While NVIDIA’s GeForce 7800 GTX and 7800 GT have dominated the headlines the past few months (and the GeForce 6800 Ultra and 6800 GT before that), it has actually been NVIDIA’s less expensive mainstream and value offerings that have been bringing in the bulk of their sales.
Positive reviews of NVIDIA’s self-proclaimed “DOOM 3 GPU”, the GeForce 6600 GT, helped get the ball rolling, but NVIDIA’s follow-up GeForce 6600 products have been equally impressive. After all, with their GeForce 6600 family NVIDIA not only offers a solid 3D solution with SLI support, the GPU is also backed up with other features such as PureVideo, which provides dedicated hardware acceleration for MPEG-2/DVD as well as the new Microsoft Windows Media HD Video standard (WMV HD), HDTV output (both 720p and 1080i), and other video goodies to the mainstream market.
As a result, the GeForce 6600 family has raked in the sales. To date NVIDIA and their board partners have shipped over 6 million GeForce 6600 cards to the market, with most OEMs and PC manufacturers using one GeForce 6600 variant or another in their systems. You can even find the GeForce 6600 inside Apple’s dual-core PowerMac G5; both the GeForce 6600 and GeForce 6600 LE are available as standard graphics for the PowerMac, with NVIDIA’s GeForce 7800 GT and Quadro FX 4500 available as build-to-order options.
It’s because of this success that NVIDIA felt the need to respond to ATI’s recently announced X1300 series, including their $149 RADEON X1300 PRO. NVIDIA’s answer isn’t an all-new GPU -- our preview of the X1300 and X1600 a few weeks ago indicate that NVIDIA’s current lineup already performs well against ATI’s latest offerings -- instead they’ve decided to tweak the GeForce 6600’s proven formula to meet their needs.
According to NVIDIA, their new GeForce 6600 DDR2 not only delivers more performance than ATI’s fastest X1300 board, the RADEON X1300 PRO, it does so at a lower price point, officially carrying an MSRP of $119 MSRP. Considering the X1300 PRO’s high clocks, 600MHz for the graphics core and 400MHz for memory (800MHz effective), this is a pretty tall order. Let’s see if the GeForce 6600 DDR2 is up for the task.