Superficially, the Gigabyte Eagle looks like it should be just as capable as any other midrange GPU. It has three fans and a dual-slot configuration, and with a TDP of only 160W we would expect it to run cool and quiet. Performance ended up being nearly identical to the other two cards, though technically it did come in last place out of the three RX 6600 XT models we've tested, but the fans tell a different story. They work harder, and as a result generate more noise.
If you can't find any other RX 6600 XT cards in stock, the Gigabyte Eagle should still do fine. We also haven't tested every one of the dozen or more RX 6600 XT cards that are presently launched in the U.S. market, and some might be even worse than the Eagle when it comes to fan noise. But if you have the choice between something like the Sapphire Pulse and the Eagle, we'd pick the Pulse every time.
It feels like Gigabyte just cut a few too many corners on the RX 6600 XT Eagle. Slightly larger fans could move more air and generate less noise. Integrating a rim like the Sapphire Pulse would also improve static pressure and cooling. Gigabyte makes a point of having the middle fan spin clockwise while the two outside fans spin counterclockwise, saying this reduces turbulence, but the net effect on cooling wasn't better than competing designs. What's more, Gigabyte appears to use the exact same "3x80mm Windforce 3X cooling system" on its higher-end Gaming and Gaming Pro models. Those do add a bit of RGB bling to the package, but I can't help but question using these same fans with higher GPU clocks on "premium" models.
The Gigabyte Eagle isn't a bad card, but it does seem uninspired. It will get the job done, just like other budget RX 6600 XT models. Will it do so in a better fashion than the competition? Probably not. It's time to update the fans and heatsink to get back to parity with the competition, because right now, the dual-fan Sapphire Pulse comes out ahead and doesn't cost anything extra.
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