Final Words

Working with all of these cards has been difficult, especially when one wrong move could cause quite a few problems. We apologize for not being able to report numbers that reflect what cards from Gigabyte, MSI, and Prolink can do in terms of cooling. We extend to these three companies an invitation: if you would send us another sample, we will retest your card and amend updated numbers to our tests. At the same time, we went ahead and included these numbers because these cards were how they were sent. It is rather alarming how few precautions were taken to prevent loss of contact between the GPU and the HSF on Geforce 6600 GT cards as a whole.

Just to clarify, the specific problem that we have is when companies used a thermal adhesive that cracks, tape that tears, or something that is otherwise compromised by the torque of a freely rotating heatsink. Vendors using non-adhesive solutions tended not to suffer the kind of immediate long-term damage that we saw with the aforementioned cards, but the ultimate solution is really to stop the heatsink from moving.

In the end, we survived the test, and we have handed out our awards. Here they are without further ado.

Among the top three performers in Noise, Idle Temp, and Load Temp, this card overclocked well to boot. Armed with a padded surface mounted around the exposed silicon and a circular HSF solution, many of the stability issues that plagued other implementations were avoided. We are very pleased to award the AnandTech Gold Editor's Choice to the Leadtek Winfast PX6600 GT TDH.

This card might not be the cheapest of the bunch, but it surpasses everyone else easily with Dual DVI, 1.6ns GDDR3, a loud fan, an even louder retail package, an attempt at stabilizing the HSF, and a load temperature that never rose above 69 degrees C. The only problem with this card is that all the added features likely contribute to its less than stellar overclocking capability. And thus, the XFX Geforce 6600GT Extreme Gamer is awarded our Silver Editor's Choice.

The Galaxy 6600 GT has quite a lot going for it. It is the coolest, quietest, fastest stock card that we tested. It also has a good HSF solution that doesn't fall off as easily as some of its competition. The problem is that this coolest card is also the worst overclocker. This could be bad luck, but it could also be indicative of something else. This is the first time we've had them in our labs, and shipping 525/550 while leading in cooling secures the Galaxy 6600GT AnandTech's Bronze Editor's Choice Award.

As for the rest of the pack, they all had many strengths that are spread among many cards. We'll tell you why potential candidates didn't quite make the Editor's Choice list.

When it comes to Inno3D, we liked them because of their firmly attached HSF solution and very solid all-around performance. The real downside to Inno3D was their noise level. They weren't the best overclocker in the bunch, but they weren't worst the either.

Chaintech and Albatron missed Editor's Choice because they didn't have any stabilization on their heatsinks. The problems that inflicted Gigabyte and MSI could just as easily have happened to them.

Solving this HSF mounting problem was one of the top issues for us today, and it should be a key factor in the decision for anyone in an IT build room or whose idea of a good time is playing around in their case. Being careful (taunting fate?) is fine if you open your box once every year-and-a-half to dust and upgrade. If your job has anything to do with video cards, and you might be seeing one of the cards that we mentioned in this review, don't get anything without a completely stable HSF mounting system. The expanded pads are a little more stable than the solutions that only make contact with the silicon, but if were building systems with these cards, I would limit purchasing descisions to cards with some sort of 4-corner support (or zero leverage). Of the products we tested, here's our short list of IT-friendly 6600 GT parts:

Inno3D - solid mounting foam at two non-attached corners
Sparkle - rubber nubs around 4 corners
Galaxy - very tight springs and no leverage around the circle to move the HSF

XFX doesn't make the list because, at this point, we aren't sure which way they are going to go with the design. It looks as if they are adopting a design more like Leadtek's and just expanding the contact area with the area around the core, so they may be dropping the rubber altogether. Hopefully, they'll just find some rubber that fits and squeeze it on in there.

When all is said and done, we have to put a good part of the responsibility for the HSF mounting issues on NVIDIA. They do come up with the reference board design, and they end up placing the mounting holes for the cooling solutions on these boards. Obviously, these boards aren't 6800 Ultra Extreme parts and they don't need to have the cooling solution torqued down onto the core. But, at the same time, it would be nice if vendors didn't have to rely on spacers, pads, or other tricks in order to keep their cooling solutions in contact with the GPU.

