PNY Geforce 6 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 AGP 8X
Price: £110 inc VAT @ time of writing
Date: Feb 2006
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In the Video Card market two companies dominate these are NVIDIA or ATI. Both fiercely compete to provide the best product range for the main user market and of course the gaming market where having a powerful card is required to allow you to play or achieve the best results from the latest title.
Both companies have enjoyed successful card ranges, NVIDIA's praised cards include the 5700 Ultra and 5900 which appealed to the main market of users in the sub $200/£110 price range.
Card technology has changed vastly in the last four or five years from the first arrival of AGP cards right through to the latest AGP and now PCIe technology is leading the way.
However this new card technology means that most users will need to upgrade their motherboard to be able to use PCIe and as a result typically the CPU, and RAM as well. This can easily push the cost of an upgrade to over $350/£200 which understandably will put off a large portion of users who are happy with their AGP and can not justify the vast additional cost.
So the answer was for cards to be produced with the AGP format, this allows user to afford an upgrade without needing to overhaul their system.
The card we are looking at today is the PNY Geforce 6 6600GT 128MB GDDR3 AGP 8X card powered by NVIDIA chipset.
What does that all mean?
PNY Technologies are a leading company specialising in manufacturer and supply of several computer products.
Geforce 6 is the series number for the NVIDIA card
6600 GT is the model number of the card
128MB GDDR3 is the amount of memory on the card. This is a high performance memory which is dedicated to the video card.
NVIDIA® CineFXT 3.0 Engine
Superscalar GPU architecture
500MHz core clock
128-bit high-speed DDR3 memory interface
900MHz memory data rate 14.4GB/sec. memory bandwidth
4.0 billion texels/sec. fill rate
375 million vertices/sec. Setup
8 pixels per clock (peak)
16 textures per pixel (max in a single rendering pass)
Dual 400MHz RAMDACs
Maximum display resolution 2048 x 1536 @ 85Hz
Flat-panel display support with resolutions up to 1920 x 1200
Minimum System Requirements
Integrated HDTV-output brings content from your desktop to your high-definition TV.
128MB system RAM
A 300W system power supply
An AGP 2.0 (or higher) compliant motherboard
50MB of available hard disk space
CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
Microsoft® Windows® 98 or higher, ME, 2000, XP, or Windows® NT4.0 (SP6)
VGA or DVI-I compatible monitor
What you get:
NNVIDIA® GeForceT 6600 GT AGP 8X graphics card
Quick Installation Guide
CD which includes:
Detailed Installation Guide (PDF file)
NVIDIA® GeForceT drivers
Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0c
NVIDIA® GeForceT demos
PNY & NVIDIA® Desktop Wallpapers
2 DVI-to-VGA adapters
HDTV-out breakout pod
The card itself:
Like other graphic cards in recent years they are rather large and normally come with a fan of some sorts to aid in cooling the processor and memory chips. This model is no different however it does come with a large heat sink and fan which occupies over a third of the cards surface area.
The attached fan is smaller than I imagined but with the design of the heat sink and the way the air moves over the card the fan itself doesn't need to be too big.
To provide sufficient power to the card there is a power connector on the edge of the card.
It is possible to use the card without additional power connected, if you do you will receive a message during start-up detailing the card does not have sufficient power and has lowered the performance setting accordingly. So of course you should ensure that the you have a free power connector or purchase a splitter to make one available so that you can use the full performance of the card.
No real problems to report, I removed my previous card and slotted this into its place, connected a power connector to the card and then booted. The fan on the card is very quiet my Northbridge fan on my motherboard and of course the processor heat sink fans make a lot more noise than this one did.
The system I used was running Windows XP, and as expected it installed the standard VGA drivers and prompted me to inset the driver CD. A few clicks and a reboot later and the card was installed. The only changes I made were to increase the refresh rate to my preferred setting.
The card ran effortlessly, it was quiet and as expected worked perfectly in everyday applications. When playing games such as Half Life 2 etc the improvement in textures and speed of the graphics loading on screen was a big leap over my current low end card. You do need to take into account that the machine used for this review is not one of the latest 64-bit dual core processor based models with vast amounts of memory. Instead it is of a performance I would call entry level by today's standards 1.5GHz with 512MB of ram.
So when comparing any of the results below you should expect a jump in performance if used with a higher end setup.
Performance of graphic cards can be very hard to convey to the reader. This card made a vast improvement in speed of textures and maps loading in everygame I tried. As expected it performed flawlessly and is highly reccomended.
Not only can you play the latest graphic hungry titles around but you can of course take advantage of the other connectors to allow DVI interface and dual screens to be used so you can spread your desktop and workspace over a much larger distance.
Price wise it is very reasonable, remeber this is from the latest Geforce range with a fast processor dedicated to graphics and plenty of fast DDR3 ram to allow it to run quickly.