Prolink GeForce 6600 GT AGP8x review

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The Technical BlahblahThe Prolink 6600 GT card tested today is offered in a 128 MB configuration, which is sufficient for all games to date. High-end cards are often equipped with 256MB as they primarily function in the highest resolutions with the highest antialiasing and anisotropic filtering settings. It requires more framebuffer (memory).

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The AGP version we test today is actually a PCI-Express compatible graphics processor, just made compatible with AGP 8x thanks to an extra High Speed Interconnect bridge chip. At first NVIDIA needed to make their AGP products PCI-Express compatible, it's the same chip they use now. Just flip the chip around (metaphorical speaking) and it's working the other way around also. Back in March in the CeBIT article I briefly talked about the HSI's functions and possibilities with NVIDIA. NVIDIA confirmed that the HSI will work the other way around too and that is precisely the solution they are using. And it works really well, I might add.

The GeForce 6600 series product line has 8 Pixel pipelines and 3 Vertex processors that we confirmed to be working 100%, let's open up the videocard's BIOS and see what it reports back:

$0100000000 Graphics core : NV43 revision A2 (8x1,3vp)

The 6600 series can write four color pixels per clock and has a fragment crossbar. The NV43 does appear to have eight pixel shader/texture units, so its not an "8 x 1" design or a "4 x 2" design. It's more of a hybrid and works quite well. When we look at clock rates something very interesting is happening here. Where the PCI-Express models are have the memory clocked at (2x)500 MHz, the AGP version has been down-clocked a little and is running at (2x)450 MHz, or 900 MHz effectively, for its memory.

$ffffffffff ---------------------------------------------------
$0100000000 Graphics core : NV43 revision A2 (8x1,3vp)
$0100000002 Memory bus : 128-bit
$0100000003 Memory type : DDR (RAM configuration 07)
$0100000004 Memory amount : 131072KB
$0100000005 Core clock : 501.428MHz
$0100000006 Memory clock : 450.000MHz (900.000MHz effective)

I can already tell you that the performance between AGP and PCI-Express is about the same. One can only speculate about the frequency difference. One possibility is that cheaper memory was need to offset the added cost of the HSI bridge chip (more on that later) that was needed for the AGP version. Whatever the reason, this could mean some very nice potential for overclocking performance, as this product is a little memory bandwidth limited.

Specs GeForce 6600 GeForce 6600 GT GeForce 6800 GeForce 6800 GT GeForce 6800 Ultra
NV43 NV43 NV40 NV40GT NV40UTransistors ? ? 222 millionProcess, GPU maker 110nm 110nm 130nm, IBMCore clock 300 MHz 500 MHz Up to 400 MHz 350MHz 400-450 MHzMemory 128MB DDR1 128MB GDDR3 128MB DDR1 256MB GDDR3 256MB GDDR3Memory bus 64/128-bit 256-bitMemory clock Up to manufacturer 2x500 MHz
2x450 MHz (AGP)
2 x 550MHz 2 x 500MHz 2 x 600MHzPCB P212 P212 P2?? P210 P210Pipelines 8 8 12 16 16FP operations FP16, FP32DirectX DirectX 9.0cPixel shaders PS 3.0Vertex shaders VS 3.0OpenGL 1.5+ (2.0)Price $150 $229 $299 $399 $499Availability since Oct 2004 Oct/Nov 2004 May/June 2004

As you can unmistakably see there is a product for

any budget.

Bundled Items
In the box, we see a rather el cheapo bundle! It comes with... a driver CD. Seriously, ForceWare drivers and DirectX 9.0c, that pretty much is all the software there is.

Next to the manual we can find a Composite output cable, your DVI to CRT/VGA adapter and something that I do like about the package, an output block for S-Video, Composite and component HDTV connectors.

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What I do like is the fact that an extra Molex cable is included, finally a manufacturer that noticed our pleas.

Power Supply demand
NVIDIA recommends a standard 300 Watt Power Supply for the 6600 series, so basically anyone has that at minimum in their system these days.

Architecture Characteristics of the GeForce 6 Series

  • Pixel pipelines: 16 / 12 / 8
  • Superscalar shader: Yes
  • Pixel shader operations/pixel: 8
  • Pixel shader operations/clock: 128
  • Pixel shader precision: 32 bits
  • Single texture pixels/clock: 16
  • Dual texture pixels/clock: 8
  • Adaptive Anisotropic Filtering: Yes
  • Z-stencil pixels/clock: 32

Get ready for the most vibrant, lifelike, and elegant graphics ever experienced on a PC. The groundbreaking NVIDIA® GeForce 6 Series of graphics processing units (GPUs) and their revolutionary technologies power worlds where reality and fantasy meet; worlds in which new standards are set for performance, visual quality, realism, and video functionality. The GeForce 6 Series GPUs deliver powerful, elegant graphics to drench your senses, immersing you in unparalleled worlds of visual effects for the ultimate PC experience.

The Installation
It's really not hard to install a graphics card yourself in this day and age. Especially with brands like ATI and NVIDIA, who both use unified driver sets things have gotten really easy over the past few years. Here however are a few guidelines to follow for installation of a new graphics card.

  • If you have a new product then make sure you have the latest drivers on your HD, grab them from our download section and preferably go with an official or WHQL (Microsoft certified) driver.
  • First uninstall your current graphics card's drivers carefully, this is exceedingly important if the older graphics card was from a different chipset manufacturer.
  • Now power down the PC and pull out the power cable.
  • Insert the new graphics card in the APG or PCI-Express slot, secure it with a screw, connect the monitor and boot up windows.
  • Run the driver installation, then restart and you are set to go.

That's all. Also important, make sure you have the latest version of DirectX (9.0c) installed. If you experience compatibility issues, please make sure you have installed the latest version of your mainboard drivers, have a look in our extensive download section I'd say.

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