nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 1
Introduction

After the release of the 8800 series, consumers were all waiting for the mid-range cards to hit the shelves. nVidia let everyone hold their breath for a while and ATI haven't really gotten there yet, but we do now have them in our grubby mitts.

The mid-range section of the graphics market is a key market for the GPU makers and nVidia really hit this segment with the 6600GT when the 6 series came out. Just looking at something like the Valve hardware survey sees about 50% of the gamers using a 6600GT.

The 8600's are supposed to fill that gap that hasn't really been filled properly since...so let's see what's what.

What has been done different?

Well first of all it's an economy of scale. G84 is smaller than G80...by quite a lot. 32 stream processors replace 128 and the 384bit memory interface is replaced with a 128bit interface. This leaves me feeling a bit non-plussed. I appreciate that the mid-range cards will be cut-down versions of the top-end hardware but it seems to have been taken a little too far.


g80 vs g84
g80 vs g84

The one thing you notice is that the texture address units are increased in G84, with nVidia increasing the texture addressing per-clock cycle from 4 to 8 - giving a theoretical 16 cycles per clock. In reality though this doesn't really affect the numbers so not all that much has changed.

The ROP capabilities are also decreased with two lots of four ROP units capable of 8 pixels per clock to memory when implementing colour and Z-processing.

Also included is full hardware decoding of H.264 video as well as VC-1 content. I could not test this in this review as I am using Windows XP Professional for the tests and not Vista. An XP driver bringing these capabilities is currently being developed by nVidia.

Now the technical bit is over let's look at some specs.

  GeForce 8600 GTS
GeForce 8600 GT
Stream Processors 32 32
Core Clock (MHz)
675 540
Shader Clock (MHz)
1450 1180
Memory Clock (MHz) 1000 700
Memory Amount 256 GDDR3
256mb GDDR3
Memory Interface 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 32 22.4
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) 10.8 8.6
And some features:
NVIDIA® Unified Architecture

* Unified shader architecture
* GigaThread™ technology
* Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 10
o Geometry shaders
o Geometry instancing
o Streamed output
o Shader Model 4.0
* Full 128-bit floating point precision through the entire rendering pipeline

NVIDIA Lumenex™ Engine

* 16x full screen anti-aliasing
* Transparent multisampling and transparent supersampling
* 16x angle independent anisotropic filtering
* 128-bit floating point high dynamic-range (HDR) lighting with anti-aliasing
o 32-bit per component floating point texture filtering and blending
* Advanced lossless compression algorithms for color, texture, and z-data
* Support for normal map compression
* Z-cull
* Early-Z

NVIDIA Quantum Effects™ Technology

* Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation
* Simulate and render physics effects on the graphics processor

NVIDIA SLI™ Technology1

* Patented hardware and software technology allows two GeForce-based graphics cards to run in parallel to scale performance and enhance image quality on today's top titles.

NVIDIA PureVideo™ HD Technology2

* Dedicated on-chip video processor
* High-definition H.264, VC-1, MPEG2 and WMV9 decode acceleration
* Advanced spatial-temporal de-interlacing
* HDCP capable3
* Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing
* Noise Reduction
* Edge Enhancement
* Bad Edit Correction
* Inverse telecine (2:2 and 3:2 pull-down correction)
* High-quality scaling
* Video color correction
* Microsoft® Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) support

Advanced Display Functionality

* Two dual-link DVI outputs for digital flat panel display resolutions up to 2560x1600
* One dual-link DVI outputs for digital flat panel display resolutions up to 2560x16004
* Dual integrated 400MHz RAMDACs for analog display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536 at 85Hz
* Integrated HDTV encoder provides analog TV-output (Component/Composite/S-Video) up to 1080i resolution
* NVIDIA nView® multi-display technology capability
* 10-bit display processing

Built for Microsoft® Windows Vista™

* Full DirectX 10 support
* Dedicated graphics processor powers the new Windows Vista Aero 3D user interface
* VMR-based video architecture

High Speed Interfaces

* Designed for PCI Express® x16
* Designed for high-speed GDDR3 and DDR2 memory

Operating Systems

* Built for Microsoft Windows Vista
* Windows XP/Windows XP 64
* Linux

API Support

* Complete DirectX support, including Microsoft DirectX 10 Shader Model 4.0
* Full OpenGL® support, including OpenGL 2.0

1 NVIDIA SLI certified versions of GeForce PCI Express GPUs only.
2 Feature requires supported video software. Features may vary by product.
3 Requires other compatible components that are also HDCP capable.
4 Feature available on GeForce 8500 GPUs only.

