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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [02.15.05]
Manufactured by: Gigabyte

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Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Motherboard $215 $203.68 198.00

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Ain't it Pretty?

Visually, Gigabyte's video cards have been hit and miss; they have produced everything from striking heatsink designs, to standard OEM coolers, to plain cheezy, with stickers of demons on them (I am not joking).

However, I have to say the 3D1 has a presence that compliments the nature of the product:

The 3D1 is about as long as our reference 6800 GT PCI-E card.

You may notice that the fans are not blowing the same direction; one draws air in, while the other blows air outward.

In a normal 6600GT SLI setup, each card would get its own power from the individual PCI-E slot. Since they are both running on the same slot here, Gigabyte included a 2x3 pin PCI-E video connector to provide enough power for this dual GPU beast.

Although I doubt anyone would build an HTPC around the 3D1 platform, it's nice to see video cards progress from composite/S-Video output to S-Video/Component outputs. The component output supports HDTV resolutions (720p, 1080i, 480p, and CGMS).

As far as the bundle goes, two full games are included: Joint Operations and Thief: Deadly Shadows. Both are great games, and should show off the capabilities of the card quite well.

The Specs

Since the 3D1 is not availably by itself, we'll use the SLI equivalent as our pricing and specification example. A pair of 6600GT's will cost around $376 ($188 each at The closest NVIDIA single-core solution would be the 6800 GT ( sells Gigabyte's 6800GT for $399, so it's very close).

I would like to post our usual chart of specs here, but honestly it's really hard to directly compare an SLI solution to a single card one. For example, you could say that the 3D1 has 256MB of memory, on a 256 bit bus (Gigabyte likes to say this). However, in practise, you are really only running a pair of 126MB cards with a 128 bit bus. This brings the theoretical peak bandwidth from the expected 32 GB/s to what it really is; the same 16 GB/s as any other 6600GT.

So what we really have to do is look at performance, and go from there. So let's get started!

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