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Seven of NVIDIA's Latest and Greatest Cards Tested

Conclusion

In the sub $200 market segment, the Gigabyte GeForce 6600 GT Silentpipe-II is a good solution. The MSI 6600 GT is a good pick for those who don't always need to run their cards at full speed and use many 2D applications in Windows; its Core Cell 3D Center tool enables users to adjust the card's clock speeds and fan speeds.

In the $350 bracket, Gigabyte's 7800 GT, with its Zalman cooler, is a better pick than the Asus model. A dual 6600 GT configuration does not seem very attractive considering it is outperformed by a single 7800 GT.

Moving to the $550 segment, Gigabyte's 7800 GTX Turbo Force is the fastest solution; its high stock frequencies are guaranteed by the manufacturer. Adventurous buyers could try to raise the clock speeds of the Asus card to similar levels, but would void their warranty in the attempt.

If price is not an issue, the SLI situation is as follows. Gigabyte guarantees high clock speeds with its Turbo Force cards, while Asus cards can only be overclocked at your own risk. eVGA's water cooled 7800 GTX is the quieter alternative, with the added benefit of a real 512 MB of video memory.

Card Feature Table

Manufacturer/ModelGigabyte Geforce 7800 GT -ZKGigabyte Geforce 7800 GTX Turbo ForceMSI Geforce 6600 GT Diamond
Space Requirement2 slots1 slot1 slot
CPU Coolingaluminum heat sink and fancopper heat sink and fancopper heat sink and fan
Memory Coolingnonealuminumcopper
Connectors2x DVI-I, Video Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)
Power Supplyvia PCI Expressvia PCI Expresssmall drive connector (floppy)
Video Connector Solutionexternal breakout boxexternal breakout boxexternal breakout box
Additional AUX Power Supplyyesyesyes
Adapters2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub1x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub
Bundled Application SoftwareGraphics driver, VTuner 2, Microsoft DirectX, Cyberlink Power DVD 6Graphics driver, VTuner 2, Microsoft DirectX, Cyberlink Power DVD 6, Cyberlink Power Director 3 MEGraphics driver, 3D Turbo Experience, Live Update, Good MEM, Lock Box, WMIInfo, Secure Doc, E-Color, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft DirectX, Norton AntiVirus, ThinSoft BeTwin, Media Ring Dialer, D.O.T., Power Cinema, Power2Go, Power Producer
Bundled GamesSpell ForceXpand Rally, Joint OperationsChronicles of Riddick
Accessoiriesnonenonenone
Manufacturer/ModelAsus Geforce 7800 GT ExtremeAsus 7800 GTX ExtremeGigabyte Geforce 6600 GT Silentpipe IIeVGA Geforce 7800 GTX Black Pearl
Space Requirement1 slot1 slot2 slots1 slot
CPU Coolingcopper heat sink and fanaluminum heat sink and fanpassive copper heat sink (no fan)aluminum heat sink with water cooling
Memory Coolingaluminumaluminumnonealuminum
Connectors2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)1x DVI-I, 1x analog D-Sub, Video Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)2x DVI-I, Video In/Out (HDTV, Composite + S-Video)
Power Supplyvia PCI Expressvia PCI Expressn/avia PCI Express
Video Connector Solutionexternal breakout boxexternal breakout boxexternal breakout boxadapter cables
Additional AUX Power Supplyyesyesnoyes
Adapters2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub1x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub2x DVI to analog VGA D-Sub, 12V-to-7V power
Bundled Application SoftwareGraphics driver, WDM Capture Driver 4.13, Microsoft DirectX, Smart Doc 4.71, Video Security Online 3.0.1.8, Game Face Live 2.51. Game Live Show 1.00, Enhanced Driver 1.16, Cyberlink Power Director 3DE, Mediashow SE 2.0, AsusDVD, Manual CDGraphics driver, WDM Capture Driver 4.13, Microsoft DirectX, Smart Doc 4.71, Video Security Online 3.0.1.8, Game Face Live 2.51. Game Live Show 1.00, Enhanced Driver 1.16, Cyberlink Power Director 3DE, Mediashow SE 2.0, AsusDVD, Manual CDGraphics driver, VTuner 2, Microsoft DirectX, Cyberlink Power DVD 6Graphics driver (with clock adjustment), Res Changer
Bundled GamesXpand Rally, Joint Operations, Project SnowblindJoint Operations, Project SnowblindXpand Rallynone
AccessoiriesCD collection boxCD collection boxnoneCorrosion protection for water cooling, radiator, 120mm fan, hoses, Eheim pump, water reservoir