MSI NX6600GT TD128E PCIe
|MSI NX6600GT TD128E PCIe|
|MSI 6600GT Up Close|
|Test Setup and Overclocking|
|Benchmarking the Budget|
|Final Thoughts and Conclusion|
Provided By: Dallmann Computers
Price: ~ $215 CDN Pricegrabber.ca
A couple of months back, thanks to the generosity of some sponsors, we put together a test rig for reviewing products here at BCCHardware. This test rig is formatted and has a fresh install of Windows before every review. This helps ensure fairness and compares products on an identical test-bed every time. When we were assembling the machine, we had everything except video. Video is a big ticket item and one that sponsors aren't too eager to give away. Thankfully, the local computer retailer, Dallmann Computers came to the rescue. They set me up with an MSI NX6600GT TD128E PCI-express GPU. This graphics card is obviously based on the GeForce 6600GT core, and features 128MB of GDDR3. What is not so obvious is that it features both DVI and VGA output as well as component video output. Read along as we run this unit through a battery of tests on a Windows XP x64 Professional system.
Box & Bundle:
The box is very flashy and should draw the attention of most gamers. Of course the hardcore gamer will pass this by in favor of a 6800 series or 7800 series GPU, nevertheless it still grabs your attention. On the box, MSI has slapped on a bunch of feature stickers. One of their biggest claims is 14 CD's. There is a tonne of software included with this card. Other features listed are their D.O.T. (Dynamic Overclocking Technology), 128MB DDR3, TV-Out, DVI-I, HDTV and the fact that it's SLI ready. Don't be fooled by the Doom3 sticker - it doesn't come with the card, it can just play it.
Enough of the outside of the box, inside the box is where the sweetness lies. The hardware included in the box should get you going if you are gaming, running two monitors and want to output video to your HDTV. MSI included a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a case badge, an HDTV dongle, and an S-Video cable. Everything you need to get started.
On the software side of things, MSI goes a little overboard, but the huge software pack is not really reflected in the price, as MSI is one of the cheaper 6600GT's around. Odd. The card includes three older games, two good, one lame in my opinion. It comes with Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time, XIII, and Uru. PoP and XIII are fun, but I'm not a fan of Uru. The other software is what is remarkable.
MSI includes a 14-in-1 demo DVD, and a veritable plethora of other software. MSI Media Deluxe Center II, Virtual Drive 7 Professional, Restore It 3 Professional, MSI 5.1 Channel DVD Player, Foreign Language Learning Machine, Photoshop Album SE, 3D Album SE, MSI 3D Desktop, Goodmem, LockBox, WMInfo, and a bunch of other utilities. While most of these won't be installed by many people, they still include a whackload, and fortunately they don't seem to add a bunch of extra cost to the card.
Before we take a look at the card itself, let's run down a few specs as listed from MSI.
GeForce 6600GT Chipset Features (From MSI's Site):
- NVIDIAÂ® CineFXâ„¢ 3.0 engine
- 64-bit texture filtering support delivers full-speed, high dynamic-range (HDR) lighting effects
- Unmatched image quality delivered through new 16x anisotropic filtering and rotated grid antialiasing
- 4x shadow processing power with NVIDIAÂ® UltraShadowâ„¢ II for next generation games
- Infinite program length allows for a new class of special effects
- Hardware-accelerated MPEG and WMV9 decode delivers smooth, artifact-free video
- Dedicated video hardware reduces CPU utilization and improves overall system performance
- On-chip video encoder and motion estimation engine provides fast, high-quality encoding from TV tuner
- Programmable video engine ensures compatibility with future video codecs
- High-quality video scaling and filtering improves playback quality at any window size
- PCI Express support accelerates video editing by speeding up data transfer rates
- Integrated HDTV-output brings content from your desktop to your high-definition TV
- NVIDIAÂ® ForceWareâ„¢ software delivers unmatched features and rock-solid stability
- High dynamic-range (HDR) rendering
- NVIDIAÂ® UltraShadowâ„¢ technology
- NVIDIAÂ® Intellisampleâ„¢ high-resolution compression technology (HCT)
- NVIDIAÂ® ForceWareâ„¢ Unified Driver Architecture(UDA)
- NVIDIAÂ® nViewâ„¢ multi-display technology
- NVIDIAÂ® Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0
- On-chip video processor
- 64-bit floating point texture filtering and blending
- MicrosoftÂ® DirectXâ„¢ 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 support
- OpenGLÂ® 1.5 support
- NVIDIAÂ® SLIâ„¢ multi-GPU ready
- Superscalar GPU architecture
- 128-bit memory interface with advanced memory control
- Innovative 0.13 micron process technology
- Operating Systems Support WindowsÂ® XP / 2000
- Power supply of 350 (and up) watt is highly recommended for system stability
- Memory Interface: 128-bit
- Fill Rate (billion texels/sec.): 4.0
- Vertices/sec. (Million): 225
- Pixels per clock (peak): 8
- RAMDACs (MHz): 400
What you don't see listed in the specs from MSI, is the cards clock speeds. MSI clocks the card core at two separate speeds, one for 2D (Desktop) applications and the other for 3D applications. By default the card runs at 300MHz core and 500MHz (1000MHz DDR) when running 2D applications and 500MHz core and 500MHz (1000MHz DDR) when running 3D applications. MSI also includes a Dynamic Overclocking Tool that is supposed to automatically overclock your card to various levels that you choose. Unfortunately this tool doesn't seem to work on Windows x64.
On the next page, we'll take a look at the card up close.