There has been quite a lot of talk about the merits of SLI and whether or not it's worth the price of admission. It's something I had wondered myself, until I actually got a chance to try it myself. While it's certainly not perfect, keep in mind a couple factors:
1) NVIDIA will consistently be adding support for games via drivers. While most of the driver updates come in the form of leaked betas, one should not be hesitant to try them as performance and compatibility likely will improve on an SLI-equipped setup.
2) In games that either do not support SLI or see performance drops like UT 2004, it's easy enough to force the game to run on a single GPU.
That said, in the games that have solid SLI support now, you can see there is some pretty significant performance to be had, even on a midrange card like the 6600 GT. People with 17- or 19-inch LCD monitors with a 1280x1024 native resolution can feel confident that they can game at this setting and even toss in a dose of AA and AF. This is true even if you only get a single 6600 GT and later save up to buy a second card.
And how about the GeForce 6600 GT from MSI? You'll hear no complaints from me about its performance and quality. The cooling fan is quiet enough in that I can't hear it above my four case fans. The copper design keeps temperatures from getting excessive - I average about 45 degrees on each GPU at idle and around 65 at load, give or take 3 degrees.
The sheer amount of stuff that comes in the bundle (both hardware and software) makes this card well worth its price, which is in-line to even slightly lower than comparable models from other manufacturers. Further, if you should get this card and have a problem, MSI has an excellent customer support forum with a community that, in my limited time viewing it, seems to be very willing to help.
Having read several GeForce 6600 GT SLI reviews, I've always believed that this type of setup provides the most bang for the buck when you pair it with a solid motherboard and CPU. Now that I've had a chance to experience it first-hand, I can comfortably say that my beliefs were not unfounded. As with anything, SLI will have its naysayers, which is fine with me. As the technology and software support matures, however, this technology will become a more and more viable option for the PC gaming enthusiast.
MSI has done an excellent job with its hardware. Both the video card and motherboard have proven completely stable even during heavy stress testing. While maximum performance is a great thing, it doesn't do you much good if your system is unstable. So props are definitely in order for MSI and NVIDIA. The tech is still a little green, but I've put my faith into the old Beatles song in that it should be "getting better all the time."
March 17, 2005 - Changed original SLI definition to Scan Line Interleave, small html update to fix justification problem. Am looking into claim that MSI cooler is aluminum but painted to look like copper.