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Conclusion

Seven of NVIDIA's Latest and Greatest Cards Tested
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In the sub $200 market segment, the Gigabyte GeForce 6600 GT Silentpipe-II is a good solution. The MSI 6600 GT is a good pick for those who don't always need to run their cards at full speed and use many 2D applications in Windows; its Core Cell 3D Center tool enables users to adjust the card's clock speeds and fan speeds.

In the $350 bracket, Gigabyte's 7800 GT, with its Zalman cooler, is a better pick than the Asus model. A dual 6600 GT configuration does not seem very attractive considering it is outperformed by a single 7800 GT.

Moving to the $550 segment, Gigabyte's 7800 GTX Turbo Force is the fastest solution; its high stock frequencies are guaranteed by the manufacturer. Adventurous buyers could try to raise the clock speeds of the Asus card to similar levels, but would void their warranty in the attempt.

If price is not an issue, the SLI situation is as follows. Gigabyte guarantees high clock speeds with its Turbo Force cards, while Asus cards can only be overclocked at your own risk. eVGA's water cooled 7800 GTX is the quieter alternative, with the added benefit of a real 512 MB of video memory.

Card Feature Table

Manufacturer/Model Gigabyte Geforce 7800 GT -ZK Gigabyte Geforce 7800 GTX Turbo Force MSI Geforce 6600 GT Diamond
Space Requirement 2 slots 1 slot 1 slot
CPU Cooling aluminum heat sink and fan copper heat sink and fan copper heat sink and fan
Memory Cooling none aluminum copper
Connectors 2x DVI-I, Video Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video) 2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video) 2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)
Power Supply via PCI Express via PCI Express small drive connector (floppy)
Video Connector Solution external breakout box external breakout box external breakout box
Additional AUX Power Supply yes yes yes
Adapters 2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub 2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub 1x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub
Bundled Application Software Graphics driver, VTuner 2, Microsoft DirectX, Cyberlink Power DVD 6 Graphics driver, VTuner 2, Microsoft DirectX, Cyberlink Power DVD 6, Cyberlink Power Director 3 ME Graphics driver, 3D Turbo Experience, Live Update, Good MEM, Lock Box, WMIInfo, Secure Doc, E-Color, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft DirectX, Norton AntiVirus, ThinSoft BeTwin, Media Ring Dialer, D.O.T., Power Cinema, Power2Go, Power Producer
Bundled Games Spell Force Xpand Rally, Joint Operations Chronicles of Riddick
Accessoiries none none none
Manufacturer/Model Asus Geforce 7800 GT Extreme Asus 7800 GTX Extreme Gigabyte Geforce 6600 GT Silentpipe II eVGA Geforce 7800 GTX Black Pearl
Space Requirement 1 slot 1 slot 2 slots 1 slot
CPU Cooling copper heat sink and fan aluminum heat sink and fan passive copper heat sink (no fan) aluminum heat sink with water cooling
Memory Cooling aluminum aluminum none aluminum
Connectors 2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video) 2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video) 1x DVI-I, 1x analog D-Sub, Video Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video) 2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)
Power Supply via PCI Express via PCI Express n/a via PCI Express
Video Connector Solution external breakout box external breakout box external breakout box adapter cables
Additional AUX Power Supply yes yes no yes
Adapters 2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub 2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub 1x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub 2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub, 12V-to-7V power
Bundled Application Software Graphics driver, WDM Capture Driver 4.13, Microsoft DirectX, Smart Doc 4.71, Video Security Online 3.0.1.8, Game Face Live 2.51. Game Live Show 1.00, Enhanced Driver 1.16, Cyberlink Power Director 3DE, Mediashow SE 2.0, AsusDVD, Manual CD Graphics driver, WDM Capture Driver 4.13, Microsoft DirectX, Smart Doc 4.71, Video Security Online 3.0.1.8, Game Face Live 2.51. Game Live Show 1.00, Enhanced Driver 1.16, Cyberlink Power Director 3DE, Mediashow SE 2.0, AsusDVD, Manual CD Graphics driver, VTuner 2, Microsoft DirectX, Cyberlink Power DVD 6 Graphics driver (with clock adjustment), Res Changer
Bundled Games Xpand Rally, Joint Operations, Project Snowblind Joint Operations, Project Snowblind Xpand Rally none
Accessoiries CD collection box CD collection box none Corrosion protection for water cooling, radiator, 120mm fan, hoses, Eheim pump, water reservoir
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