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

Comparing The Test Candidates


We received 3 models from Albatron for this comparison test, which vary only when it comes to 3D performance and cooling; the cards are otherwise identical. We will first take a look at the three cards individually, and then discuss the common components and give you the "bottom line".

Trinity GeForce AGP6600GT

The Albatron GeForce AGP6600GT makes a good first impression. Thanks to the blue circuit board and the unusually shaped large heatsink, the card gives the impression of having great performance capabilities. The numbers suggest higher performance too: although the GPU speed is only 5 MHz over NVIDIA's reference specs at 505 MHz, the memory runs a good 50 MHz faster than standard, at 950 MHz.

Unfortunately, the positive initial impression quickly fades once the card is put into use. For starters, the fan is one of those airplane turbine types. Our hope was that the fan's speed would at least be automatically reduced after installation - as occurs for so many other cards. Unfortunately, it revs at full speed and full decibel level no matter the circumstances.

The large heatsink covers GPU and HIS bridge chip.

Not surprisingly, the card's cooling capabilities are fantastic. The large heatsink even covers up the HSI bridge chip that makes the NV43 graphics processor AGP-compatible.