Next let's take a look at what cards we've got, what they look like and what they come with.

nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 2
XFX 8600GTS "XXX" Edition

XFX have again sent us one of their impressive XXX Edition cards to take a look at. With higher clocks and faster memory this card should be a good performer.

A reminder of how these card stack up:

 XFX "XXX" 8600 GTS
Foxconn 8600 GTSReference 8600 GT XFX 8600 GT
Stream Processors 32 32 32 32
Core Clock (MHz)
730
675 540 620
Shader Clock (MHz)
1595 1450 1130 1355
Memory Clock (MHz) 1130
1000 700 800
Memory Amount 256 GDDR3
256 GDDR3 256mb GDDR3
256mb GDDR3
Memory Interface 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 32 32 22.4 22.4
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) 10.8 10.8 8.6 8.6

Packaging

XFX have again gone with the white box portraying their familiar branded Cyberdog on the front. This should stand out on the shelves, especially when coupled with the signature lime green as well.

xfx 8600 gts box xfx 8600 gts box 2

The card is in a plastic see-through moulded covering in the box which should keep it pretty safe during transit.

xfx 8600 gts packaging

Package

The package with the 8600 GTS includes:

* Driver CD
* Manual
* Molex to PCI-e 6 Pin power adapter
* DVI yo VGA adapter
* S-Video to S-Video Cable
* Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Full Game DVD

xfx 8600 gts package

All in all a pretty decent package for a mid-range card. G.R.A.W. isn't the very best title but it's certainly worth a play with and it's pretty intense and fairly involving, so that's a pretty good deal.

The Card

The card itself is actually pretty small and surprises you when you're used to dealing with the behemoth's that are the top-end of the GPU scale. The 8600 GTS is about the same length as a 6600 GT and is certainly a good size for every normal size PC case and would also do well in an HTPC.

xfx 8800gts card top xfx 8600 gts rear card

XFX have retained their white branding and added a couple of dog-tags for this card. Notice almost all the capacitors on board are solid-state and high-quality parts used throughout the card. The cooler is a single slot affair and I'll give you my impressions of it below. The PCB is green which I was slightly disappointed about as XFX's cards usually stand out by having a black PCB.

Update - Feedback from XFX

"The Stability Board is designed to stop card flexing in transit, and as a result, GPUs popping from the PCB. This is of particular benefit to gamers in general and protects any flex on the board in transit. This is actually an added feature and a benefit to the consumer."

Fair enough - I'm confident this is a benefit to the consumer anyway.

xfx 8600 gts side xfx 8600 gts power

XFX have chosen to add a retention mechanism on the 8600GTS and this is a good thing. I did, however, have some issues with it getting caught on the backplate of the case I used (Silverstone TJ09) so it wasn't all good. Still, this brings a nice touch to the card and for those with a window you can boast having an XFX in your system.

Power is supplied from a 6-Pin PCI-e power connector situated in the normal place making it easy to route to.

dvi ports xfx 8600 gts

The 8600 GTS supports Dual Link DVI - digital output up to 2560x1600. This is also dual HCDP compliant for those of you with plenty of money wanting to hook up two HDMI displays to the card.

Specification

* Game Bundle
GRAW

* Clock rate
730 MHz

* Dual Link DVI - Supporting digital output up to 2560x1600
Dual

* Highlighted Features
HDCP Ready , RoHS , TV Out , SLI ready , HDTV ready , Dual DVI Out

* Chipset
GeForce 8600 GTS

* RAMDACs
400 MHz

* Stream Processors
32

* Shader Clock
1450 MHz

* Memory Clock
2.26 GHz

* Memory
256 MB

* Bus Type
PCI-E

* Memory Type
DDR3

* Memory Bus
128 bit

* Memory Interface
128 bit

* Memory Bandwidth
32 GB/sec

* Fill Rate
10.8 billion/sec


The Cooler

As usual XFX have dressed the stock nVidia cooler up for their 8600 GTS XXX Edition but that's not all a bad thing. The plus point of this cooler is that it does keep the card very cool. Idle temperatures were recorded at 54°C and loading up to 74°C (ambient ~ 21.3°C).

xfx 8600 gts cooler xfx 8600 gts xxx edition cooler

The sound coming off of the card isn't too bad. It's generally pretty quiet but be warned it can get a little whiney when fully spun up. That being said, it's nothing on some of the coolers I've lived with in the past, and certainly has nothing on the X1800 series.

