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Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB
Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS
Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB
Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB
Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD
Palit GeForce 6200 128MB
Palit GeForce 6600 128MB
Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB
Based on NVIDIA GeForce 6200/6600/6600GT

December 15, 2004







Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Video card's features
  3. Testbed configurations, benchmarks
  4. Test results: summary performance diagrams
  5. Conclusions



We proceed with our analysis of new video cards based on NVIDIA chips for PCI-Express. Unfortunately, this sector is very hard to expand so far. There are a lot of reasons for it: little interest in this upgrade, still high prices for new motherboards, processors, and DDR2 memory, and the necessity to replace almost all components of your computer. That's why users mostly ignore all efforts of Intel, ATI and NVIDIA, and the new video cards, no matter how interesting and good they are, are doomed to collect dust on store shelves for a long time. Only High-End cards, which are very few, are in a ghost of demand. That's why, writing this article, I understand clearly that most users will not be practically interested in it, though I hope that the interest in PCI-E solutions will grow and this review will help users choose a video card.

Today's list of video cards under review includes a card based on GeForce 6200. In fact it's our first article about this chipset. As you will see, this processor is a reject from NV43 (GeForce 6600), and that's why even the card does not differ from its counterpart based on 6600. I repeat that GeForce 6600 carries 8 pixel and 3 vertex pipelines. Correspondingly, 6200 – 4 pixel and 3 vertex ones.

We already published materials about NV43, so beginners should survey them.

Theoretical materials and reviews of video cards, which concern functional properties of the GPU ATI RADEON X800 (R420)/X700 (RV410) and NVIDIA GeForce 6800 (NV40)/6600 (NV43)

The roundup also includes two interesting video cards based on GeForce 6600GT: products from Gainward and InnoVision. They are notable for their 1.6ns memory access time though they must have had 2.0ns memory. That is these video cards will come in handy to overclockers. Considering the 128-bit bus and thus a relatively low memory bandwidth, memory overclocking may yield fairly good dividends.

I think, these manufacturers need no introductions, they are all well known on the market. So let's proceed to the video cards.



Video Cards



Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB


Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS


Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB


Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB


Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD


Palit GeForce 6200 128MB


Palit GeForce 6600 128MB


Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB




Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB
The card has the PCI-Express x16 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM allocated in 8 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Hynix memory chips. 4ns memory access time, which corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, at which the memory operates. GPU frequency — 300 MHz. 128-bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x texture units - 8x1. 3 vertex pipelines.




Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS
The card has the PCI-Express x16 interface, 128 MB GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 4 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 1.6ns memory access time, which corresponds to 625 (1250) MHz. Memory operates in normal mode at 500 (1000) MHz, Enhanced mode – 600 (1200) MHz. GPU operates in normal mode at 500 MHz, and in Enhanced mode at 550 MHz. 128-bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x texture units - 8x1. The number of vertex pipelines is 3. Pay attention to the two modes of the video card that become available ONLY after the proprietary ExperTool tweaker is installed.




Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB
The card has the PCI-Express x16 interface, 128 MB GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 4 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 2.0ns memory access time, which corresponds to 500 (1000) MHz, at which the memory operates. GPU frequency — 500 MHz. 128-bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x texture units - 8x1. 3 vertex pipelines.




Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB
The card has the PCI-Express x16 interface, 128 MB GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 4 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 1.6ns memory access time, which corresponds to 625 (1250) MHz. Memory operates at 500 (1000) MHz. GPU frequency — 500 MHz. 128-bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x texture units - 8x1. 3 vertex pipelines.




Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD
The card has the PCI-Express x16 interface, 128 MB GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 4 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 2.0ns memory access time, which corresponds to 500 (1000) MHz, at which the memory operates. GPU frequency — 500 MHz. 128-bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x texture units - 8x1. 3 vertex pipelines.




Palit GeForce 6200 128MB
The card has the PCI-Express x16 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM allocated in 8 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Hynix memory chips. 4ns memory access time, which corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, at which the memory operates. GPU frequency — 300 MHz. 128-bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x shader pipelines - 4x1. 3 vertex pipelines.




Palit GeForce 6600 128MB
The card has the PCI-Express x16 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM allocated in 8 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Hynix memory chips. 3.6ns memory access time, which corresponds to 275 (550) MHz, at which the memory operates. GPU frequency — 300 MHz. 128-bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x texture units - 8x1. 3 vertex pipelines.




Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB
The card has the PCI-Express x16 interface, 128 MB GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in 4 chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung (GDDR3) memory chips. 2.0ns memory access time, which corresponds to 500 (1000) MHz, at which the memory operates. GPU frequency — 500 MHz. 128-bit memory bus. Pixel pipelines x texture units - 8x1. 3 vertex pipelines.






