The prices for high end videocards have shot through the
roof in the last few years, and now each new generation seems to
burst past the $500 point... sigh. Luckily for the rest of us, the situation has remained "sane" in the mainstream graphics card markets. For the person who doesn't want to mortgage their house to upgrade, there are some fairly decent alternatives.
If you're looking for a new videocard, the Albatron
GeForce 6600-512 might be what the doctor ordered. With a retail price of $173 CDN ($150 USD/£86GBP), the Albatron GeForce 6600-512 offers users a decent casual 3D gaming videocard that doesn't break the bank. Backed up by 512MB of DDR2 memory which has a speed of 500 MHz, it also has enough space to handle those high textures games, although realistically at more conservative resolutions.
With more people connecting their PC to the television,
the PCI Express x16 Albatron
GeForce 6600-512 also supports all the latest
TV output standards like S-Video, composite and of course YPbPr component
output. Who needs Intel VIIV or AMD Live, enthusiasts already know how to build
their own HTPC. ;-)
To help keep prices low, Albatron does not include any extra software with this videocard. That should not be much of a concern anyway, most titles included with videocards are often outdated anyway. The quiet running Albatron GeForce 6600-512 videocard is supported by 512MB of DDR2 memory, and the card does not require any external power sources.
The Albatron GeForce 6600-512 videocard is refreshingly small and should not have any issues with compact PCs. Like most other GeForce 6600's, this Albatron card is based on the reference design and layout too. The videocard supports dual displays and has (1) analog and (1) digital DVI video connection. Should users want to use dual analog monitors, they will first have to get a DVI-to-analog converter since one is not included in the package.
The nVidia GeForce 6600 core does not produce a lot of
heat, so manufactures can get by with less extravagant cooling solutions.
Albatron has equipped the GeForce 6600-512 videocard with a red aluminum
heatsink and relatively quiet 50mm fan. During testing the heatsink was moderately
warm during the heat of a 3D benchmarking session.
The eight DDR2 BGA DRAM modules that surround the core do not require any form of cooling. Users looking for something quiet will definitely like the Albatron GeForce 6600-512. Should you decide to change the stock heatsink for something better, that is possible thanks to the six holes around the NV43 core.
A printed quick installation guide comes with the Albatron GeForce 6600-512 videocard. The multi-language manual is detailed and to the point. Even novice computer users shouldn't have too much difficulty following these instructions. Still a full copy of the users manual might have been helpful.