Now onto the Foxconn...


nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 3
Foxconn 8600 GTS

Foxconn are a huge supplier of motherboards to both OEM's and system builders and when they stepped into the GPU world it sent a few ripples through nVidia's other AIB's. They are targeting their cards at the enthusiast with some pretty modern art coloured designs which personally I find pretty funky.

Our table again:

 XFX "XXX" 8600 GTS
Foxconn 8600 GTSReference 8600 GT XFX 8600 GT
Stream Processors 32 32 32 32
Core Clock (MHz)
730
675 540 620
Shader Clock (MHz)
1595 1450 1180 1355
Memory Clock (MHz) 1130
1000 700 800
Memory Amount 256 GDDR3
256 GDDR3 256mb GDDR3
256mb GDDR3
Memory Interface 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 32 32 22.4 22.4
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) 10.8 10.8 8.6 8.6

Package

As mentioned above the packaging Foxconn have used for the 8600 GTS is pretty damn funky. Bright colours and comic luna landscapes appeal to my "inner child" making it a kind of good fun box to look at on the shelves.

foxconn 8600 gts foxconn 8600 gts

Foxconn have added a whole load of writing on the back, which I feel makes it look a little cluttered - although information on a box is always a good thing.

foxconn 8600 gts in box

The packaging is compartmentalised like many other cards we've seen which is highly effective at keeping the card safe and sound.

Package

Foxconn have added quite a lot into the package for this card. Included is:

* Restore IT 7.0 CD
* Virtual Drive Pro 10.0 CD
* Driver CD
* FOXCONN proprietary “Foxware Overclock Utility”
* Manual
* S-Video to component out
* Dual Molex to PCI-e 6 Pin power adapter
* DVI to VGA adapter


foxconn 8600 gts package

The package is a little strange with no games or benchmarking tools included, but the added software is a nice touch. Remember this card is retailing at around £130 and so Foxconn are placing the bundle accordingly. All in all not bad at all.

The card itself

Again Foxconn have gone with nVidia's stock solution on the card which again isn't a very bad decision. The card is colourful and pretty exciting to look at with a weird and wonderful pattern.

foxconn 8600 gts foxconn 8600 gts side view

foxconn 8600 gts rear

Again Foxconn use nearly all solid state capacitors on the card with a green PCB and top-quality components throughout. This is keeping up with their excellent reputation of making solid performing motherboards so they know what they're doing. Again I wish more manufacturers would stay away from green PCB's, but then I am always a fan of black.

foxconn 8600 gts card power

Again the same as the XFX card the power is at the end of the card. Notice the good quality caps again.

foxconn 8800 gts dvi ports

Again utilising the features of the 8600 GTS core Foxconn have gone for dual Dual Link DVI with HDCP. Nice to see mid-range cards getting the features they should do.

Specifications

Let's take a look at what Foxconn boasts of it's card:

* GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS

* Core: G84

* CoreClock: 675MHz

* RAMDACs: 400MHz

* Memory Type: GDDR3

* Memory Size: 256MB

* Memory Clock: 2000MHz

* Shader units: 32 (added MK)

* Memory Interface: 128-bit

* Graphics Bus Technology: PCI Express x16

* Cooler: Fansink

* Connectors: Dual Dual-Link DVI + HDTV-Out

* Special Features: NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD Support

* NVIDIA® SLI™ Support

* Dual Dual-Link DVI Support

* HDTV Out Support

* Windows Vista™ Support

Following nVidia's spec with this card, Foxconn are soon to be releasing an overclocked card too, but we haven't got our hands on one of those.

The Cooler

Again Foxconn have gone with the stock nVidia cooler and again I say this is a decent solution, not amazing but pretty smart. As this card wasn't clocked as high as the XFX card it was slightly cooler with 50°C idle and 72°C load (ambient again ~ 21.3°C). Basically the cooler does it's job and you can't argue a huge amount.

foxconn 8800gts cooler

Fan noise really ramps up at load but idles fine - it's a bit of an annoying noise too so silent PC fans may want to budget for an Arctic Cooling S2 or something similar.

