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Hardware Performance Summary

Asus AGP-V6600 Deluxe Review
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As far as hardware goes, the cards with their respective drivers perform on par with each other. One could argue that the Asus V6600 or the Leadtek take a slight lead here and there but it is nothing large enough to justify a superior board on the hardware or driver level. The only obvious performance note I made was that the overclocked V6600 was making huge performance gains and performed flawlessly. If most V6600 cards are stable at those clock rates, you can gain some damn good performance for the price.

Conclusion

The Asus V6600 Deluxe offers a quality board with on par performance and great video features at a high price. The SGRAM is a nice change and hopefully most people will be able to recreate my findings of a stable high clocking memory. The software bundle is fair and they provide some decent tuning utilities as well as the basic necessities like a DVD player and video editing tools.

Creative Labs continues to hold its ground as the widely available solution that provides the great performance at a competitive cost. Its strengths are availability, frequent driver updates and Unified driver (Glide wrapper). The down sides are lack of DVI connector, no video options and the hardware has no advantage in the overclocking area (i.e. better memory or cooling solution) over the competition

Leadtek Winfast GeForce 256 has been spotted in more locations than I had originally expected and in decent quantities. The Leadtek board comes with higher speed memory, DVI, up to date drivers and a good software bundle as its pluses. The downside to picking up a Leadtek board would be that the prices do not seem to vary from the MSRP like I have seen with the Creative Labs Annihilator.

So what should you buy? There are a few scenarios I will answer this question for. If performance is your sole objective, hold out for the DDR GeForce solution if you're willing to spend the big bucks. Keep in mind that the DDR boards will be selling for about $300 (USD) while the Asus V6600 Deluxe runs for $299 (USD) and the Pure for $249). If the DDR is not available in your area yet, try out the Asus board. If video is your thing and you need hardware as well as software, go with the Leadtek board unless there's software you already have and like in which case I would suggest the Asus solution. If you are on the budget side of things (which would be weird being that the GeForce boards are not cheap in the first place), go grab yourself a Creative board. With the wide variety of GeForce based boards available, everyone who is interested should be able to find their match.

Personally I would have to hold out for a DDR based card due to its guaranteed high memory bandwidth. Mind you that these cards have been announced but who knows when you can get your hands on them. I'm very into my Quake 3 Arena and I demand a 60+ FPS at the resolutions I play at so the DDR boards will fit the bill when it comes to my hardcore 3D gamer needs. Even if everyone can clock the Asus V6600 Deluxe to 215, that still doesn't match the 300 MHz base speed of the DDR GeForces to come.

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