In a discrete graphics market awash with attention grabbing names and short-lived brands/models, it can be a thankless task trying to stand out from the rest of the middling crowd. Those who have fought this battle and lived know all about the various methods used to drum up attention for their products. One effective way is to make consumers feel obliged to pay more by associating the product with a classy and upmarket vibe. MSI has had some success with this marketing strategy in recent times. Witness its Diamond edition GeForce 6600 cards , which came in stylish packaging extorting the excellent Chronicles of Riddick game bundled with it.
For the case of the MSI Diamond, it was not merely its appearance or packaging that got the five-star treatment. There was substance beneath the style as the card utilized better memory chips to achieve a clock speed of 800MHz DDR. Coincidentally or not, this was the exact same speed NVIDIA set for its own refresh of the GeForce 6600 many months later, which used DDR2 memory instead of DDR1. Therefore, the performance of the forward-looking Diamond was easily ahead of its peers (and NVIDIA) then and deservedly belonged to a premium class. Now, with the latest GeForce 6600 DDR2 cards taking away some of the limelight, MSI hopes to replicate this formula, but with the newer GeForce 6600. Looking to impress us again with this series, MSI has sent us two of its newest NX6600 Ares GeForce 6600 DDR2 256MB cards. Before we proceed to the technical details, let's all take a moment to admire MSI's chic packaging, with its sophisticated blend of black and gold.