Now XFX again...this time in 8600 GT flavour.


nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 4
XFX 8600 GT XXX Edition

Now onto the 8600 GTS's little brother, the 8600 GT. With lower clockspeeds, lower clocked shaders and less memory bandwidth this is only a slightly slower GTS. To complete the picture:

 XFX "XXX" 8600 GTS
Foxconn 8600 GTSReference 8600 GT XFX "XXX" 8600 GT
Stream Processors 32 32 32 32
Core Clock (MHz) 730
675 540 620
Shader Clock (MHz)
1595 1450 1180 1355
Memory Clock (MHz) 1130
1000 700 800
Memory Amount 256 GDDR3
256 GDDR3 256mb GDDR3
256mb GDDR3
Memory Interface 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 32 32 22.4 22.4
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) 10.8 10.8 8.6 8.6

Packaging

The packaging on the XFX "XXX" Edition 8600 GT is almost identical to the GTS card. With the cartoon cyber-dog on the front and some nVidia information on the back. I didn't mention it in the 8600 GTS close look but the box is actually pretty compact, although still well protected.

xfx 8600 gt box top xfx 8600 gt box rear

The box is bound to stand out on retail shelves, as mentioned previously.

xfx 8600 gt card protected

Again the XFX 8600 GT is protected by a clear plastic layer so you shouldn't have any problems at all with couriers unless they run over it (don't laugh - that happened to someone I know - Ed). A different approach to Foxconn but a pretty decent job of protecting the card.

Package

The package with the XFX 8600 GT is:

* Driver CD
* Installation Manual
* S-Video to S-Video Cable
* DVI to VGA converter

And...that's it.

xfx 8600 gt package

I have to admit I was rather disappointed with the bundle here seeing as it's XFX's flagship "XXX" Edition, even if it is only the 8600 GT. Hardware-wise again XFX are missing anything to connect up the card to an HDTV, which would have been a big bonus and is something Foxconn have obviously thought of already.

The card itself

This is more like an XFX card! With the black PCB and the green DVI ports this is a nice looking card. It's also a pretty tiny card even compared to the 8600 GTS.

xfx 8600 gt xxx edition front xfx 8600 gt xxx edition rear card

Again the dogtags adorn the cooler and again XFX have gone for the stock nVidia-designed cooler on the 8600 GT. This card again uses mostly solid state capacitors and this time has no PCI-e power dongle.

xfx 8600 gt caps

The black PCB on the XFX 8600 GT XXX Edition gives the card a real air of something special which is why I was so confused when their 8600 GTS had a green PCB.

xfx 8600 gt dvi ports

Again the 8600 GT features dual Dual Link DVI ports supporting two lots of up to 2560x1600 with HDCP. Notice the lime green colour on the DVI ports, excellent.

Specifications

* Clock rate
620 MHz

* Dual Link DVI - Supporting digital output up to 2560x1600
Dual

* Highlighted Features
HDCP Ready , RoHS , TV Out , SLI ready , HDTV ready , Dual DVI Out

* Chipset
GeForce 8600 GTS

* RAMDACs
400 MHz

* Stream Processors
32

* Shader Clock
1355 MHz

* Memory Clock
1.6 GHz

* Memory
256 MB

* Bus Type
PCI-E

* Memory Type
DDR3

* Memory Bus
128 bit

* Memory Interface
128 bit

* Memory Bandwidth
22.4 GB/sec

* Fill Rate
8.6billion/sec

The little 8600 GT XXX Edition doesn't do too bad at all.

The Cooler

Again XFX uses the stock nVidia cooler and again it's not a bad looking little thing.

xfx 8600 gt xxx edition cooler

The fan is about the same loudness as the GTS cooler and again doesn't spin up too much so it's not too bad. Temperatures were idle 50°C and load 77°C. Strange that a lower clocked core would get hotter, but then the cooler is a bit smaller so it does make sense.

Now onto some benchmarks


nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 5
Test Setup

The setup is:

CPU: Intel Core2Duo E6700 @ 3.33Ghz
Motherboard: abit FP-IN9 SLI
RAM: 1gb Mushkin XP2-5300 4-4-4-12
Sound: Creative Labs X-Fi fatal1ty FPS
HDD: OS - 160gb Hitachi Deskstar SATA II
HDD: Gaming - 2 x 40gb Hitachi Deskstars in RAID 0
Power: Silverstone Zeus 560w
Case: Silverstone TJ09
Cooling: Scythe Infinity

I am using a manual run-through of the games listed, exactly the same as in previous reviews, but doing it slightly differently to get some consistant numbers. Notice that for all games I ran through at 1280 x 1024, with the same amount of AA and AF on each game. For all of the 3Dmark benchmarks I did two runs. One run was with the stock settings that the free version of the benchmark comes with and one was with 2 x AA @ 1680 x 1050.

