Graphics cards with GeForce 6600 GT graphics processors offer very good 3D performance that exceeds the performance markers of the best models of the previous generation, at prices sometimes under $200. This makes them a very attractive upgrade option. What is surprising is the large lead of the 6600 GT compared to NVIDIA's previous top card, the GeForce 5950 Ultra. Owners of older "mainstream" cards of the GeForce 5600/5700 or Radeon 9600 variety can improve the 3D performance of their computer substantially with a GeForce 6600 update. In contrast, if you own a graphics card in the Radeon 9800 XT family and are dissatisfied with its 3D performance, you will have to spend more money to go for a Radeon X800 or GeForce 6800 model, which can offer more 3D performance. The direct competitor of the GeForce 6600 GT from ATI, the Radeon X700 Pro, is clearly inferior in terms of 3D performance in direct comparison with the GeForce 6600 cards tested here.
The Gigabyte GV-NX66T128VP made an outstanding impression on us. The card is very fast thanks to its fast memory modules and higher memory clock rate, and absolutely silent thanks to its passive cooling. The equipment, with video in and out, HDTV output and the good games bundle were also a big plus, and convinced us to recommend this card.
The best card in the test is the Gainward Ultra/1960 PCX XP 128 MB "Golden Sample" GLH - but it is also the most expensive. Due to the company's internal restructuring, however, graphics cards from Gainward are currently not available in the USA and Canada. Based on information from Gainward Europe, Gainward graphics cards should be back in the shops of North America sometime this year.