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.  

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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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


  • 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
  • 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


  • DVC color controls
  • DVC image sharpening controls


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


  • 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.

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!

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