The NVIDIA SLI technology has certainly paid off as it provides unbeatable performance when utilizing two high-end graphics cards. The ability to use mid-range solutions in SLI has also proved valuable as GeForce 6600 GT cards have been seen taking on the best from ATi. However, there are a number of drawbacks to using this new technology, though they are nothing major and will certainly not scare fans away. SLI enhanced systems can be quite costly; they are not designed by any stretch of the imagination to be budget gaming alternatives. That said, a GeForce 6600 GT SLI system can be quite good value depending on the motherboard purchased.
The great thing about using a graphics card such as the GeForce 6600 GT in SLI is that this graphics card uses very little power when compared to the more high-end solutions. Furthermore it also generates less heat and therefore can operate much quieter. Silence and power is something that the computer industry has been struggling to deliver, though things are improving. Over the past few years in particular, both processors and graphics cards have begun to produce extremely excessive amounts of heat. This has forced high-end gaming systems to utilize very large, loud fans.
In recent times there has been a strong push for silent operating computers, or at least near silence. Technologies such as water cooling were once used by only the most hardcore of users, today there is an abundance of starter kits on the market. While water cooling is quite an extreme method of achieving near silence there are of course less drastic measure that can be taken. Over the past year heatpipe technology has become an extremely popular means of cooling computer components. Initially heatsink makers began using heatpipe technology to improve the efficiency of their products.
This then lead to heatpipe power supplies, graphics cards, hard drive bays and even cases. The great thing about heatpipe designs is that they not only enhance the cooling properties of a heatsink, but in certain cases they can remove the need for a fan. Today's test subjects make excellent use of the heatpipe design method and as a result require no form of active cooling. Gigabyte now offer quite a few GeForce 6600 GT based solutions supporting both the PCI Express and AGP buses. The PCIe cards of course are SLI enhanced, which means two of them will be working together to maximize performance.
However, this also means that when operating in SLI the cards will be positioned rather close together. This can create two problems, one is the noise generated by two graphics cards in the same system. The other is that when two graphics cards, such as the GeForce 6600 GT, are placed within such close proximity of one another, they can generate quite a large amount of heat. The Gigabyte GeForce 6600 GT Heatpipe cards have addressed the noise issue with their fanless design, but will they be able to co-exist in the same system without compromising stability?
Just one of these heatpipe cards will have an idle temperature of around 55 degrees, which is about 15 degrees warmer than a standard GeForce 6600 GT graphics card. It shall be interesting to see how the operating temperature is affected with two cards installed. Despite featuring no form of active cooling, Gigabyte are shipping their GeForce 6600 GT Heatpipe version pre-overclocked. This makes the card a member of the elite Gigabyte TurboForce graphics cards. The card is said to use what Gigabyte are calling ?T3?technology, which is capable of boosting performance by as much as 38%.