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NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT Comes To THG's Lab

Test Setup

For our test setup we chose an Intel D925XCV desktop motherboard based on the i925 chipset, featuring PCI Express and running an Intel Pentium 4 540 processor clocked at 3.2 GHz. For comparison, we also tested the PCI Express cards GeForce 6800 GT, a GeForce PCX 5750, a Radeon X800 XT (non PE), and a Radeon X600. On an AGP system with i875 and P4 3.2 GHz CPU we also ran scores with a GeForce FX 5950. It is very interesting to run the 8-pipe NV38 vs. the 8-pipe NV43. There is a small difference in system performance between our 925 and 875 test system, but internal tests between equivalent NVIDIA PCIe and AGP models showed only minor differences of 1FPS or less. Finally, we also tried to show the estimated performance of the vanilla GeForce 6600 by underclocking the GT model.

For our benchmark suite we compiled a number of popular and important games and benchmarks as well as a few new releases that make heavy use of pixel and vertex shaders. Since most games don’t feature their own built-in benchmark mode, we used the tool FRAPS to determine the frame rates. You can find more details on the games and benchmarks we used in the table below. We did not run FSAA/AF with all cards. The GeForce PCX 5750, for example, does not deliver playable frame rates in most games with 4xAA/8xAF. Benchmarks with 5FPS take ages, so we decided to skip those.

One more note on driver optimizations before we begin. In its new driver release v65.76, NVIDIA has implemented a number of changes, read "optimizations", so that this release now behaves in a manner similar to ATI’s drivers. Fortunately, NVIDIA’s drivers offer an option to disable these optimizations. Nonetheless, we tested all cards of both chipmakers with the default driver settings. We will take a closer look at the resulting image quality of the optimizations in an upcoming article, as we preferred to include a greater number of benchmarks and games here instead. Besides, NVIDIA’s v65.76 beta driver only seems like an interim solution. The next official driver release will most likely carry a higher version number.

PCI Express Test System
CPUIntel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz
FSB200 MHz
MotherboardIntel D876 PBZ
Memory4x Corsair CMX256A-3200LL DDR, 1024 MB
HDDSeagate Barracude 7200.7 120 GB S-ATA (8 MB)
DVDHitachi GD-7000
LANNetgear FA-312
Power SupplyAntec True Control 550W
AGP Test System
CPUIntel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz
FSB200 MHz
MotherboardIntel D925 XCV
Memory2x Micron DDRII, 533 MHz, 1024 MB
HDDSeagate Barracude 7200.7 120 GB S-ATA (8 MB)
DVDHitachi GD-7000
LANNetgear FA-312
Power SupplyAntec True Control 550W
Drivers & Configuration
GraphicsATI Catalyst v4.8NVIDIA v65.75
ChipsetIntel Inf. Update
OSWindows XP Prof. SP1a
DirectXDirectX 9.0c
Graphic cards used in this article
ATIRadeon X800 XT PCIe (500/1000 MHz)Radeon X600 XT PCIe (500/740 MHz)
NVIDIAGeForce 6800 GT PCIe (350/1000)GeForce 6600 GT PCIe (500/1000)GeForce 6600 PCIe (GT UC->300/550)GeForce PCX 5750 PCIe (425/550)GeForce FX 5950 Ultra AGP (475/950 MHz)
Benchmarks
3DMark 2003Standard Resolution
AquaMark 3Triscore
Unreal Tournament 2004Custom TimedemoMax Details/QualityMap : Assault-FallenCity
Call Of DutyMax Details/QualityDemo : VGA
Doom3Demo : Demo1High Quality
Farcryv1.1Custom Timedemo cooler01Very High QualityFlashlight : On
Flight Simulator 2004Custom VideoCustom QualityScenario : Hong Kong at Dusk
Joint Operationsv1.3.15FRAPSTraining AircraftQuality Setting
Battlefield Vietnamv1.1FRAPSMax Details/QualityMap : Ho Chi Minh Trail
DTM Race Driver2v1.1Custom ReplayFRAPSMax Details/QualityNurburgring at rain