Asus Extreme N6600GT – SLI Part 2

asus-extreme-6600gt

Introduction

As a continuation on our evaluation of the nForce4-SLI hardware that Asus sent us for review, we are going to take a closer look at Asus’ SLI compatible Extreme N6600GT series of video cards. This is Part 2 of a three part suite of articles. Part 1 took a look at the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe Motherboard which performed well, and is one of the first SLI capable motherboards to the market. This article, Part 2, will evaluate how well a standalone EN6600GT performs, and in Part 3 we will delve into the performance SLI gives you, any issues that were encountered and what we think of the technology.

Part 2 – Video Card – Asus Extreme N6600GT
The Asus Extreme N6600GT is part of the nVidia GeForce6 GPU family of video cards and uses the new higher bandwidth PCI-Express interface. Having the bleeding edge performance-and-cost 6800 series cards as its bigger brother, the 6600GT series of video cards are geared toward the gamer with a budget with a price tag around $200! The GT variant is different than the basic 6600 cards in that the graphics processor is 200 MHz faster than the stock 6600, and it uses GDDR3 with a 128bt memory bus instead of GDDR memory yielding much faster memory clock speeds.

Below is a comparison chart showing the differences between several Geforce6 series graphics cards:

Card
Pixel Pipelines
Vertex Pipelines
Core Speed
Memory Speed
Memory Type
Memory Size
6800GT
16
6
350 MHz
1000 Mhz
256-bit GDDR3
256 MB
6800
12
5
325 MHz
700 Mhz
256-bit GDDR
128 MB
6600GT
8
3
500 MHz
1000 Mhz
128-bit GDDR3
128/256 MB
6600
8
3
300 MHz
550 Mhz
64/128-bit GDDR
128 MB

As you can see the 6600 series uses 4 less pixel and 2 less vertex pipelinesthan the base 6800 series. Though with the 6600GT model with its higher clock and memory speeds, on paper it should produce some very good results at lower resolutions, but get bogged down at higher resolutions as compared to the 6800’s. Higher resolutions are where you see a big impact on the number pixel and vertex pipelines the GPU has available (a 1600×1200 screen has roughly 2.4 times more pixels to perform calculations for than a 1024×768 screen).

Here are the specifications and a full feature list for the Asus Extreme N6600GT:

Asus Extreme N6600GT Specifications:

Feature
Description
Graphics Engine
GeForce 6600GT
Video Memory
128 M DDR3
Engine Clock
500MHz
Memory Clock
1GHz(500MHz DDR3)
RAMDAC
400MHz
Bus Standard
PCI-Express
Memory Interface
128-bit
Max Resolution
2048×1536
VGA Output
Standard 15-pin D-sub
TV Output
S-Video
DVI Output
DVI-I
2nd VGA Output
Yes

nVidia GeForce 6600GT Features:

  • Revolutionary Superscalar Architecture – Delivers up to 8x the shading power of previous generation products for screaming gaming performance.
  • CineFX 3.0 Engine – Powers the next generation of cinematic realism. Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 enables stunning and complex special effects. Next-generation shader architecture delivers faster and smoother gameplay.
  • NVIDIA PureVideo Technology – The combination of the GeForce 6 Series GPUs’ high-definition video processor and NVIDIA video decode software delivers unprecedented HD video, stunning picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for all video content to turn your PC into a high-end home theater. Feature requires supported video software. Features may vary by product.
  • Adaptable Programmable Video Processor – PureVideo’s programmable technology adapts to new video encoding formats as they are developed to provide a future-proof video solution.
  • UltraShadow II Technology – Enhances the performance of bleeding-edge games, like id Software’s Doom III, that feature complex scenes with multiple light sources and objects. 2nd-generation technology delivers more than 4x the shadow processing power over the previous generation.
  • 64-Bit Texture Filtering and Blending – Based on the OpenEXR technology from Industrial Light & Magic, NVIDIA’s 64-bit texture implementation sets new standards for image clarity and quality through floating point capabilities in shading, filtering, texturing, and blending.
  • Intellisample 3.0 Technology – The industry’s fastest antialiasing delivers ultra-realistic visuals, with no jagged edges, at lightning-fast speeds. Visual quality is taken to new heights through a new rotated grid sampling pattern.
  • Unified Driver Architecture (UDA) – Part of the NVIDIA Forceware unified software environment (USE). The NVIDIA UDA guarantees forward and backward compatibility with software drivers. Simplifies upgrading to a new NVIDIA product because all NVIDIA products work with the same driver software.
  • nView Multi-Display Technology – The nView hardware and software technology combination delivers maximum flexibility for multi-display options, and provides unprecedented end-user control of the desktop experience. NVIDIA GPUs are enabled to support multi-displays, but graphics cards vary. Please verify multi-display support in the graphics card before purchasing.
  • Digital Vibrance Control 3.0 Technology – Allows the user to adjust color controls digitally to compensate for the lighting conditions of their workspace, in order to achieve accurate, bright colors in all conditions.
  • NVIDIA SLI Technology – Dramatically scales performance by allowing two graphics cards to be run in parallel. (GeForce 6800 Ultra, 6800 GT, 6800, and 6600 GT only)
  • PCI Express Certified – Designed to run perfectly with the next-generation PCI Express bus architecture. This new bus doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8X delivering over 4GB/s in both upstream and downstream data transfers. Only supported in some NVIDIA GPUs. Please check product details for bus information.
  • Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Optimizations and Support – Ensures the best performance and application compatibility for all DirectX 9 applications.
  • High-Definition MPEG-2 Hardware Acceleration – Smoothly playback all MPEG-2 video with minimal CPU usage so the PC is free to do other work. Battery-life is extended when watching DVDs while running on battery. MPEG-2 is the standard format for DVDs, is accepted as a format for HD-DVD, and is also used for HD broadcast.
  • High-Quality Real-Time Video Recording – Get full digital video recording functionality without losing data. With NVIDIA PureVideo technology, high-quality recording preserves picture detail while also using minimal space to store videos on the hard drive.
  • WMV-HD Hardware Acceleration – Playback videos in Microsoft’s Windows Media Video High Definition (WMV-HD) format without skipping frames or losing video detail. Accepted by the HD-DVD consortium as a new HD format, WMV-HD is now part of Windows XP to make it easy for users to edit and save their favorite videos.
  • Advanced Spatial Temporal De-Interlacing – Smoothes video and DVD playback on progressive displays to deliver a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home theater systems.
  • Vibrant Color Temperature Correction – Color temperature correction makes actors’ faces appear natural, rather than washed out and pale, when playing videos on LCD and CRT displays.
  • High-Speed GDDR3 Memory Interface – Support for the world’s fastest GDDR3 memory delivers fluid frame rates for even the most advanced games and applications. (Supported in the GeForce Go 6800, GeForce 6800 Ultra, 6800 GT, 6800, and 6600 GT only)
  • Full-Speed 32-Bit Color Precision – Delivers increased image quality with no performance compromise.
  • OpenGL® 2.0 Optimizations and Support – Ensures the best performance and application compatibility for all OpenGL applications.
  • Dual 400MHz RAMDACs – Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates–up to 2048×1536@85Hz.
  • Dual-Link DVI Support – Able to drive the industry’s largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays.
  • Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 Support – Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for all DirectX 9 applications, including Shader Model 3.0 titles.
  • Integrated HDTV Encoder – Provides world-class HDTV-out functionality up to and including 1920x1080i resolutions.