With the GeForce FX 5900 XT battling the RADEON 9600 XT and the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra still priced way too high for consideration, the new NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT AGP is a very timely addition that was designed to go head on with the RADEON 9800 series. Tentatively targeted at the US$199 price category, it is aimed squarely at the RADEON 9800 PRO graphics card. After a barrage of our tests, we can easily conclude that it supercedes the performance of the RADEON 9800 PRO most of the time (and by a large degree too). In fact it was so fast that it actually outran the steeply priced RADEON 9800 XT in about half the tests. Now that's quite a statement to its performance levels and a mission accomplished for NVIDIA in offering a more powerful product at US$199. For Doom 3 players, this is the most bang for the buck card to target with excellent non-FSAA performance. Looking forward to the future, expect games based on Doom 3's engine to perform equally well on the GeForce 6600 GT against its current competition.
Although the GeForce 6600 GT AGP boasts of performance that was worth the wait, it unfortunately faced a problem with high operating temperatures. This was true with even the reference graphics card and we have explained the reasons within this article. Third party cooler designs of some graphics cards might offer a better cooling solution, but that's not always the case as we have experienced some of these options personally. Also to a certain extent, the quality and the grade of HSI chip used can stem or further contribute to further heat output of the graphics card. The best general advice we can give you at the moment is to ensure you have good casing ventilation to thwart any premature failures, which will also play a role in prolonging the life of your card.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced retail solution of the GeForce 6600 GT AGP, do give careful consideration to Leadtek's WinFast A6600 GT TDH. Its highlights include a more efficient and ultra quiet cooler, a TV-out dongle hub with Composite, S-Video and Component connectors, a tidy little software/game bundle and good overclocking potential. Lacking only a Y-power cable splitter, we think this is easily forgivable given its other strong positive points. Estimated to retail at S$400, you simply can't go wrong with the Leadtek WinFast A6600 GT TDH, given its unique design over other similar cards based on NVIDIA's reference.