As one of the first native PCI-Express cards, the 6600GT has generated quite a bit of excitement: finally, a mid-price card that promises close to high end performance. So the fact that the card is finally available in AGP is good news for those willing to keep their existing AGP kit.
Because it is a PCI-E card, the card uses a bridging chip to convert to AGP, which sits just below the GPU for a shorter signal path. We tested the card using a 3.4 GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB RAM on several different benchmarks to give you a snapshot of this cards abilities. The card returned a score of 16040 in 3DMark2001SE at 1024 x 768, which is respectable, but still 2000 marks short of the PCI-E version. We expect some of this variance is due to the more streamlined architecture of the PCI-E variant, however a portion of the variance can be explained by the Pentium 4 3.4GHz ExtremEdition in last month's graphics card round up.
Doom 3 was developed with support from NVIDIA, and as a result the game performs admirably in this family of cards. Naturally, Doom 3 gave playable results right up to 1600 x 1200 resolution.
If you own a RADEON 9700, 9800 Pro or similar you probably won’t see the benefits to justify the outlay. This is not quite as a good a deal as its PCI-E counterpart which is about $70 less. On the other hand, if you own any of the GeForce’s from series 5 or below, this card represents a solid performance boost. It has full DX9 support, unlike previous GeForce cards, and will give you a 12 month lease before upgrading.