For installation I have installed the cards as usual with the normal PCI-E power dongle (or not as required), checked that the card is seated correctly and powered on.

I am using a clean install of Windows XP Professional SP2 with all the latest patches.

nVidia drivers used were 158.22

ATI drivers used were Catalysts 7.4's

Cards

XFX 8600 GTS "XXX" Edition Core Speed: 730. Memory Speeds: 2260 (1130). Stream Processor Clock: 1595MHz.

Foxconn 8600 GTS Core Speed: 675. Memory Speeds: 2000 (1000). Stream Processor Clock: 1450MHz

XFX 8600 GT "XXX" Edition Core Speed: 620. Memory Speeds: 1600 (800). Stream Processor Clock: 1355MHz

Sapphire X1950 Crossfire Edition Core Speed: 650Mhz. Memory Speeds: 1550 (800). Stream Processor Clock: N/A

nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 6
Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 2 is a fairly recent game that uses a lot of DirectX 9.0c features, including real time shadows, amazing smoke effects and some nice looking HDR effects. This makes the game very taxing at these high resolutions. I played a fully patched up version of the game. Once again I played through the game with a two minute gaming session including explosions, smoke and also lots of snow.

Note that for this review I played at 1280 x 1024 with 4 x AA, all other settings were on maximum.

Let's see how the cards fared here:

call of duty 2 results

With these game tests I am only using the X1950 card as a reference point here. You can see that all three cards coped pretty well with CoD 2 - a pretty demanding game even by today's standards. The XFX tops the lot here, a start of a trend.

F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R. is a game based on an engine that uses many features of DirectX 9.0c. It has volumetric lighting, soft shadows, parallax mapping and particle effects, with a slow-motion mode that really taxes today's top of the line GPU's. I played a fully updated game with the latest patches installed. I played three two-minute runs on a taxing part of the game with plenty of action, using slow-motion for the full time whilst firing at enemy soldiers and using grenades that produce a cool "blast" contortion effect when blown up.

The cards were played at 1280 x 1024 with 4 x AA, 4 x FSAA and soft shadows disabled. All other settings were on maximum.

FEAR test results

The Foxconn did pretty well in F.E.A.R. here just outmatching the XFX by 1 FPS or so. I wasn't quite sure of the reason for this, but all three cards managed this game to a very good-looking level of immersion.

Oblivion

Oblivion is an awesome RPG with a simply huge immersive environment, great graphics and incredibly realistic scenery. This game is currently one of the most testing games that you can buy and it is certainly a test of the high-end cards here. I chose to do a run-through of the Arena part of the game. I spoke to a character, did some magic whilst in a fight and fought in the arena that is pretty huge. Also as well as doing this test I took a wander around to make sure that the benchmark resembled the general gameplay with each card. In-game settings used:

oblivion settings 1 oblivion settings 2

oblivion settings 3 oblivion settings 4

Oblivion was played at 1280 x 1024 with HDR enabled and no AA.

oblivion fps

The cards are a little more predictable in Oblivion with the XFX card taking quite a lead. To me this shows that this leans more on the stream processor clock than the actual clockspeed. Still, even the 8600 GT did very well in Oblivion at this resolution and settings, very impressive.


nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 7
Quake 4

Quake 4 is a game built on the Doom 3 engine. This uses many DX 9.0c features and is a game that nVidia traditionally did well on being an OpenGL game. Once again I did three two minute runs on Quake 4 on each card and took the average of all my readings from these. I played a fast and furious part of the game that required both internal and external scenes.

Quake 4 was played at 1280 x 1024 with 2 x AA (Ultra settings)

quake 4 benchmarks

The 8600's did very well in Quake 4 as was expected. The GTS cards did very well with the XFX topping the lot nicely.

Command & Conquer 3

C&C3 is the much awaited RTS from EA. Hugely popular and with some pretty nice visuals almost every modern PC should be able to play it. I tested a skirmish right at the end when I had a screen full of mechs to defeat the enemy.

C&C 3 was played at 1280 x 1024 with all maximum settings apart from the AA which was set to level 2 in-game.


c&c 3 benchmarks

The XFX card did a little better than the other two 8600's in the test but all of the cards played the game very easily and it was a pleasent experience.

Game Tests Summary

The 8600's have shown that they are more than capable of playing some very demanding games at 1280 x 1024 with some decent detail levels in my game tests. I'm not sure I could recommend them for a higher resolution than this


nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 8
Benchmarking - 3DMark

I used the popular gaming benchmarks made by Futuremark to bench all of the cards. I used 3DMark 03, 05 and 06. All benches were performed at stock speeds for this section. I ran all benchmarks from the stock settings as well as 1680 x 1050 (2 x AA).

