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Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D GeForce 6600GT Videocard Review

Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D GeForce 6600GT Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: On the accessory front, the Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D includes a DVI/VGA converter and a Component/S-Video break out box.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Dec 10 2004   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D

The NV43 and SLI!

There's been a lot of focus lately on how ATi and nVIDIA's mainstream cards only have half the rendering pipelines of their high end counterparts. Let's remember something here though, both the NV43 and R410 have eight pixel rendering pipelines. This is the same number as on the Radeon 9800XT, and twice that of the GeForceFX 5950 Ultra, and those cards are still pretty darn fast. That should already tell you that performance will be good.

As mentioned earlier, the GeForce 6600GT core is built on IBM's 0.11 micron manufacturing process and contains a whopping 146 million transistors. nVIDIA has cut the vertex pipelines from the six found in the GeForce 6800 class cards to three in the GeForce 6600GT. To economize further, the memory controller has also been cut in half to 128bit. That means at high resolutions with AA/AF enabled, the NV43 will not be able to handle things as well as its more expensive sibling.

There are two models of the NV43, the GeForce 6600GT and plain GeForce 6600. The 'GT' that we're testing now has a core clock speed of 500 MHz, and memory running at 1 GHz. The vanilla Geforce 6600 version runs at 300 MHz core / 500 MHz memory. Both cards support all the latest DirectX 9.0C goodness as well as nVIDIA's SM (Shader Model) 3.0.

Twin Videocards with nVidia SLI

One of the most exciting features of the Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D is support for nVidia's SLI (Scalable Link Interface, not Scan Line Interface as 3dfx called it) technology. What this means is with a compatible motherboard, you can run two PCI Express GeForce 6600GT videocards in parallel! In theory this will potentially double the raw rendering power of the system!

SLI today is different than it was back in 1998 when 3dfx released the Voodoo2. Back then, two Voodoo2 cards would each work on half the image to be rendered. The primary card would render all even lines of the resolution while the secondary card would render the odd lines.

nVIDIA does things a bit differently. One card renders the top half of the image and the other card renders the bottom half. These cards are linked together with a U-shaped connector that comes with the motherboard.

At the moment you can only SLI videocards of the same class, for example two GeForce 6600GT's or two GeForce 6800 Ultra's, but not a 6600GT and a 6800 class card. Whether or not you'll be able to SLI lower end cards with higher end cards in the future is still unclear (but we wouldn't bet on it).

Overclocking!

Overclocking is always a lot of fun, but finding the absolute top speed on nVIDIA videocards has been more difficult ever since nVIDIA integrated thermal throttling into their cores. They meant well, of course... after all nVIDIA is just trying to save its customers from damaging their videocards.

Keeping this in mind, I began to raise the clock speed of the core slowly. We got to 570 MHz with no graphics issues at all. Feeling brave, I made a big jump to 600 MHz. Sadly, the card instantly locked up. By playing nice again, we reached a top speed of 583 MHz. Anything more and the card would lock up while running the CodeCreatures benchmark.

Since this card uses Samsung K4J55323QF-GC20 GDDR3 BGA DRAM modules, I had some high hopes for overclocking the memory. Going up in 10 MHz intervals, we were easily able to pass the 1.1 GHz mark. Artifacts only started to appear once we passed 1.13 GHz. Definitely not a bad overclock from 2ns memory!

Things took a turn for the worse once we tried to get the core and memory to overclock together. At 583 MHz core and 1.13 GHz memory we saw heavy artifacting when running 3D benchmarks. In the end we had to lower the core speed to 568 MHz and the memory to 1.07 GHz. Anything higher on either setting and the card would give us problems.

PCStats Test System Specs:
System 1 System 2
Processor:

Intel Pentium 4 540

Intel Pentium 4 3.0C

Clock Speed: 16 x 200 MHz = 3.2 GHz 15 x 200 MHz = 3.0 GHz
Motherboards:

Gigabyte 8ANXP-D, i925X

Gigabyte 8KNXP, i875P

Videocard:

Gigabyte GV-RX60X128V
Gigabyte GV-NX57128D
MSI PCX5750-TD128
Albatron Trinity PC5900
Asus eXtreme EAX600XT
Gigabyte GV-RX70P256V
Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D

ATi Radeon 9800XT
ATi Radeon 9800 Pro
ATi Radeon 9700 Pro
Asus Radeon 9600XT
MSI FX5950 Ultra-TD128
MSI FX5900U-VTD256
MSI FX5900XT-VTD128
AOpen GeForceFX 5900XT

Memory:

2x 256MB Crucial Ballistix DDR2

2x 256MB Corsair TwinX 3200LL

Hard Drive: 40GB WD Special Ed 40GB WD Special Ed
CDROM: Gigabyte DVD Burner MSI X48 CD-RW/DVD-ROM
PowerSupply: Vantec Stealth 470W Vantec Stealth 470W
Software Setup

WindowsXP Build 2600
Intel INF 6.0.1012
Catalyst 4.11
Detonator 66.93

WindowsXP Build 2600
Intel INF 6.0.1012
Catalyst 4.11
Detonator 66.93

Benchmarks

3DMark2001SE
3DMark05
CodeCreatures
AquaMark
Gun Metal 2
X2 The Threat
UT2003
Doom3

AA Test, AF and AA+AF Test
3DMark2001SE
X2 The Threat
UT2003

The AGP and PCI-E systems are different, but the results are included for reference. We usually run AquaMark3 tests, but unfortunately the benchmark refused to run with the Gigabyte GV-RX70P256V.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D
 Pg 1.  Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D GeForce 6600GT Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  — The NV43 and SLI!
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, 3DMark05
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: CodeCreatures
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: AquaMark 2.3
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: AquaMark3
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Gun Metal 2
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: X2: The Threat
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: UT2003
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: Doom 3
 Pg 11.  Advanced Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, X2: The Threat
 Pg 12.  Advanced Benchmarks: UT2003

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