IntroductionXFX GeForce 6600 DDR2 256MB PCIe
We try to cover a broad a range as possible when it comes to graphics card reviewing. We're sure that most readers would jump at the chance of owning a PC that contained SLI'd GeForce 7800 GTX 512MB cards. For most, though, that kind of specification and associated review is useful in understanding where cutting-edge technology currently is at, but the pure cost of ownership makes it financially unjustifiable. It's an obvious fact that the lower down the GPU scale you go, the more potential customers you can tempt with your wares. That's why both ATI and NVIDIA, in terms of discrete graphics cards, fully understand that the £300+ market is a relative niche, useful for highlighting performance that will become available in the midrange sector as the trickle-down effect, over time, takes its course. [advert]
What both companies also appreciate is the need to have a well-stocked and, just as importantly, a well-defined range of products from, say, £30-£150. If moving GPUs is your business, there can be no obvious gaps. That becomes problematic as new SKUs are launched that supercede older ones, and it's a constant case of product repositioning and price cutting. Now take NVIDIA's current GPU range from between £60-£120. There's the GeForce 6600 DDR1 at the lower end of the scale and GeForce 6600 GT at the upper end. However, there's a reasonably large performance gap between the two that was just begging to be filled with another model.
That's what we have in review for today. NVIDIA and its partners have decided to plug this gap by releasing the GeForce 6600 DDR2 SKU, which attempts to smooth the transition between current products. Employing DDR2 memory and using established technology with aggressive pricing, it's got the basic ingredients to do well. Our look today isn't at a reference model, as you might expect, but at a shipping, retail package from one of NVIDIA's key partners. XFX brings to the GeForce 6600 DDR2 table its customary pre-overclocked core and decent bundle. Read on to find out how it matches up against the ATI RADEON X1300 range and NVIDIA's very own GeForce 6600 GT.