Comparison with the reference design, front view
Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 6600









Palit GeForce 6200 128MB






Palit GeForce 6600 128MB






Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT









Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB






Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB






Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD 128MB






Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB








Comparison with the reference design, back view
Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 6600






Palit GeForce 6200 128MB



Palit GeForce 6600 128MB



Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT






Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB



Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB



Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD 128MB



Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB





Obviously, only Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB has significant differences from the reference design, the other cards corresponding completely to the reference. I note once again that Palit GeForce 6200 128MB is an exact copy of the 6600 design.

Gainward video card has an illuminated cooler, which will please modding fans.




That card is equipped with Philips 7115 codec with VIVO support.

Let's review the cooling systems.

Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB

This design is already familiar from the GeForce4-series. Closed heatsink with an off-center fan blowing air through it.

The cooler is quiet, no problems with noise.




Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS

This cooling system is of a similar design. It's equipped with illumination.

This cooler is also very quiet.




Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB

Another closed heatsink, slightly different appearance though. The cooler is a little noisy, but nothing serious.




Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB

No need in comments, the same cooler construction, only the appearance is slightly different. By the way, in this case the name of the manufacturer is honestly written on the heatsink: CoolerMaster.

The cooler is quiet.




Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD

And Leadtek is true to its choice, we have already seen such open coolers before on the video cards from this manufacturer. This cooling system is very effective and noiseless.




Palit GeForce 6200 128MB; Palit GeForce 6600 128MB; Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB

All the three video cards from Palit are equipped with the same cooler: almost closed heatsink, but the fan is centered instead of being off center.

The cooler is a little noisy, but then again it's not irritating.






Our heroes of the day (GeForce 6200, 6600 and 6600GT processors) are expectedly located under the coolers.







You can try to unlock 4 pipelines in GeForce 6200 using the latest version of RivaTuner, but unfortunately these cards are really equipped with rejected chips, their disabled pipelines being inoperable. So after we unlocked them, there appeared a lot of artifacts in 3D.

Bundle.

Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB
In the box you will find a user's guide, CD with drivers, WinDVD, CD with very old game demos (it's a shame to bundle such games at the end of 2004), SVideo-to-HDTV adapter. Very moderate package contents.


Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS
In the box you will find a user's manual, CD with drivers, WinDVD, video processing software, DVI-to-d-Sub and VIVO adapters. They could have at least put some modern game into the bundle of a product with a proud suffix Golden Sample.


Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB
In the box you will find a user's manual, CD with drivers, DOOM III, DVI-to-d-Sub and SVideo-to-HDTV adapters. The best bundle!


Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB
In the box you will find a user's manual, CD with drivers, WinDVD, 3DMark03 (I wonder, why not 3DMark05?) TV cord extensions, DVI-to-d-Sub adapters.


Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD
In the box you will find a user's manual, CD with drivers, WinDVD, two games: PoP and SCPT. TV cord extensions, DVI-to-d-Sub and SVideo-to-HDTV adapters.


Palit GeForce 6200 128MB; Palit GeForce 6600 128MB; Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB
In the box you will find a user's manual, CD with drivers, WinDVD, Chaser and SpellForce, TV cord extensions, DVI-to-d-Sub and SVideo-to-HDTV adapters.




Let's have a look at the boxes.

Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB

The box is made of glossy millboard in dark colors.




Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS

This traditional box has not changed for two or three years. It's even boring to describe it. It's high time that the company should think about the new box designs.




Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB

Glossy jacket in a traditional Gigabyte style with a box made of while millboard inside. There is a sticker indicating that DOOM III is included into the bundle.




Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB

Traditional design. Like in Gainward, it hasn't been changed for several years. It's boring to describe the same thing for the 20th time. It's time they should think how to make their products look more attractive, to make the box brighter and more gratifying to the eye.




Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD

The box is made of millboard with the company's traditional design depicting fairy-tale heroes.




Palit GeForce 6200 128MB; Palit GeForce 6600 128MB; Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB

Glossy jacket with a box made of white millboard inside. All bundled elements are organized into cardboard sections, which is very convenient.






Installation and Drivers

Testbed configurations:

    Pentium4 Overclocked 3200 MHz (Prescott) based computer
    • Intel Pentium4 3600 MHz CPU (225MHz x 16; L2=1024K, LGA775); Hyper-Threading enabled
    • ABIT AA8 DuraMAX motherboard based on i925X
    • 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM 300MHz
    • WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA HDD

  • Operating system – Windows XP SP2; DirectX 9.0c
  • Monitors: ViewSonic P810 (21") and Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070sb (21").
  • ATI drivers 6.497 (CATALYST 4.12beta); NVIDIA drivers 67.02.

