Until now, we haven't had the pleasure of playing with a midrange part based on current generation technology. At present, those who have wanted good performance at lower prices have gone with older cards that have fallen in price. This is all well and good, but consumers lose out on all the new and improved features of the latest architectures when buying high end cards of a previous generation over the midrange cards built with current technology. This is especially pertinent in light of NVIDIA's Shader Model 3.0 support. Generally, anything that can be done in SM3.0 can be done in SM2.0, but the advantage is code complexity and (sometimes) performance improvements. We've already seen examples of this in our SM3.0 analysis under FarCry.

The NV43 GPU behind the 6600 GT

Also with the new 6600 line of cards, NVIDIA is bringing out their first native PCIe line of GPUs. These should quickly be bridged back to AGP (we are told), and the sooner we see the AGP version the better. Even if PCI Express platform market share were better right now, the niche the 6600 series of cards proposes to fill is one that could appeal to everyone who uses a computer. The keys behind the 6600 series (aside from feature set) are performance and price point. All of the aspects of the 6600 series fall in line to offer a card that promises amazing value.

But we don't care about promises here. We will take a handful of the latest and greatest games across the spectrum (with a heavy focus on PS2.0), and we'll see how well the newest member of the NVIDIA family performs. As far as competition goes, we'll stack it up against current and previous generation ATI and NVIDIA cards and we'll include ATI's current midrange PCIe card, the X600XT. This isn't supposed to be a direct comparison, as the X600 is still based on previous generations ATI technology. We will make a bigger deal of the ATI/NVIDIA comparison when we have a midrange R4xx desktop part in our hands.

High-Tech Mid-Range


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  • Cybercat - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Very nice performance. Best mainstream card in a LONG time. Reply
  • Carfax - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    WHY where two sets of drivers used?!? Why couldn't you just use the 65.76 drivers for both the 6600GT and the rest of the Nvidia cards? Reply
  • ViRGE - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    And continuing on #20's tangent, the 5950 Ultra beats the 6600GT by 200%? That definitely isn't right. Reply
  • railer - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    I don't think those Jedi Knight results are correct. 9800xt beats the 9700 pro by 300%? I think not...... Reply
  • Doormat - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    "That isn't to say that they are less power hungry than an AGP card that requires external power, but that the PCI Express slot supplies enough voltage to the card that it doesn't need any more juice."

    Nitpick: the AGP and PCIE slots provides enough voltage, but the main restriction is current. Each spec is designed to deliver so many amps of current at the specified voltage. As cards get bigger and badder, they draw more current, and need the extra power hookups.
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    I'm puzzled as to why the 6600GT beats the 6800(straight) so often. Doesn't the 6800 have a full 256-bit path? Reply
  • neogodless - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    Yes, fix "looses" on the final page!

    Crazy to see a Radeon 9700 Pro do so poorly... very surprised it's doing poorly compared to the 9600/X600. Is that right? Doesn't seem right to me...
  • Jalf - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    #14: Yeah, but looks kinda weird that half the charts only shows those two cards, while the other half shows the full spectrum :) Reply
  • Falloutboy - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    looks pretty good to me even at its worse its still on par with a 9800xt and in alot of games is besting the x800pro looks like a pretty good deal at 200 bucks prolly will go cheaper once it hits the stores in mass Reply
  • Saist - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - link

    ksherman : overclock a GF2 MX? I think you have that confused with a GF4-4200. I've never been able to successfully OC a GF2 MX.

    mcveigh : Nvidia does have intentions to add DVI->Component adapter support into Forceware. Good luck on it being stable though.

    Jalf: If you read the beginning of the article, you'll note that Anandtech originally was going to compare the 6600GT to the ATi Radeon X600 series card because there was no "underpowered" X800-PE to compete with the 6600GT. All of those only 2 card charts were showing the PCIe 6600GT vs. the nearest (under-pricepoint) Radeon PCIe product.

    Questar : Read my earlier note and stop trolling please. It's rather obvious why the charts suddenly changed if you had bothered to read the words and not the pretty pictures. Most of the article was comparing PCIe cards to AGP cards. Please, think before you troll.

    Illissius : It's not really that odd. The GF6 tech is present in full, so the 6600GT does benifit from the better memory controller and other optimizations. However, as we notice, once we start enable filtering, the card is easily decimated by the competition. I think I'll stick with my 9800 Pro's for now.

    mickyb : if memory serves correctly, the stock cooling fan was ~50 db back in May. It was still a little obnoxious for a fan, but nowhere near as bad as it's older brethren. Looking at the card Anandtech appeared to have, I'd guess the noise range was probably between 40-50 db. Doesn't look like Nvidia changed much.

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