nVidia 8600 GTS and 8600 GT - Foxconn and XFX

Introducing nVidia 8600

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.
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Most Recent Comments

18-05-2007, 07:44:42

FarFarAway
We take a hard look at the performance of the new 8600 cards. Two from XFX and one from Foxconn.

Have a readQuote

18-05-2007, 07:52:23

FragTek
Nice roundup Kemp, good show.

Quote

18-05-2007, 08:00:17

ionicle
looks cool, i just wish XFX had done the same with the GTS as the GT, the black PCB does look damn niceQuote
Reply
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