NVIDIA Fires Up The Performance Mid-Range AGP Segment
When NVIDIA's GeForce 6600 GT first debuted, it made headlines in the PCI Express segment boasting excellent performance and price. For an upper-end midrange graphics card delivering performance that matched or exceeded the 5th generation's best graphics cards for only US$199, it was truly a product that was much awaited - just like ATI's RADEON X700 PRO and X700 XT. However, it was a native PCI Express graphics part and only those assembling brand new systems can benefit from these attractively priced graphics card options. Well not anymore as NVIDIA is now offering their GeForce 6600 GT graphics card on the AGP interface as well and that's splendid news for the rest of us upgraders and AGP system builders.
The AGP version of the GeForce 6600 GT is set to retail for roughly the same price category as the PCI Express (PCIe) counterpart of US$199 or slightly more. Its specs are however not exactly identical as the AGP version as it requires an extra HSI bridge component that allows the native PCIe GeForce 6600 GT to work on the AGP interface (more about this on the following page). This of course adds to the overall price tag of the graphics card, but to help offset the cost a little, NVIDIA has set the guidelines for the cores to remain operating at 500MHz and reduced the speed of the local frame buffer to 900MHz DDR3 versus 1000MHz DDR3 on the PCIe version.
Comparison Of The NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT (AGP and PCIe) Versions
||NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT (AGP)
||NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT (PCIe)
||450MHz (900MHz DDR)
||500MHz (1GHz DDR)
Interestingly, the foremost Graphics DDR3 (GDDR3) supplier has no memory parts operating slower than 1GHz DDR. Although Hynix has a 900MHz DDR3 part in their inventory, expect a number of retail GeForce 6600 GT AGP graphics cards to feature the 1GHz part (at least initially). Unlike the PCIe lineup where there are both the GT and non-GT versions, the AGP counterpart will only have the GeForce 6600 GT variant (at least for the time being). So don't hold out waiting for something that's probably non-existent and overlaps the existing GeForce FX solutions. Read on as we detail in this article some aspects of the GeForce 6600 GT GPU, the HSI bridge making the AGP variant a reality and a showcase of a retail version of the GeForce 6600 GT from Leadtek.