Noise and Heat
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  • princethorpe - Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - link

    I've been checking the various forums and found thisone on the 6600gt's excellent. I don't know if anyone else has found them but Asus are making these cards and do a faster than standard model by using faster memory they recon according to their site they run 10% faster than the standard. I've ordered the Asus board by preference because of the build quality Reply
  • GollumSmeagol - Monday, May 2, 2005 - link

    I came across a forum a few months ago here in Hungary, and the people were talking about Leadtek's 6600GTs being faulty/freezing. Strange enough, a few weeks later, the main distributor of Leadtek, took off 6600GTs from their pricelists on the web. Wonder if they are waiting for a bugfix, or simply ran out of stock and wait for the next shipment.

    Another beauty I've just came across, is Gigabyte's TurboForce edition, which is a slightly overclocked version of the 6600 series (both PCI-Ex and AGP 8x). I'm shopping for a SILENT AGP one, (that's where I came across this review), and found this beauty

    http://www.giga-byte.com/VGA/Products/Products_GV-...

    This one has sg. they call Silent-Pipe as a cooler. Not much specs on Gigabyte's page, but from the picture, it looks like there is no fan at all, just a huge copper(-colored?) heatsink, that covers about 2/3rd of the card. (Well, a Zalman FB123 could still be used to move some air)
    The memory clock is wrote to be 1120MHz (remember, TurboForce), plus when I zoomed in on to the box picture, I could spot "VIVO" written on the box. This is also supported by the info on the local dealer's page, where they say "Y" to the TV-OUT of the regular GV-N66T128D, but they say "IN/OUT" for the GV-N66T128VP. All this for roughly 20 USD extra (local price).
    Reply
  • dpp - Saturday, November 19, 2005 - link

    I've bought http://www.giga-byte.com/VGA/Products/Products_GV-...">Gigabyte GV-NX66T128VP (TurboForce, no fan at all)
    Start up temperature 52C, maximum 65C.
    Is that normal?
    Reply
  • ylp88 - Monday, April 18, 2005 - link

    I found the article quite informative. Thank you. I purchased two Palit 6600GT cards a week ago and have put them in SLI mode.

    I have a few questions/comments:
    1) The Palit overview is rather short compared to the others. The Palit card is also never mentioned on the last page. Is there a reason for this?
    2) The Palit cards I got DO NOT have memory heatsinks as indicted on the photo for the Palit card. The memory remins cool, however.

    Thanks again for the article.

    ylp88
    Reply
  • zexe - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Do not go for XFX 6600GT !!!!
    The card is NOT longer equipped with 1.6ns
    The chips on my card are Samsung K4J55323QF-GC20
    THAT MEANS 2.ms !!!
    Reply
  • zexe - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • marketmuse - Friday, April 1, 2005 - link

    does anyone know the difference between the Leadtek A6600GT and PX6600GT, besides the PCI-E and AGP?

    I'm looking to purchase a A6600GT, but I don't know if it will have the same performance as the PX version.

    Thanks
    MM
    Reply
  • Monypennyuk - Monday, March 14, 2005 - link

    Hello all.

    WOW a great review site.:)

    Just one problem. I was having problems deciding between two of these cards on the ebuyer.co.uk site.

    PNY Verto GeForce 6 6600GT AGP8x £119

    or

    Inno 3D 128MB GeForce 6600 GT 8xAGP TV-Out DVI DirectX9 £116

    This review does not mention the PNY version. although i now notice that they have the LEADTEK at about the same price. Going by these comments i GUESS i should get the LEADTEk??? Anyone know about the PNY cos my mate rekons thats the better one...

    Leadtek Winfast Geforce 6600 Gt128mb Ddr3 Agp Dvi-i Tv-out £117.

    Any help much appreciated.

    A

    Reply
  • BlackMamba - Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - link

    #75: That link to MSI is for the AGP version (note the sink for the bridge chip).

    Not sure if they've fixed the problems with the PCI-E version, and would also like to know.
    Reply
  • JensErik - Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - link

    Looking at the pictures of the MSI card in the review and the pics at MSI's page it seems that MSI has changed the a lot on their card, including the HSF.

    (Check it out here: http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/vga/vga/pro...

    Does anyone know if this has solved the HSF mounting problem encountered in the test??
    Reply

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