Conclusion

As a pathway to affordable SLI, the 6600GT proves itself to be a perfectly capable mid-range card. Perhaps not surprisingly, there isn’t a huge difference between the various brands. Most of them follow the nVidia reference design, with a PCB colour change or a different cooler fitted. The only card that stands out with regards to features is the Gainward Ultra 1960PCX which offers twin DVI outputs along with ViVo functionality.

It is worth remembering that if you plan to get an SLI setup you’ll need two identical cards, as even though most of the cards on test follows the nVidia reference design, we couldn’t mix any of the cards together in a working SLI setup.

Asus provided the fastest card overall, although it didn’t seem to be clocked any faster than the competition. We can guess that Asus has somehow overclocked its card but tweaked things so that the card reports standard clocks, essentially delivering overclocking but under warranty. If you want that bit extra but don’t want to take any risks then it could be the way to go. As Asus and Gainward use 1.6ns memory compared to the other cards that use 2ns memory, there should be further headroom for overclocking. However, at the end of the day there's only so much overclocking will get out of these cards, and we'd rather pay less and use a utlity to overclock.



But in the end the winner of this group test is MSI, as the NX6600GT-TD128E is the cheapest card on test. It performed just as well as any of the other cards in the 3D benchmarks and comes with a very good accessory and software bundle.

To be fair to all the companies that supplied cards for this group test, no-one disappointed by supplying a product that wasn’t up to scratch. The Gainward’s Dual DVI, the Asus’ extra grunt and the excellent Point of View game bundle are all worthy of note, but the MSI wins out as the best overall deal, especially as it’s the cheapest.

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