We had a lot of fun preparing our NVIDIA SLI Motherboard Roundup
recently. Those nForce4 SLI-based boards are truly powerful, as are the ASUS GeForce 6800 Ultra cards with which we tested. But the reality is that most gamers, no matter how enamored with technology, simply can’t afford to snag a pair of $500 graphics cards, a $200 motherboard, along with the other bits and pieces you’d expect to accompany such primo hardware. Neither can most writers, for that matter.
And that’s why NVIDIA and ATI also manufacture graphics cards “for the rest of us.” Derivatives of their most powerful architectures, stripped down a bit to enable the same features, but at reduced performance and of course, at a lower price. NVDIA’s GeForce 6600 GT is a perfect example of this economies-of-scale approach in action. For less than $200, you get Microsoft DirectX 9.0c compliance that includes Shader Model 3.0 support, NVIDIA’s PureVideo technology, and a derivative 3D architecture featuring eight pixel pipelines--half that of the flagship GeForce 6800 Ultra.
ATI does the same thing with its performance lineup as well. Mainstream X700 cards all center on similar technology as those monstrous X850 products, shedding pixel pipelines yet retaining the same level of DirectX 9 functionality, six vertex shading engines, an impressive 256MB of GDDR-3 memory, and other extras, like 3Dc, SmartShader HD, and HyperZ HD.
The two cards--NVIDIA’s GeForce 6600 GT and ATI’s Radeon X700 Pro--are priced somewhat similarly online. They both sport relatively comparable specifications, too. Why would a budget-conscious gamer break their back trying to procure a 6800 Ultra when they can see the same level of detail in their games with a 6600 GT? Sure, they might have to drop a couple of resolutions, but the point is that the days of handicapped GeForce 4 MX cards are over. The manufacturers are trying harder than ever to propagate top-end features at more reasonable prices.
BFG’s GeForce 6600 GT OC
BFG offers one of the most attractive cards on the GeForce 6600 GT side of the fence. Like all other cards centering on the same mainstream graphics processor, BFG’s solution wields eight parallel pixel pipelines, Shader Model 3.0 compliance, and PureVideo technology. It has 128MB of GDDR-3 memory on a 128-bit bus. But there are a few extras that really set the BFG card apart from competing boards.
BFG's 6600 GT OC
You get all of this
Slightly larger than the X700 Pro
To begin, the GeForce 6600 GT OC arrives overclocked straight from the factory. You’ll see reference models featuring 500MHz core clocks and an effective 1GHz GDDR-3 memory clock. BFG bumps its card up to 525MHz with 1.05GHz memory. That’s a mere five percent increase--not very significant by most accounts--but still enough to show that BFG isn’t afraid to push its hardware a little harder than other brands. If it weren’t enough that the card is running a bit faster, BFG then goes and guarantees the card for life and offers 24/7 tech support on it. How’s that for unprecedented?