NVIDIA confirms 6600 GT architectural details
Yesterday, I posted an update at the bottom of this page
of our GeForce 6600 GT review about the possibility that the NV43 GPU doesn't have a "full" eight pipelines in the traditional sense of that term based on some work Dave at Beyond3D did on the subject
. Today, NVIDIA has confirmed to us that the NV43 can write only four color pixels per clock and has a fragment crossbar. The NV43 does appear to have eight pixel shader/texture units, so its not an "8 x 1" design or a "4 x 1" design. It's more of a hybrid, but the fragment crossbar ensures all four of the chip's ROPs are well utilized. I think it's a smart design.
This development suggests caution when speaking about the number of "pipelines" in a new graphics chip. I'll be updating our review shortly.
What is the real-world impact of this architectural reality? Not much, fortunately, as our benchmarks have shown.