We have just been informed that NVIDIA's partners have started to ship the GeForce 6600 LE video card that we talked about a while ago now. They've also started showing up on the virtual shelves of online retailers, too.
The GeForce 6600 LE is an SLI ready video card and doesn't require an SLI bridge to connect the two cards together. Instead, all data is passed across the PCI-Express bus, as there isn't a great deal of bandwidth required to render frames on a part that costs as little as this.
It seems that Inno3D are the first partner to actually have products on shelves - we spotted their 6600 LE at PCNextDay for a little over £60
That makes for a very cheap SLI system, but it is questionable as to whether or not it is worth buying a pair of GeForce 6600 LE's instead of a single GeForce 6600 GT, which will cost about the same.
The GeForce 6600 LE has four pixel pipelines and three vertex shaders and will be clocked at 425/500MHz delivering relatively average entry-level performance. However, there is the possiblity of unlocking some of the masked pipelines with NVStrap - could it be a cheap score for an enthusiast looking for some inexpensive fun?
We do have some slight scepticism about the introduction of this card, though. We believe that the only time that the GeForce 6600 LE would make sense is if you're looking at a very cheap upgrade path for the future.
We feel that it is really questionable as to whether the 6600 LE SLI route would be one that budget gamers would consider. Certainly, after watching F.E.A.R. reduce a Radeon X850 XT Platinum Editon and GeForce 6800 GT SLI to tears, we think it is safe to say that games are getting more and more intense - we're at the dawn of the next generation in graphics intensity.
Our suggestion is that if you have the money for two GeForce 6600 LE's, you should spend it on a single GeForce 6600 GT - you'll be able to add another 6600 GT at a later date and it should give you a much better baseline performance.
Is the 6600 LE a bit of a gimmick? Let us know your thoughts in the usual place
Interestingly, we have just spotted that Inno3D will also offer a GeForce 6600 LE OC that will come with 128MB of GDDR3 clocked at 425/1000MHz - it'll be interesting to see whether these can be modded to enable all eight pixel pipelines or not.