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Good 3D Performance at a Middling Price: GeForce 6600 Shootout

Good 3D Performance at a Middling Price: GeForce 6600 Shootout
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3D performance has never before been as affordable as it is today - the equation "mid-range equals mediocre" is no longer valid, since the introduction of the NVIDIA GeForce 6600 card series. A GeForce 6600 GT easily beats the 3D performance of the former top model, the GeForce 5950 Ultra, in modern DirectX 9 games. Only in really high monitor resolutions did the "old" 5950, with its 256 MB memory, have an advantage, thanks to its 256 bit wide memory bus and the resulting higher memory bandwidth. But since prices start under $200 for 6600 GT models, no one's complaining about one small area where the older card excels. The latest AGP version of the GeForce 6600 makes things even more interesting for many PC gamers looking for upgrade options.

NVIDIA's GeForce 6600 GT reference design.

The variety of GeForce 6600 cards being offered is astounding. In addition to standard models with NVIDIA reference coolers and standard frame rates, many card manufacturers also have models with specialized cooling solutions and higher frame rates. Gimmicks like lighted coolers and dyed circuit boards are being employed by manufacturers trying to make their products stand out from the competition.

For this comparison we picked out a few of the most interesting GeForce 6600 models for AGP and PCI Express motherboards, and put them through their paces.

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