Albatron is a relatively new name to some of you but is no newcomer to the high performance video card market. Although the name may be new to you, others swear by their products.
Do not feel left out if you do not know everything about Albatron, they are a relatively new company founded in 2002. Although Albatron was founded just a few short years ago their previous name, Chun Yun Electronics, began back in 1984 as a display manufacturer, producing wide-screen multimedia monitors, rear projection systems, TVs, and plasma displays. Changing their name to Albatron in 2002 signaled the dawn of their computer product line and a new direction of the company.
The goal of Albatron is best left untouched from how they say it: "Our greatest focus and driving force is you our customer. We consider it our duty to deliver the products you want at the right time and provide support when you need it. But above all, we're here to ensure that your evolving needs--no matter how small--are taken care of."
Albatron currently offers the full range of video cards based on Nvidia chipsets. From the GeForce 6200Turbo Cache all the way up to the 7800GTX 512. They also offer a great lineup of Intel chipset Pentium 4 motherboards as well as Nvidia chipset based AMD Athlon 64 solutions.
To find out more about Albatron's products or history please visit the Albatron Site.
Recently Legit Reviews has been looking at a number of expensive $500+ video cards, which is fun to look at but not something the vast majority of our readers can afford without saving up some cash. Today we take a look at a GeForce 6600 from Albatron that features 512MB of DDR2 memory, which is a unique for the GeForce 6600 GPU. With no SLI connectors, no additional power connector, and a single slot cooling solution this video card is designed to be in the mainstream consumers computer. Sit back and relax as we take a break from the high end cards to look at a more mainstream card, the Albatron GeForce 6600-512.
The Albatron 6600-512 comes in a sharp looking box with nice artwork. It clearly displays the great looking Albatron logo, that the video card is for PCI Express, and comes equipped with 512MB of DDR2.
Opening up the box the very first thing that you see is the video card itself. Maybe I?m being picky but I really like this! It?s rather annoying to have to dig through cables, adaptors, advertisements, driver cd?s, and games to get to your new video card. It?s held very securely with the cardboard flaps to keep it from moving around while in transport.
Aside from the 6600 - 512 card, you get a multi-language quick installation guide, a driver disk, and an HDTV cable adapter. The adapter has S-Video and component outputs for any potential HTPC builders. I tested this with the component inputs on my Dell 2405FPW and it worked great. You might be thinking that the bundle is a little light. For me it?s perfect.
Now don?t get me wrong on this, I?m not a huge fan of bundles because I seldom play the games that come in the box with my new video cards. Personally I like adaptors and cables because at some point I know I will be using them. Obviously I?m in the minority on this and most of the time the bundle is what will be the deciding point of a purchase. Regardless, the bigger the bundle the higher the price tag so that?s why we don?t see any games or lots of cables, just the essentials.
Ok, enough with the fluff let?s take a look at the real reason we bought this, that shiny new video card!
The Albatron Trinity 6600 512mb is based on the Nvidia 6600 GPU. The GeForce 6600 is manufactured on a 0.11 micron process and offers 8 pixel pipelines and 1 vertex pipeline. The memory bus interface is 128-bit and as the name suggests, offers 512MB of memory. That?s right, Albatron has decided to take the road less traveled and offer something that no one else has, backing their commitment to being creative. Only recently has 512MB of memory started to make regular appearances on the highest end video cards. While those cards use GDDR III Albatron uses much less expensive DDR II on this card. The GPU clock is run at 325MHz and the memory runs at 500MHz.
The 6600 is designed for low power consumption so there are no external power connectors to be found here. Hooking up a monitor gives you two choices, VGA or a single link DVI. The maximum resolution that the video card supports is 2048x1536@85Hz. The 6600 is a true DirectX 9 video card and offers Shader Model 3.0 support which includes HDR. It?s also capable of using Pure Video, giving you high-quality DVD playback and stutter-free, high-definition viewing for a home theater experience on your PC.
Taking the heat sink off the Albatron 6600 512 was quick and easy. Unlike past reviews where companies don't put enough thermal compound on the video card Albatron put enough thermal paste on for a dozen cards! It's better to have too much than not enough so no complaints here. When we cleaned off some of the thermal compound we got to see the core as shown below.
It looks like we have a GeForce 6600 A4 revision core, which is the newest revision that is out right now. This one was produced on the 37th week of 2005, so they have been out for some time now.