3DMark 03

First we start with 3DMark03. This is a benchmark that relies heavily on DirectX 8 features. This will give an indication of how the card will run on games that rely on DX 8.

3dmark03 benchy

The cards did pretty well in 3DMark03, with the XFX coming out ahead of the other 8600's by some way. The 8600 GT accounted well for itself though.

3DMark05

I ran 3DMark05. This benchmark requires some more features of DirectX 9 and gets slightly more taxing on the cards.

3dmark05 benchy

Again the XFX comes out very much on top of the 8600 cards. These cards still put out some nice scores in the synthetics though.

3DMark06

3DMark06 is the latest in the benchmarking tests from Futuremark. It has a lot of DirectX 9.0c features such as HDR and use of Shader model 3.0. This benchmark is very taxing for the cards and also includes quite a harsh CPU benchmark. Seeing as this was run with the exact same CPU this was not an issue.

3dmark06 benchmark

3DMark06 is the most testing of the benchmarks but I feel the cards did pretty well in them considering they are mid-range cards. Again the superiorly clocked XFX card kicks some arse here.


nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 9
Overclocking

Unfortunately I wasn't as able to spend a lot of time overclocking the cards as I usually am but I did manage some pretty nice overclocks on the clocks using the nVidia control panel and NTune. Overclocks were verified by running a 3DMark06 run, of which I must confess the results have eluded me at this time.

 Stock
Clocks
Overclocked
Core Clock
Stock Memory
Clocks
Overlocked
Memory Clock
XFX 8600 GTS "XXX" Edition  730 7752260 2270
Foxconn 8600 GTS
 675 7702000
2240
XFX 8600 GT "XXX" Edition  620 6701600
1900


So that adds up to the following:

overclocking 8600 gt and 8600 gts

The Foxconn card really did very well here managing a respectable 14% overclock on the core and 12% on the memory. The 8600 GTS is really seen as pushed to its limits here where it didn't manage much of an overclock (6% core and only about 10MHz memory). The 8600 GT does pretty well here, but the core clock is again quite pushed already.



nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX Page: 10
Conclusion

The 8600 GTS do fill a market that needs to be filled right now. People want to be future-proofed with DirectX 10 cards but they want to pay a reasonable price for them.

Having said that it's hard to ignore the fact that if you pay a little more you get an 8800 GTS 320mb. Now at the minute the figures are all adjusting themselves and I think that the 8600 series will fall a little in price. However, right now it's hard to say "Yes go and buy an 8600".

However, these cards do offer an entry into DirectX 10 at a decent price point. The XFX 8600 GTS "XXX" edition card comes in at around £150 and the 8600 GT "XXX" Edition at around £105 - very reasonable. At present I could not find a Foxconn card for sale in the UK but I will be in contact with Foxconn and find a UK retailer for you. Currently Foxconn have quoted me around £130 for their 8600 GTS - well worth it.

Retailers:

XFX "XXX" Edition 8600 GTS:

Recommended Retailers TekHeads

Recommended Retailers SpecialTech

XFX "XXX" Edition 8600 GT

Recommended Retailers TekHeads

Scores & Awards

XFX "XXX" Edition 8600 GTS

Recommended Award

Pro's

+ Best Performing 8600 card
+ Decent Bundled Game
+ Fast stream processors
+ Factory Overclocked like mad

Con's

- Expensive
- Hardware bundle lacking somewhat
- Lack of overclocking

Foxconn 8600 GTS

Recommended Award

Pro's

+ Excellent Price-point
+ Decent performance
+ Excellent overclocking
+ Good bundle

Con's

- Beaten by the XFX XXX Edition
- Not everybody's taste in colours
- Lack of availability

XFX "XXX" Edition 8600 GT

Gamers Choice Award Value For $$ Award

Pro's

+ Great performer for the money
+ Sweet looking card
+ Almost up with a stock GTS in performance
+ Overclocks well

Con's

- Poor bundle
- Whiney cooler

Slightly controversial perhaps giving the slowest card in the tests the "Gamers choice" but I feel that at around £100 the XFX 8600 GT "XXX" Edition is the best "bang for buck" in our tests and sits perfectly at a price point that people will feel comfortable going for.

Thanks to XFX and Foxconn for the review samples

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