VSync is disabled.

Test results: performance comparison

We used the following test applications:

  • Unreal 2: The Awakening (Infogrames), DirectX 8.1, multitexturing, tests are performed using the Bench'emAll! 2.59.

  • RightMark 3D (one of the game scenes) – DirectX 8.1, Dot3, cube texturing, shadow buffers, vertex and pixel shaders (1.4). Test settings: pixel shaders 1.1, shadow buffers OFF.

  • Half-Life2 (Valve/Sierra) – DirectX 9.0, demo ixbt01. Tests were carried out with maximum quality.

  • Call of Duty (MultiPlayer) (Infinity Ward/Activision) – OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt0104demo, test settings – maximum, S3TC ON

  • Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness v.49 (Core Design/Eldos Software) — DirectX 9.0, Paris5_4 demo, test settings are provided here.

  • Far Cry v.1.3 (Crytek/UbiSoft), DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, demo01 (the game is started with the option -DEVMODE), test settings – Very High.

  • DOOM III (id Software/Activision), OpenGL, multitexturing, ixbt1-demo (33MB) test settings – High Quality. Configuration files were created with caching in order to optimize the game and to reduce the jerks. You can download them as well as a batch file to launch the benchmark here (35K)

  • PainKiller v.1.31(People Can Fly/Dreamcatcher) – DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, maximum possible test settings. Integrated benchmark was used.

  • 3DMark05 (FutureMark) – DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, test settings – trilinear.

If you want to get the demo-benchmarks, which we use, contact me at my e-mail.

Performance

Conclusions

So:

  1. Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 128MB is a usual video card based on the reference design, its memory frequency is even a tad lower (500 MHz instead of 550 MHz). Moderate bundle. Everything will be up to the price. 2D quality in 1600x1200 at 85 Hz is good.

  2. Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS is the most unusual video card among the ones we reviewed today. It features increased frequencies (via ExperTool!), 1.6ns memory, illuminated cooler, and VIVO. But its bundle is quite moderate. As this card is based on 6600GT, it has SLI potential. 2D quality in 1600x1200 at 85 Hz is excellent.

  3. Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB – there is nothing outstanding about the accelerator itself, complete copy of the reference design. But it's very nice that the bundle includes DOOM III ! And don't forget about the proprietary overclocking utility VTuner and SLI potential. 2D quality in 1600x1200 at 85 Hz is good.

  4. Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB has 1.6ns memory, it's good for overclockers, however the frequencies are not raised, so it's up to overclockers to do. Quite a modest bundle, and 3DMark03 is outdated. SLI is supported as well. 2D quality in 1600x1200 at 85 Hz is good.

  5. Leadtek WinFast PX6600GT TD is a copy of the reference design, the card itself offers no outstanding features. The bundle is decent, but only for a 4-month old card. We rewarded for such bundles two times but now Prince of Persia is a game of the past as well as SCPT. It's time to update the package contents with more recent games. 2D quality in 1600x1200 at 85 Hz is good.

  6. Palit GeForce 6200 128MB – let's give it a more detailed summary. Our tests demonstrated that this video card mostly fairs between PCX5900 and PCX5750. But these cards cost close to PCX5750, which means obvious defeat of the latter. And in games with heavy shader load even PCX5900 becomes an outsider. However, on the whole, we should note that a fair price for 6200 is 100 USD or even lower. Otherwise, there is no point in purchasing this product, GeForce 6600 is only a tad more expensive. This video card from Palit is a copy of the reference design, nothing remarkable, except for a red PCB non-traditional for this company and its being a product based on an NVIDIA processor :). 2D quality in 1600x1200 at 85 Hz is almost unsatisfactory, at 75 Hz it's good.

  7. Palit GeForce 6600 128MB is a copy of the reference design. It's all up to the price. The bundle is not bad, but the set of games had better be updated. 2D quality in 1600x1200 at 85 Hz is almost unsatisfactory, at 75 Hz it's good.

  8. Palit GeForce 6600GT 128MB is of the proper Palit design, but this card is stable, no complaints. I have already mentioned the bundle above. It has SLI potential. 2D quality in 1600x1200 at 85 Hz is satisfactory.

In our 3Digest you can find more detailed comparisons of various video cards.





According to the test results Gainward PowerPack Ultra/1960 PCX XP GS and Inno3D GeForce 6600GT 128MB get the Original Design award (for December).






And Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT 128MB merits the Excellent Package award (for December).









Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)

2004



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