GeForce 6600 GT: the Ideal Graphics Processor?
The new family of mainstream graphics processors from NVIDIA deserves our praises: with all their simplicity they found themselves capable of competing with time-tested combatants like the RADEON 9800 XT and the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra. In fact, the GeForce 6600 GT is an ideal GPU of today, since it gives you all the things you need:
- Highest performance in today games;
- High-quality drivers;
- Video coprocessor support;
- Prospective architecture;
- Shader Model 3.0 support and other potentially interesting features;
- Rather low price.
Among the potential disadvantages we should probably note only 128MB of memory on GeForce 6600 GT model and 128-but memory bus. However, since these two factors currently hardly really hold the GeForce 6600 GT back, let us wait and see whether they will really negatively influence this terrific graphics processor in future.
Unfortunately, the GeForce 6600 GT and the GeForce 6600 exist now in PCI Express implementations only. AGP versions are not impossible as the AGP-PCI bridge NVIDIA uses in its other products can work in either direction. So nothing prevents them from installing such a bridge on the card with native PCI Express support for the result to work in the AGP slot. Demand for AGP versions of the GeForce 6600 GT is forecast to be high, so the probability of such versions is high, too. Well, everything is in the hand of NVIDIA and its partners, as the GPU maker must first provide the reference design of such a card at least.
The problem of market availability has been rather urgent with the GeForce 6800 family, but shouldn’t become such with the new GPUs. The NV43 (GeForce 6600) is a simpler chip than the NV40 and is produced at TSMC’s facilities rather than at IBM’s, like the elder model. So we think no deficit should occur.
We want to mark specifically the pioneering character of NVIDIA’s release. The GeForce 6600 family chips are in fact the first mainstream graphics processors intended for the PCI Express platform. Until now, this market niche was practically empty: versions of the GeForce FX with the HIS bridge couldn’t boast a high level of performance, while the RADEON X300 and X600 were nothing more but a reincarnation of the RADEON 9600, which was no speedy racer, either. Thus, NVIDIA has pioneered the development of mainstream PCI Express graphics adapters priced at $200 and with a performance of the RADEON 9800 XT.
NVIDIA’s breakthrough shouldn’t go unnoticed by its main rival, ATI Technologies. The RADEON X700 family is ready to engage into the fight, so it’s rather early yet to summarize the results of this round of the fight.