SLI usage monitoring tool active in 3dMark06B
eyond the cost savings, if your interested in experimenting in SLI, building a system using 6600GT's is multifaceted. Foremost would be one's inability to visually
distinguish among 6600GTs and 6800GT's or 6800 Ultra's without high AA/AF settings. Unfortunately sight is vastly underrated in the reviewing process, as if empiricism has become a four letter word. Rarely, if ever are visual phenomena
discussed in video card reviews, what we see always takes a back-seat to FPS under AA/AF and other such features as they influence benchmark results. We often neglect the fact the architectural aspects and processing power in any given video card combine to create realistic imagery. The focus on FPS where GPU's are concerned is akin to the myopic obsession with MHz where Intel CPU's were concerned. While the marketing of MHz provided many Intel exec's with larger houses, it did little for evolution of the CPU.
Spending several years in the High End Audiophile world I was fortunate to own and listen to sophisticated discrete components such as Krell Solid State Amplifiers, Loth Silbatone
tube ampifiers (spec'd with silver wound transformers), Jadis tube amps, Martin Logan electrostatic speakers and others. While these engineering works of art would easily surpass the $100,000 price point for an amplification system alone, 98% of Audiophile reviews are based on empirical listening experience. In Audiophile the experience of "listening" and then describing that experience in detail isn't thought to be "biased" nor is one's ability to hear inferior to an oscilloscope or SPL meter. With a shared knowledge of music, especially their recording environment all one need do is listening on a reference system changing out the component to be critiqued. One reason the venerable B&W 801
loudspeaker was so popular with Audiophiles was its widespread use in recording studios, originally the trend began in Europe particularly in England sound-studios which probably had more B&W 801's then any other. Realizing the neutrality of these monitors (and the English loudspeaker being some of the best world-wide) this was the ideal transducer.
Terminology such as three dimensional imaging, palpability, soundstage, tonality are not so difficult to comprehend once your seated in front of a properly built system albeit based on Tube amplifiers and electrostatic speakers or Krells and Apogees. Each will have their own "signature" and although the goal in Audio is neutrality thereby reproducing exactly what occurred in the studio that day, some prefer the "warmth" of tube amplification or tubes in D/A conversion stages, as they smooth out digital "harshness." What passes for THD is mush higher on paper with higher end components, this is precisely where high end Audio and digital Video differ.
Still there are millions of Audiophiles world-wide whom know, simply by listening, the exact location of each band member of the Cowboy Junkies in relation to the Sony digital microphone while listening to a track from their Trinity Session recordings. Most can also discern it was recorded in a church. Beyond the prima facie
, the medium itself, where audio systems and graphic cards differ is one "re-produces" while the latter "produces" or generates an image. Personally I found there was little to distinguish the Asus N6600GT, a Gigabyte 6800GT running in SLI, and my 7800GTX so long as AA/AF weren't factored in beyond minimal settings. The greatest visual impact I've seen in the last few years where I was able to clearly see a substantial improvement in visual quality was after changing out my D-Sub VGA cable to a DVI one. Eight is Enough Asus N6600GT
The NV43 core uses 8-pixel pipelines, 3-vertex shader units, 128-bit memory path and a Partridge in a Pear tree which halves the amount found on the NV45 and it's predecessor the NV40. While these are clearly what make the 6600GT a mid-level card (at the time of relaase) it does sport attributes it's uber
siblings do not. The NV43 GPU is a native PCIe chip whereas the NV40/NV45 are not and still rely on a bridging chip. The HIS (High Speed Interconnect) is in closer proximity to the GPU; however; insofar as proximity in the semi-conductor world relocating the HIS so that's it's "almost" on-die is analogous to being "almost near the Sun" moving from Earth to the Moon. You’re either part of the silicon solution or part of the latency problem. The best explanation I've read comes from Beyond3D
Where NV43 does significantly differ from NV40 is that of the interface. NV40 is natively implements an AGP8x host interface, which is a bi-directional, parallel system - AGP8x has a downstream bandwidth of 2.1GB/s and an upstream bandwidth of either 266MB/s in PCI Write mode or 2GB/s with AGP writes however, the up and downstream bandwidth is shared and there is usually significant latency when switching from upstream to downstream traffic. NV43, on the other hand, features a 16 lane PCI Express interface - PCI Express is a serial, point to point, two way, unidirectional bus; each PCI Express "lane" offers 250MB/s of bandwidth in both directions simultaneously and bandwidth can be increased for particular devices by increasing the number of lanes, so with 16 lanes the interconnect between the host and PCI Express graphics give 8GB/s of concurrent bandwidth. The upshot of this is that PCI Express graphics cards have greater usable transfer rates from the host to graphics and vice versa. I
n addition to it's native PCIe architecture the NV43 GPU runs at 500MHz compared to the NV40/NV45 which clock in at approximately 350MHz. The EN6600GT boasts 256MB of GDDR3 and in this case the core supports the memory. There is; however, healthy skepticism manufacturers will spec a mid-level card with 256MB of memory as a marketing gimmick. In this case Asus has done exactly the right thing since 256MB of 2.0ns GDDR3 will have a profound impact on performance at higher resolutions. With LCD monitors dominating the market any resolution at or below 1024x768 is rapidly becoming obsolete.ArctiClean
It took just a few drops of this CPU cleaner/prep to remove a RAM-sink for this review. I found Asus uses a high quality ultra-thin tape or epoxy since I found no traces of any "tape." Many manufacturers still rely on relatively thick thermal-tape to affix heatsinks to the SDRAM which seems to trap more heat then it conducts. To remove the heatsinks I stood the card on-edge and allowed the fluid to saturate the adhesive beneath the SDRAM-sinks. In just 30-seconds the heatsinks easily lifted away using a small plastic epoxy spreader. I can't say enough about this stuff
The heatsinks easily lifted away exposing Samsung GDDR 3 SDRAM
(GC20 prefix) this is a 2.0ns part 1000Mbps/pin data rate 144-Ball FBGA running at 500MHz.
Given the processing power of the NV43, its speed and ability to support up to 256MB of memory, the card should fare well when running ant aliasing and anisotropic filtering. The additional memory will have the greatest impact where it counts most, playing new titles and games which love memory such as DOOM 3 and FarCry at higher resolutions.
Onto the tests and the temps