XFX GeForce 6600 DDR2 256MB:GPU:
NVIDIA GeForce 6600 (NV43)
NVIDIA recently announced the refresh of its GeForce 6600 Std, known as the GeForce 6600 DDR2. We have two of XFX's GeForce 6600 DDR2's here today, so we will be testing GeForce 6600 DDR2 in SLI on the Epox EP-8NPA SLI motherboard that we reviewed last week
. The card is based on the very successful NV43 GPU, which is manufactured on TSMC's 110 nanometre engineering process. It comes clocked at 400MHz core and 800MHz memory speeds and a 128-bit memory interface.
NV43 has eight pixel pipelines, three vertex shaders and four pixel output engines, meaning that it can only write four pixels per clock but can work on up to eight at the same time. All of the features included that were found on GeForce 6600 GT and GeForce 6600 are included in GeForce 6600 DDR2, so there's nothing new there.
Originally, GeForce 6600 Std came with DDR1 memory clocked at around 500MHz. The price of DDR2 has come down quite considerably, which means that NVIDIA has been able to refresh GeForce 6600 with increased memory speeds provided by DDR2 memory. XFX has clocked their memory at 800MHz - this will help the card in situations where GeForce 6600 was memory bandwidth limited. Not only that, but XFX has also increase the core clock from NVIDIA's reference 350MHz to 400MHz. This is 100MHz faster than the core speed on the original GeForce 6600 Std.
The cooler is small and quiet - as quiet as the cooler on the MSI Radeon X1300 Pro. It's made from aluminium and isn't anywhere near as substantial as the cooler on MSI's X1300 Pro - it's no more than a few millimetres thick on its base, and there isn't really any substantial surface area for heat removal. Having said that, it doesn't need it.
The outputs are the same as is seen on MSI's Radeon X1300 Pro - there are DVI and VGA ports, along with a HDTV-ready TV-Out connector. The bundle is pretty good considering this card is priced around £80. There is the full version of Far Cry included, along with a driver CD, manual, quick install guide and a brochure. On the cables front there is a S-Video cable and one DVI-to-VGA connector.