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ASUS Extreme N6600GT Silencer 256MB (GeForce 6600 GT, PCIe)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Saturday, 15th October, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

In case you have been living a normal life, where you mistake anti-aliasing as some advanced form of air defense system, where CrossFire only makes your eyes go cross eyed, and your only inkling of technology is that you can recognize an iPod, then you may or may not be interested to know that ATI has finally launched its long awaited next generation graphics card, the X1000 series.

While all the cards in the series were available for the media for reviewing, together with all the marketing blitz like a launch party, the actual situation in the retail channel is not as bubbly, with the high-end X1800 XT and the middle range X1600 XT only available next month. Even on ATI's own online store, there are no new generation cards. Meanwhile, the X1800 XT may seem to have the edge over NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GTX in certain benchmarks, but then it does have twice as much memory and the price and availability is still a major concern.

In our own preview of the Radeon X1300 PRO which is the lower-end of the new series, we showed that its performance was good enough to beat the GeForce 6600 but not the best selling GeForce 6600 GT. With the latter selling at prices equal to the recommended launch price of the Radeon X1300 PRO, this could pose a problem for ATI. Of course, the price of the new Radeons may fall but at the moment, both the price and availability of these new cards are not positive enough to recommend getting one, if you can get one that is. So what does that leave us with? Well, there is still the now venerable GeForce 6600 GT, which looks as good as when it was first introduced more than a year back. The prices have fallen steadily from its former upper mid-range respectability to the current lower mid-range rung. Like many matured graphics card products, the vendors have had time to fiddle and add their own refinements to the standard design.

As usual, the packaging from ASUS is not exactly modest in size.

ASUS has done the same for this version of the GeForce 6600 GT. The Extreme N6600GT Silencer 256MB features a passively cooled heat pipe system that is completely silent. This is not a new concept but ASUS has suggested a new solution with a radically different heatsink design. With its weird radiator protruding out, it looks more like a cheap prop from some sci-fi television show. How does this unusual design compare to existing GeForce 6600 GT cards? Read on to find out if its performance goes deeper than its eccentric exterior.

ASUS Extreme N6600GT Silencer 256MB Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT GPU
    • Stock 2D GPU clock = 300MHz
    • Stock 3D GPU clock = 500MHz
    • 8 pixel rendering pipelines
    • 3 vertex pipelines (geometry engines)
    • 128-bit DDR3 memory controller
  • CineFX 3.0 Shading Engine
    • Vertex Shaders
      • Support for DX 9.0 Vertex Shader 3.0
      • Displacement Mapping
      • Vertex Frequency Stream Divider (Geometry Instancing)
      • Infinite length vertex programs (supported in hardware)
    • Pixel Shaders
      • Support for DX 9.0 Pixel Shader 3.0
      • Full pixel branching support
      • Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
      • Infinite length pixel programs (supported in hardware)
    • Texturing Engine Features
      • Up to 16 textures per rendering pass
      • Support for 16-bit and 32-bit floating point formats
      • Support for sRGB texture format for gamma textures
      • DirectX and S3TC texture compression
    • Full 128-bit FP Precision Graphics Pipeline
      • Native support for 32 / 64 / 128 bits per pixel rendering modes
  • UltraShadow II Technology (accelerates shadow computations)
  • Intellisample 3.0 Technology
    • 16x Anisotropic Filtering
    • Adaptive Texture Filtering
    • Rotated Grid Antialiasing
    • Fast antialiasing and compression performance
    • Loss-less Color, Texture and Z-Data Compression algorithms (in real time)
    • Fast Z-clear
    • High-resolution Compression Technology (HCT) increases performance at high resolutions.
  • Advanced Video and Display Functionality
    • Dedicated on-chip video processor
      • MPEG video encode and decode
      • WMV9 decode acceleration
      • Advanced adaptive de-interlacing
      • High quality video scaling and filtering
    • Integrated NTSC/PAL TV encoder support resolutions up to 1024x768 with built-in Macrovision copy protection
    • DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
    • Dual 400MHz RAMDACs that support resolutions of 2048x1536@85Hz
    • Dual DVO ports for interfacing external TMDS transmitters and external TV/HDTV encoder
    • Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR)
    • nView Multi-display Technology
  • Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0
  • NVIDIA High-Precision Dynamic-Range (HPDR) Technology
  • Advanced thermal monitoring and thermal management
Graphics Memory
  • 256MB Graphic DDR3 SDRAM
  • Default memory clock = 1000MHz DDR
  • 128-bit memory interface
RAMDAC
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs that support resolutions of 2048x1536@85Hz
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI 1.0 compliant and HDCP ready)
Connectors
  • 1 x analog VGA connector
  • 1 x DVI-I connector
  • 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN connector
Drivers & Software
  • Driver support for Windows 98 / Me / 2000 / XP
  • ASUS DVD
  • CyberLink MediaShow SE2.0
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 3DE
  • Xpand Rally
  • Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising
  • ASUS Bonus Gamepack (Second Sight, Chaos League, PowerDrome)
Other Information
  • 16-lane PCI Express expansion slot required

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