We are writing a series of articles about our $649 low price high performance PC and we are looking at the best $200 upgrades.
The first component we are upgrading is the graphics card; switching out the anaemic ATI X300 solution for a nice new GeForce 6600GT.
When we made that decision it was a choice between two types of cards, both of which are available for around $200: 128mb GeForce 6600GT or 256mb Radeon X700 pro
At first we wanted to go for the X700 pro as it had twice the memory and used the same drivers as the X300 (making for an easier upgrade), but we heard there was a big performance difference that made the GeForce 6600 a better buy.
Anandtech has just confirmed what we heard in a faceoff between GeForce 6600GT and Radeon X700 pro cards. The GeForce 6600GT got a 20% better frame rate in Half-Life 2, 70% better in Doom 3, and between 5% and 20% improvement in other games.
Looks like we made the right choice.