December, and the cost of a pair of GeForce 6600GTs and an SLI capable motherboard is much easier to justify than its high-end dual-6800 based cousin. Read on to see what we think of a mid-range SLI configuration like this one, by way of a pair of Asus Extreme N6600 GTs...

  

Specifications & Features of The Asus Extreme N6600GT
NVIDIA's Value Priced PCI-Express GPU
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.


  

Asus included a well balanced assortment of accessories and software with the Extreme N6600GT, especially considering this is a mid-range video card targeted at budget-conscious gamers. Bundled with the card itself, we found a simple user's manual that outlines the card's main features and installation, an S-Video cable, and a DVI-to-DB15 adapter. Along with these accessories, Asus included a plastic CD case as well, that held copies of Novalogic's Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising, AsusDVD DVD playback software, Cyberlink PowerDirector 3DE, and Medi@Show SE v2.14. There was also another pair of CDs included in the retail package, that contained all of the necessary drivers to install the Extreme N6600GT, and a copy of Asus' proprietary "Game Face" application, a real-time audio/video communications program that works in conjunction with a webcam and microphone.

Tags:  Asus, sli, Xtreme, extreme, revisit, GT, XT, ting, eme

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