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

GeForce 6600 Architecture

The architecture of the GeForce 6600 graphics processor - codenamed "NV43" - is based on the NV40/45 graphics processor introduced last year, which is used on GeForce 6800 cards. On paper, NVIDIA's GeForce 6 card series offers the most modern 3D architecture currently on the market, with full DirectX 9.0c or Shader Model 3.0 support.

The structure of NVIDIA's NV43 graphics processor (GeForce 6600).

To bring the production costs of the graphics processor down to the midrange level, NVIDIA trimmed the NV43 GPU down in a few areas. The NV43 is equipped with only 8 pixel pipelines, instead of the 16 or 12 of the NV40/45. The number of vertex shader units was also reduced from 6 to 3, and the memory interface was cut from 256 bits to 128 bits in width. These measures save on transistors, and reduce the production costs of the circuit boards.

ATI Radeon X700 ProNVIDIA GeForce 6600 GTNVIDIA GeForce 6600
CodenameRV410NV43NV43
Chip Technology256 bit256 bit256 bit
Process0.11 Micron0.11 Micron0.11 Micron
Transistors120 Million143 Million143 Million
Memory Bus128 bit GDDR3128 bit GDDR3128 bit GDDR
Memory Bandwidth13.8 GB/s16.0 GB/s11.2 GB/s
Pixel Fillrate1700M Pixel/s2000M Pixel/s1200M Pixel/s
Max FSAA Mode6x4x / 4xMS+2xSS4x / 4xMS+2xSS
Triangle Transform Rate637.5 M Triangles/s375M Vertices/sec225M Vertices/sec
Busx16 PEG, AGP (soon)x16 PEG, AGPx16 PEG, AGP
Memory128/256 MB128/256 MB128/256 MB
GPU Clock425 MHz500 MHz300 MHz
Memory Clock430 MHz (860 DDR)500 MHz (1000 DDR)350 MHz (700 DDR)
Vertex Shader63 Units3 Units
Pixel Pipelines8x18x1 / 16x08x1 / 16x0
Texture Units Per Pipe111
Vertex S. Version233
Pixel S. Version2.0 Extended33
DirectX Generation99.0c9.0c
FSAA ModiMultiSamplingMultiSamplingSuperSampling Mixed ModeMultiSamplingSuperSampling Mixed Mode
Memory OptmizationsHyper Z HDLMA III OptimizedColor CompressionLMA III OptimizedColor Compression
OptmizationsSmartShader HDSmoothVision HDIntelliSample 3.0IntelliSample 3.0
Display Outputs222
Chip Internal Ramdacs2 x 400 MHz2 x 400 MHz2 x 400 MHz
Chip External Ramdacs---
Bits per Color Channel101010
SpecialTV Encoder On-Chip;VideoShader HD;3Dc Compression;Temporal AA;Adaptive Filtering;F-BufferVideo Processor and TV Encoder On-Chip;Extended Progammability;Adaptive Filtering, True Trilinear Filtering, UltraShadowVideo Processor and TV Encoder On-Chip;Extended ProgammabilityAdaptive Filtering, True Trilinear Filtering, UltraShadow