Entry-Level Performance: Radeon X1600 XT And GeForce 6600 GT
ATI Radeon X1600 XT 256 MB - Asus EAX1600XT Silent
Nvidia GeForce 6600GT 128 MB - MSI NX6600GT
Make no mistake, if it's a visually stunning Oblivion gaming experience you're after, neither of these solutions come close to making the grade. Granted, the Radeon X1600 XT takes the spoils virtually across the board. But with an average frame rate of just 12 FPS with HDR enabled in the Great Forest High Quality benchmark, it's an empty victory. Even with HDR and Bloom lighting disabled, neither card can break the 20 FPS barrier in High Quality configuration. And remember, all of these tests were conducted at a relatively lowly 1024x 768 screen resolution. You can forget about playing Oblivion at native resolution on a 17 or 19" 1280x1,024 panel.
In our Reduced Quality test, meanwhile, the Radeon X1600 XT finally puts some playable frame rates on the board in the Great Forest test. But for the GeForce 6600 GT, it only gets worse. It simply can't cope with the demands of the great Forest. In fairness, we should point out that the 6600's SLI multi-GPU scaling was much more effective than the Crossfire competition. The absence of a plug in dongle and the need to pass data between cards over the PCI Express is no doubt a factor in the Radeon X1600 Crossfire's disappointing performance.