Overclocking the NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT & Conclusion
As with any video card, we like to see what extra performance can be had through overclocking. With already impressive scores at stock speeds, our thirst for more needed to be quenched. To be honest, we weren't sure what to expect from the newer GPU or the GDDR3 memory that is already running at its top speed. As it turned out, though, the card not only blew us away in stock performance, it overclocked exceptionally well too.
Using NVIDIA's Coolbits Registry Tweak, we managed to hit a top speed of 588MHz on the GPU, an increase of over 88MHz equaling 17.6%. The Samsung GDDR3 chips held a little extra headroom as well, adding an effective 180MHz, increasing output by 18%.
Even though we averaged almost 18% in added horsepower by overclocking the memory and GPU, we realized a gain of 12.5% when we ran the Doom 3 multiplayer test at 1600x1200. 12.5% is a solid boost in performance overall, and these gains can vary higher or lower depending on the game engine. Ultimately, the GeForce 6600 GT was a great overclocker, offering a nice kick in performance over stock speeds without the need for oversized cooling or increased voltage demands.
In the last 4 weeks, NVIDIA has teased the public with word of their new GeForce 6600 model PCI-Express graphics cards. While not quite ready to unveil the card back then, they did provide a lot of pertinent information to start getting users excited. The main focus of the new line of video cards was to take on ATI's X600 value-based PCI Express card and knock it down to budget class status.
With the GeForce 6600 GT arriving in our shop a little over two weeks ago, we were anxious to see if NVIDIA's claims would hold true. As it turns out, the 6600 GT held up its end of the bargain and then some. Not only did the card look impressive on paper, when we compared the GeForce 6600 GT to an Radeon X600 XT, the competitive ATi card was simply out classed all around in the benchmarks. Clearly, the GeForce 6600 GT has set a new standard for performance in value-minded PCI Express gaming. However, if you've been paying attention around the net, word is that ATi has a new 8 pipe solution coming to market shortly as well. So things should get interesting in this mid range segment
For now, the GeForce 6600 GT brings GeForce 6800 class features to the mainstream market, with exceptional performance and features. NVIDIA's new line of cards up the ante, bringing new higher performance capabilities for the same price as the competition's current generation product. With 6800 class features, superior performance to the Radeon X600 and SLI capabilities for future scalability, the GeForce 6600 GT hasn't just entered the value-class market, it kicked the door down at the $200 price point. Now we just have to watch and see how ATI responds as we enter the last quarter of 2004 and with the holiday season rapidly approaching.