The Nvidia 6600GT is a mid ranged video card in the 6th generation of Nvidia video cards. The card though aging now is still a reasonable option.
In the box you will get the video card itself, a DVI to VGA adaptor; if you are still running an older VGA monitor you will appreciate this, an installation leaflet, PowerDVD software which is useful but not great as any media player nowadays will play your DVDs, and of course your drivers CD but I would recommend you go to the Nvidia website and download some of the later drivers as the ones in the box will be way out of date!
Installing the video card is quite simple, take out the outer casing if your case has one. Align the video card to the AGP (or PCIE slot if you have a PCIE version) and slot the card in, push it down and it should fit easily into place, now screw the card firmly into your case, make sure you screw the card tightly enough otherwise it may rattle. . My card is on the AGP format and it requires an external Molex connector, so if you are getting an AGP card make sure your power supply has a free Molex connector.
The 6600GT has two output ports on it supporting both DVI and VGA, it will also support dual monitors which is great and very handy for increasing your work or game space. The 6600GT features support for Direct X 9 which is now a generation old as Direct X 10 is now out, however Direct X 10 is for Windows Vista only and few games actually have support for Direct X 10. It has support for Shader Model 3 which is good, the ATI cards of this generation only support Shader Model 2, what this means is the 6600GT is capable of running more advanced visual effects which many modern games support leaving owners of ATI cards such as the Radeon X700 unable to play them.
The video card is also equipped with Nvidia Pure video technology which will make your videos play better and look more natural, as well as accelerating playback of your DVDs and high definition video content. It is also compatible with Nvidia SLI technology, but unfortunately only the PCI Express versions. The older AGP format is to slow to benefit from SLI so it makes no sense to utilize it. What SLI means is you can add in another video card to boost your performance.
The 6600GT is a reasonable performer even on modern games, but as you would expect the most demanding games like Crysis won't work very well, even the latest and most expensive video cards cannot run Crysis properly! When run through 3D Mark 06 the card scored 1830 points, this is a reasonable score for such an old card. I can run most video games in it and I was most impressed when I found one of my newer games Universe at War ran perfectly on it. I also play many of my older games on it such as Far Cry, Unreal Tournament 2004 and Half Life 2 with no performance issues.
The card is quite an overclocker too, for those of you who don't know what overclocking is, it simply is making your card go faster and getting more performance basically for free. Overclocking may void your guarantee so only overclock if you know what you are doing. I have been able to pull the speeds up from 500/1000 to 550/1100 quite easily, an easy 10% performance boost. I have gone higher but the increase in performance was negligible and as I don't want to fry my card I am happy with my ten percent boost!
Price & Conclusion
The video card itself can be bought on both PCI Express and AGP formats, if you have a PCI Express compatible motherboard I would recommend you go for another card as you can do far better, if you are stuck on AGP as you know your options are limited and the 6600GT is one of the better cards available for your interface. You will be lucky to find one of these cards new so your best bet would be to head to eBay, an AGP or PCIE card can be yours for as little as £20, a bargain especially for the AGP format. If you are looking to add some life to your aging AGP box a 6600GT could provide a great boost, especially if you are on crummy old video card or integrated graphics solution. It's not the fastest video card anymore but it is supremely quick for the price you will pay. 4/5
Processor Graphic Processor NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT
GPU Clock Speed 500 MHz
RAMDAC Speed 400 MHz
Key Features Card Interface AGP 8x
Compatibility PC Memory Installed Memory 128 MB
Memory Tech GDDR3 SDRAM
Installed Memory / Technology 128 MB (GDDR3 SDRAM)
Memory Bandwidth 16.8 GB/sec Technical Features Form Factor Plug-in card
Analogue Video Standards S-Video
Max. Screen Resolution 2048 x 1536
Refresh Rate at Max Res 85 Hz @ 2048 x 1536
Pipeline Engines 8 Pipeline Engines
Fill Rate 393 Million vertices/sec