NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT - Value Based PCI-Express Part II
The GeForce 6600GT - First Looks...
On August 12th, NVIDIA took the wraps off their new value-based PCI-Express video cards, introducing the GeForce 6600 and 6600 GT. Back then we were given ample information in advance to do a thorough preview on what both cards brought to the game. With a smaller die size, many of the same qualities of the 6800 series and even a few new features, like a native on chip PCIe core, NVIDIA's first GeForce 6 Series offerings into the mainstream PCI Express market seemed intriguing.
Up until now, NVIDIA's GeForce 6 Series PCI-Express solutions have been developed exclusively for their high-end cards, leaving the value class occuppied solely by ATI's X600 and various FX 5900s and 5750s. With the 6600s, NVIDIA set their sites on the X600, offering both a cheaper, competitive solution as well as a comparably priced model that aimed to top the Radeon X600's performance.
Since our initial preview, we've been eager to get our hands on one or both of these cards to see how they perform against their peers. On paper, the GeForce 6600 was a good looking, affordable card, while the GeForce 6600 GT also looked to be an exceptionally well rounded solution. Encompassing an affordable price tag while promising superior performance to the competition, we were especially interested to see how the 6600 GT would stack up.
Today, we aim to find out with a complete performance assessment of the GeForce 6600 GT. Recently, NVIDIA shipped us a sample so we could see its performance potential first-hand. Since we've already covered the technical details in our Preview, we'll take a moment to recap some of the physical characteristics of the GeForce 6600 GT, then we'll shift quickly to the performance side of things.
The GeForce 6600 GT is an 8 Pixel Pipeline card driven by a 500MHz GPU backed by 128MB of Samsung GDDR3 running at 500MHz(1000MHz effective). With this model, NVIDIA opted to use Samsung's K4J55323QF-GC20 modules, which are rated for 500MHz(1000MHz). With a refined .11 micron manufacturing process, the 6600 GT doesn't require any additional external power source, which also results in a much smaller PCB when compared to the 6800 models. NVIDIA also developed an improved cooling design over what we saw with the basic 6600 model, with a shell that directs airflow away from the GPU and across the top of the memory. In the future, we suspect we will see some custom options in this area, as OEMs work the 6600 GT into their product line.
With double the Pixel Pipelines of ATI's X600 and more aggressive clock speeds overall, NVIDIA aims to steal the X600's thunder by delivering a more powerful all-around card in the same price range. What they have presented to us so far lends the 6600GT to being one of the best overall PCI-Express solutions available currently. Next, we'll turn our focus to performance to see how the 6600 GT fits in the big picture. To get a good idea of where it falls in the playing field, we compared it to an ATI Radeon X600 XT and an NVIDIA GeForce PCX 5750. Let's get started!