Articles :: Building A Low Cost SLI Gaming System: Part One ::

Doc Overclock · 04-26-2006 · Category: Guides

The EVGA 6600GT SLI Cards

e-GeForce 6600GT
Brand EVGA
Model e-GeForce 6600GT
Graphics Chip NV43
Graphics Memory Type DDR2
Memory (MB) 256
Graphics Core Clock (MHz) 500
Memory Clock (MHz) 800
Memory Speed (ns) 2.2
RAMDAC Frequency (MHz) Dual 400
Active Cooling on Graphics Chip No
Heatsink on Memory No
Video Capture No
Dual Monitor Support Yes
VGA Out D-Sub, DVI-I
Video In and Out TV Out, S-Video Out
Package and Support
Printed Manual Yes
Driver CD Yes
Performance Tool Software Coolbits
Major Games None
Major Software None
VR Glasses No
DVD Player Software None
None N/A

EVGA makes a vast amount of VGA cards and they vary from the extreme high-end to mid and entry level VGA products, they have also started to dabble in the motherboard market as seen here and here with great success. The 6600 series is an entry level gaming card that combined with SLI technology provides very adequate gaming muscle when implemented into any system. The old saying two heads are better than one definitely fits the bill here as two cards are most assuredly better than one when run in an SLI configuration.

  • DirectX 9.0c
  • Pixel Shader 3.0
  • Vertex Shader 3.0
  • .11 micron process
  • 146 million transistors
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • 256MB GDDR-3 memory
  • Native PCI Express x16 bus interface
  • 8 pixel pipelines
  • 3 Vertex Shader Pipelines
  • Floating point filtering of textures
  • Floating point frame buffer
  • MRT
  • 500MHz core speed
  • 800MHz DDR2 memory
  • HDR
  • SLI

EVGA's 6600GT cards are based upon NVIDIA's NV43 chip, which is a derivative of the NV4x architecture announced last year. The 6600GT has 8 pixel pipelines, the same as the high-end chipset from the year before. With a clock speed of 500MHz, the 6600GT has a fill rate of 4 Gigapixels per second and 4 Gigatexels a second. The 6600GT has 3 Vertex Shader pipelines with 1.5 vertices outputted per clock cycle.

NVIDIA has been at the forefront of evangelizing Shader Model 3.0. Microsoft first introduced programmable Shaders in the DirectX 8.0 API back in 2001 with the release of the Xbox and GEFORCE3 from NVIDIA. 2002 saw the release of DirectX 9.0 with two Shader models 2.0 and 3.0. The key ingredients of SM 2.0 are Pixel Shader 2.0 and Vertex Shader 2.0.

Key features of Pixel Shader 3.0 include nearly unlimited Shader lengths (65,536 limitation by DirectX 9.0c), looping a branching of Pixel Shader programs, a back-face register, vertex texturing and more. The NV4x architecture was the first to fully support Microsoft's PS 3.0 specification recently joined by ATI's R1K family of cards. NVIDIA has the advantage of having their SM 3.0 hardware out first so developers were using their hardware to work on games needing the advanced pixel Shaders.

Vertex Shader 3.0 key features include: nearly unlimited Shader lengths (65,536 versus 256 for SM 2.0), dynamic looping and branching support, geometry instancing, and vertex texturing. Geometry instancing allows the developer to take one model and use vertex streams to modify that object. For example a forest of trees can have variation in height, in leaves etc.. With Instancing you can vary the attributes of the trees in a forest without rendering each tree separately.

3DFX's definition of SLI stands for Scan Line. NVIDIA calls SLI, Scalable Link Interface. To enable SLI you need an SLI-ready motherboard like an ASUS P5N32-SLI board, two NVIDIA based video cards that are the same model, and the drivers. SLI modes include: AFR or Alternate Frame Rendering. In AFR, each card renders a frame one after the other. The second mode of SLI is called SFR or Single Frame Rendering. SFR has both cards working together to render a scene.

The potential of how much SLI configurations effect performance depends on the application being run, and whether its drivers and code recognize the SLI subsystem. When an SLI solution does work however, it works very well and in some case almost at almost twice the speed of a single card solution. NVIDIA is hard at work to make this technology something every software company works into their game code, and when this starts to take bloom SLI will also blossom into its full potential. Overall for the gamer if you take all factors into consideration such as chipsets, partners and support SLI is a better choice than ATI's CrossFire solution, and currently has more industry strength than ATI. When it comes to dual-card solutions the cold fact is ATI is new to this game and still learning their lessons and taking their licks.


  1. Introduction
  2. Buying Your System Parts
  3. Our System Parts
  4. The EVGA 6600GT SLI Cards
  5. A $600.00SLI Gaming System
  6. Test Setup and Overclocking
  7. Performance
  8. Conclusion

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