A couple of weeks ago I wrote a PCI Express mainstream graphics card roundup
comparing the Gigabyte PCX 5900, Abit RX600 µGuru Pro and an ATI X700Pro 256mb video card. As I stated in that article, I had wished to include some 6600 series cards, but at the time I didn't have access to any other NVIDIA cards other than the 5900 tested. I had ordered a vanilla 6600 and a 6600GT as well, but believed they wouldn't arrive till after the holidays, so we chose to split the article into two parts. This was in an effort to get part of the article out so readers making an immediate purchase would be armed with some information.
Well as promised, the 6600 series cards are in and tested. Albatron 6600
First up is the Albatron 6600 128mb
video card based on the NVIDIA 6600 series GPU. Clocked at 300MHz core, and 500MHz memory with a 128 bit memory bus, this card can easily be found for under $150, often closer to $120. Retail packaging of this card buys you a few older games such as Max Payne, AOW II, and 3 others, nothing really to speak of. The card comes with 4ns TSOP applied Hynix ram, so overclocking headroom on the ram might be limited.XFX 6600 GT
Second new card in testing is the XFX 6600GT 128mb
video card based on the NVIDIA 6600 series GPU. The GT moniker does though denote higher performance and comes clocked higher at 500 core and 1000MHz (effective) but still using a 128bit memory bus though. This GT variant uses 2ns Samsung BGA DDR3 memory. The XFX card comes well packed, and includes copies of like X2-The Threat and Commandos 3. Also, pay attention to the SLI connector at the top of the card, this could provide someone with an SLI
capable motherboard as in the NF4 Ultra SLI to connect 2 of these cards together for near double the performance in some applications.
The 6600 Series cards were quite a compliment to the prior cards reviewed and I think will add some good information for readers to consider prior to making a purchase decision. My prior theory on the Gigabyte PCX5900 not booting at greater than 240FSB may be flawed. I had theorized that the HSI chip that allows an AGP designed GPU (graphics processing unit) to function in PCI Express format could potentially limit the graphics card tolerance to PCI Express bus speeds running out of tolerance. After running the 6600 series cards and experiencing similar results, I feel the more likely explanation is that the NVIDIA based cards just don't tolerate being "out of spec" as far as ATI cards do.
So let's revisit the results and see how the 6600 cards compare to the prior reviewed cards.