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Gigabyte GeForce 6600 GT SLI Performance Review (Intel Edition)
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Monday, 11th April, 2005

Test Setup

Lets dive straight into the test segment and find out what sort of gains we can obtain from a dual GeForce 6600 GT setup in SLI mode, but this time using the new Intel Edition nForce4 SLI motherboard. For comparison sake, we have also provided results from a single GeForce 6800 GT graphics card since its price equates to two GeForce 6600 GT cards. However, we were unable to test the GeForce 6800 GT on the new nForce4 SLI Intel Edition board in time and the results showcased from this card came from the AMD based Gigabyte nForce4 SLI motherboard. Based on our processor reviews, we have verified that the CPUs used in both platforms are equivalent of each other in the domain of gaming, which is where this article is concerned. So although the results are not directly compatible, they are pretty much comparable - especially results that focus on resolutions of 1024x768 or higher. Here's how the systems are configured:-

Single and SLI configured GeForce 6600 GT graphics card results:-
  • Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI Royal (NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition)
  • Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor 3.46GHz (1066MHz FSB)
  • 2 x 512MB Kingston DDR2-533 @ 12-4-4 CAS 4.0
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB SATA hard disk drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • Gigabyte GeForce 6600 GT 128MB (single and SLI modes) - with NVIDIA ForceWare 71.84
  • NVIDIA nForce4 7.02 chipset driver package
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 (and DirectX 9.0c)

    Single GeForce 6800 GT graphics card results:-
  • Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI (NVIDIA nForce4 SLI)
  • AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (2.2GHz)
  • 2 x 512MB Corsair DDR-400 @ 6-3-3 CAS 2.5
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB SATA hard disk drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT 256MB - with NVIDIA ForceWare 66.93
  • NVIDIA nForce4 6.31 chipset driver package
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 (and DirectX 9.0c)

    The test suite used in this article is as follows:-

  • Futuremark 3DMark03 Pro (version 340)
  • Futuremark 3DMark05 Pro (version 120)
  • Star Trek: Elite Force 2
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo
  • Halo: Combat Evolved
  • Command & Conquer: Generals
  • GunMetal demo benchmark
  • FarCry 1.3
  • Doom 3

    One thing we immediately noted using the new ForceWare 71.84 drivers was the vastly expanded game profile list with more games that are enabled for SLI. Even if you can't find a game listed, such as Star Trek: Elite Force 2, Command & Conquer: Generals and Gunmetal that we used in our test assessment, you can create appropriate game profile and assign them SLI capability. You need not worry about the technical details, as the drivers are clever enough to predetermine if AFR or SFR mode is required. Oddly though, Codecreatures benchmark listed in the driver's profile failed to function in SLI mode reliably and even froze up our system. What's weirder is that Codecreatures actually worked perfectly in the previous driver release. So even on the new 70-series of ForceWare drivers, it seems that SLI isn't quite rock stable yet, but game compatibility has certainly improved much since our last visit using ForceWare 66.93 drivers. As a result, we have many more test results to share this time around. Readers who would like to read up more on the SLI Technology and our initial findings are encouraged to view the MSI GeForce 6600 GT SLI Performance Review article. It would also be a good idea to keep that article open for performance improvement comparisons.
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