XFXThis card is the beast of our roundup: The XFX 6600GT Extreme Gamer Edition. XFX is the only vendor that we've seen take a stand and do something different. The first thing to notice is the dual DVI connectors on the board. This isn't normally something one would need on a mid-range solution, but having just come from newegg.com and noticed that the standard XFX card with dual DVI costs less than some PCIe 6600 GT parts without dual DVI, there's no reason to start talking about cost being a huge issue, and thus, no good argument for why dual DVI isn't on these cards.
There is something that this card has for which a premium may be charged: 1.6ns GDDR3 running at 600MHz. We haven't seen pricing yet, but this part is obviously not going to be the "be all, end all" value of graphics cards. Adding memory bandwidth is a good thing for the 6600 GT, considering the 128-bit bus. The problem is that the performance benefit is maybe half the increase in memory bandwidth, if we are lucky. And we might see better scaling with AA enabled, but on a mainstream part, that's pushing the limits.
Anyway, modifying the stock HSF, XFX placed a copper plate between the die and heatsink in order to increase the tension in the spring pegs and keep harder pressure on the GPU. Also, they are doing the same thing that we saw Leadtek do - there is a bit of material around the silicon that acts as a spacer between the rest of the GPU and the heatsink. This is necessary because the copper plate lifted the rubber nubs off the PCB making them ineffective stabilizers.
This card was loud, but cooled well due to their innovative adaptation of the stock cooling solution. The inclusion of 1.6ns GDDR3 will also be very attractive at a default clock speed of 600MHz. But this will not be appealing if it is incredibly higher priced than the current round of 6600 GT products, especially since (whether by design or chance) Sparkle's 6600 GT had 2ns RAM that overclocked to 610MHz as well.