The Gigabyte 3D1 certainly is an impressive product that has shown a great deal of potential. Unfortunately, there are also a number of things that need to be changed in order to allow this product to develop even further. Due to this products strict compatibility design, I cannot see it being all that popular. The card is limited exclusively to Gigabyte?s own brand nForce4 SLI motherboard and therefore is useless for anyone not using this motherboard. Had this not been the case I may have found the first product worthy of receiving a 100% perfect score. The limitation to a single motherboard has deemed such an amazing product useless for so many people.
Just imagine using the Gigabyte 3D1 on an Intel or VIA motherboard or even an Intel system if you like. Of course this is not to say VIA or Intel chipsets are better than NVIDIA?s, it just allows for a much greater degree of flexibility. Also VIA chipsets tend to be priced far less aggressively and would be ideal for such a graphics card. The next biggest problem I see for the 3D1 is re-sale value. Clearly this graphics card cannot be sold on its own as it will only work with Gigabyte SLI motherboards. Few users are going to purchase a high-end second hand motherboard and graphics card. Generally, people buying second hand hardware are just after a quick upgrade such as a graphics card, they are not usually after half a system.
The only other drawback I encountered when testing the Gigabyte 3D1 graphics card envolved heat. This was always a concern I had with two reasonably powerful GPU?s on the same PCB. It could be said that this approach to SLI makes more sense. This is because when using conventional SLI, the bottom (second) graphics card limits the air-flow to the top (first) card. However with both GPU?s sharing the same heatsink, things became very hot with a constant idle temperature of 50+ degrees. Given how many of Gigabyte?s GeForce 6600 and Radeon X700 based graphics cards feature heatpipe designs, I was surprised to find the 3D1 lacking this kind of setup.
While the thermal and compatibility issues found with the Gigabyte 3D1 have been quite disappointing, there are still plenty of positive aspects that make this product well worth while. These issues aside, the performance of the Gigabyte 3D1 is most impressive and at times the Radeon X850XT PE fell victim to the 3D1. Given that the Radeon X850XT PE is a $550 US graphics card, these results are most impressive. Although the exact value of the 3D1 is not clear, it will ship with the K8NXP-SLI for $550 US. This makes the package exceptionally good value when compared to the Radeon X850XT PE which will cost around $750 US to couple with a half decent motherboard.
|Bottom-line is Gigabyte 3D1 is an impressive product that will deliver unbelievable results in the right conditions. Although the 3D1 does have a number of drawbacks it will be ideal for those looking at building an SLI GeForce 6600 GT system from the ground up. The Gigabyte 3D1 + K8NXP-SLI motherboard are unquestionably the fastest and cheapest GeForce 6600 GT SLI system. Unfortunately, I cannot leave this review without feeling very disappointed that this product is limited to just Gigabyte SLI motherboards. While the reasons for this are obvious, it is still a shame nonetheless.|
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Reviewed By Steven Walton