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

Equipment

The N6600GT's array of software components is quite respectable, but like so many other cards, most of the included programs are outdated. Asus has included the program PowerDirector 3DE from Cyberlink for video processing - the current version is Version 4 (the upgrade costs $49.95). Also from Cyberlink, the presentation program Medi@Show SE 2.0 is included; it too is outdated (current: 3.0, an upgrade costs $24.95). The package is rounded out with the ASUSDVD player software.

The card's game bundle is considerably more attractive. Asus made an excellent choice with the full version of the Internet multi-player game Joint Operations from Novalogic - at least, if you're a fan of first-person shooters.

Screenshot of the game Joint Operations, Typhoon Rising

The driver CD contains the obligatory card driver and a few utilities as well. Asus GameFace is an audio and video chat program for online gamers. The software superimposes a small window with video pictures of the other participants, or can even reproduce a video while playing - though this is not possible with the N6600GT due to the lack of video inputs. Even the closed-circuit TV software VideoSecurity cannot be used with the card tested here.

Accessible via hotkeys in games: the Asus OSD software.

On the other hand, the Asus on-screen display (OSD) is practical -you can call up a menu to regulate the brightness, contrast and gamma values in games through the press of a key you can define. The utility Asus SmartDoctor is limited to simple overclocking functions.

The Asus utility SmartDoctor only runs properly with Asus' own graphics drivers. Since the tool just offers overclocking functions with the N6600GT, one can easily live without it.

Only a composite TV connection cable was included in the package; we missed a (YPbPr) HDTV cable. However, Asus did not forget to include a DVI-to-VGA adapter to connect a second CRT monitor to the card.

Summary

The Asus Extreme N6600GT is a card with no special strengths or weaknesses, so it's really hard to get excited about it. The 3D performance corresponds to the usual GeForce 6600 GT level, as do the other components of the card. Asus fans looking for a more capable 6600 card should check out the N6600GT TOP model, which is rated faster.

Overview ASUS
Product NameExtreme X6600GT(EN6600GT/TD/128M/A)
ManufacturerASUS
Graphics ProcessorNVIDIA GeForce 6600Codename NV43
Bus Standardx16 PEG
Memory128 MB
Memory TypeGDDR3
Core Clock Speed500 MHz
Memory Clock Speed1000 MHz
Memory Buswidth128 bit
Memory Bandwidth16.0 GB/s
Pixel Pipelines8
Vertex Shader Units3
Outputs
VGA1x
DVI1x
TV-OutS-VideoComposite
TV-Out HDTV Support+
Dual-Link DVI-
Inputs
Power Cable-
Video-In-
TV-In (Tuner)-
Audio-In-
Equipment
CoolingCooling Fan
Adjustable Fan-Speed-
Hardware-MonitoringTemperature
DVI-I -> VGA Adaptor+
CablesS-Video->CompositeAdaptor Cable
(HDTV) YPrPb output-
Bundle
Software BundleASUSDVDPowerDirector 3DEMedi@show SE 2ASUS Tools
Games BundleJoint Operations: TyphoonRising
Others/Specials-