Here is a quick run down of what features are in the 6600:
- CineFX 3.0 Shading Architecture
- 64-Bit Texture Filtering and Blending
- Intellisample 3.0 Technology
- UltraShadow II Technology
- PureVideo Technology
- Advanced Display Functionality
- NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control? (DVC) 3.0
- Shader Model 3.0
As you can see, the Albatron 6600 512 is packed with features considering the reasonable cost. Since it shipped with a component adapter I?d say that Albatron expects a few of these cards to end up in HTPC?s. When it comes to HTPC?s two things stick out the most, noise and heat.
Albatron has taken great care in keeping this card quiet, the fan is barely audible on an open test system. The hard drive seeking was easily louder than the video card fan at any time. Not only is it quiet the heatsink does a great job of keeping things cool as well.
Let's take a look at just how well this card performs when pressed into 3D gaming.
For testing purposes I used the following systems:
|Nvidia Video Card Test Platform|
AMD Athlon 64 3700+
DFI NF4 SLI-DR
2GB Crucial PC-4000
Western Digital Raptor 74GB
OCZ PowerStream 600W
Windows XP Professional
- Catalyst 6.2
- Forceware 81.98
- nForce 6.70
Quake 4 is based on the engine that powers Doom 3 and is an OpenGL game. Quake 4 is a very relevant test as this is obviously a very popular multiplayer game. Having a low framerate while competing in a local LAN is only going to hurt your chances of winning. We tested with in-game quality set to High.
The 6600 performs very well considering it's pricepoint. Again with quality settings set to high we have very playable frame rates. Obviously it's not as fast as the other two cards but they will set you back more money.
Ok, let's get Serious! This game offers HDR, tons of impressive scenery and enough enemies to make your trigger finger tired. In-game settings were set to Medium. AA and AF were adjusted in the game.
We see that HDR is really not a playable setting for 6600-512, although in the other two tests it holds it own very well against the X1600 Pro.
First Encounter Assault Recon or F.E.A.R. Anyone who has played this game knows that it brings any computer to it's knees. Fantastic visuals, this is one of the most advanced graphic engines we have seen. If you haven't played this game you should really check it out. Both Machine and Graphics settings were set to "High" and resolution adjusted to 800x600.
F.E.A.R. is very demanding graphically and we see that the Albatron card can't keep up with the others here. Still, it provided results that were playable as it didn't drop below 25fps.
This new game is starting to get a lot of attention and rightfully so. It offers some of the best visuals that we've ever seen in a PC game. Visit the gang at Egosoft and download the demo. We tested with the graphics options set to their highest, resolution set to 1024x768 with 0xAA/4xAF and glow enabled.
Considering the considerable graphics load the game put on this card it performed very well. The only settings not maxed out were AA and AF. There was less than .1 FPS difference between 0xAF and 4xAF so the extra memory proved to help out here.
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 2 was tested with a custom multi-player demo. Quality Settings were set to medium with Trilinear filtering. Optimize for SLI was enabled at all times.
As you can see the Albatron 6600-512 held right with the two more expensive cards here. enabling other options on in the game quickly dropped all three to unplayable.
3D Mark 2006
Futuremark has overhauled "The Gamers' Benchmark" with the introduction of 3DMark 06. The benchmark includes improved Shader Model 2 tests, new CPU tests and HDR Shader Model 3 tests for system-wide gaming performance measurement. Final scores are now impacted very directly by the CPU used. We focused our attention to Shader Model 2.0 and Shader Model 3.0 results as this will tell us just how well our video card performs in this benchmark.
We see in this test that the 6600-512 is coming in well behind the other cards. In reality none of our other tests showed this much disparity and just goes to show that you can't make a purchase decision based on a single benchmark.
With the Albatron 6600-512 coming in at the bottom of our charts you may wonder if this card is for you. Considering this was the least expensive card in the testing it held it's own well. For around the $100 mark this card gives a good bang for the buck and will allow you to play any of the latest games.
The real value of this card is functioning in a HTPC, it's very quiet and produces little heat. It can display HD resolutions either through the component adapter or through DVI, and again with the low price point is easy on the wallet.
One area that we were concerned with was that the GPU core speed is advertised at 350MHz though it was actually running at 325.
Despite this slight slip up we could find nothing else to fault with this card.
The 6600-512 is a great card for you gamers on a budget, and those of you who don't spend a lot of time gaming and want something to play the latest games coming out today. If you're an avid gamer and prefer to run with Anti-Aliasing on then you should probably look at some more expensive options.
I pointed out in our last article that the cooler on that card could be a problem for small form factors and HTPC cases. With the Albatron this is not a concern and still gives you the same HD video option.
Legit Bottom Line: If you're looking for a budget HTPC card that's quiet, cool, and may see the occasional game then the Albatron 6600-512 should be on your list.