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 read

18-05-2007, 07:52:23

FragTek
Nice roundup Kemp, good show.

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 nice

18-05-2007, 08:06:03

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='ionicle'
looks cool, i just wish XFX had done the same with the GTS as the GT, the black PCB does look damn nice
Agreed. And I'm quire fond of the DVI connectors too

18-05-2007, 08:06:18

FarFarAway
Agreed, it really makes the card feel a little bit more special.

However at a £100 price-point you can't complain about the 8600 GT

18-05-2007, 08:20:05

ExtremeBlizzard
Ye the Black does make it look good maybe in future they will make more cards that use different colours:rotfl: :rotfl:

18-05-2007, 12:36:34

Toxcity
Amazing review! Really good read!

They are very nice cards.. darn small!

18-05-2007, 15:40:09

Rastalovich

An XP driver bringing these capabilities is currently being developed by nVidia.



A certain teacher peering over my shoulder asks if this should read Vista ?

An excellent pov of the midrange cards imo, great point about the performance per $$$ too. Scope for self improvement varying too.

I can see me buying some of these for people, and to be fair based on the review I wouldn`t necessarilly buy the same card for all of them

18-05-2007, 16:00:14

WC Annihilus

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.



Nope Trust me, I went through this thing for about an hour

18-05-2007, 16:04:48

Rastalovich
Haha nice1, she won`t like that

EDIT: edited

18-05-2007, 16:06:06

WC Annihilus
For one thing, I think that should be he For another, he asked me to do so (well, look through it anyways)

18-05-2007, 16:12:36

Rastalovich
Meh I`m turning the lappy off, if she wants to post she can get her own freakin account!

18-05-2007, 16:36:36

FarFarAway
Yes thanks to WC who managed to take over an hour reading through and checking the review at 1AM this morning!! Honestly I like my sleep

No really cheers mate

Hope you guys liked the read

18-05-2007, 17:03:11

TJS
I don't know what ATI is doing but nVidia is about to eat into a big portion of their pie. If those prices equate to about $100 to $150 they really are good bang for the buck. That said, I myself wouldn't settle for less than a 8800GTS 320MB, seems like the best card out there for the money; 8600 cards do get a lot chopped off, so while the price is agreeable to the performance it may be a bit too little for a gamer to accept.

TJS

18-05-2007, 17:22:14

ali_james
Nice reviews there

The only thing I don't get is if they really are worth buying? Going from say a 6800gs card and up to 150quid to spend, is it worth going for a 7900ish or 8600gts or even a 8800gts?

I know theres going to be no difinative answer for that, as either card is a big step over my current one. Any thoughts?

Cheers

18-05-2007, 17:27:24

WC Annihilus
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
Yes thanks to WC who managed to take over an hour reading through and checking the review at 1AM this morning!! Honestly I like my sleep

No really cheers mate

Hope you guys liked the read
Haha, well you knew what you were getting into when you asked me

18-05-2007, 17:43:05

FarFarAway
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='ali_james'
Nice reviews there

The only thing I don't get is if they really are worth buying? Going from say a 6800gs card and up to 150quid to spend, is it worth going for a 7900ish or 8600gts or even a 8800gts?

I know theres going to be no difinative answer for that, as either card is a big step over my current one. Any thoughts?

Cheers
DX10 and similar performance to a 7900GT @ 100ish quid? Not too bad imo

18-05-2007, 18:22:20

Rastalovich
What I find interesting, pricewize, is that these cards are hitting the scene @.. well I`ve just had a quick look-see and u can get an MSI 8600 something for £90, up to an XFX XT £150.

Now each step-up in price seems to co-incide with a big of a clock step-up as standard to the cards, and around midway ~£120 - are cards that u could probably pur-chase and clock much better than the more expensive ones.

But - think again - EXPENSIVE, we`re only talking about £30.

It seems to me that market-wize they`re making these cards for a spread of purchasers that would like to say their card is `overclocked` (although straight out of the plastic, but it sounds good) ; overclockers who will buy a kinda midrange and do the rest themselves ; and of course the cheapest I can find section.

What supprizes me most tho is that on release the prices are as low as they are. AND u can see 8800s coming down... is a G90 based card that close ? or are they really trying to spank ATi ?

I`m sorry, but I only see 3 choices of card for machines I may build:

1) heavy gameplayer - 8800

2) likes games, plays quite a bit, nothing intense - on the net alot - 8600

3) desktop - cheapo or onboard tbh. but £90... 8600 over an 8500 ??

Havent even given ATi a thought ??!?

19-05-2007, 11:39:08

youpla
I bought the XFX 8600GTS standard version clocked at 675MHz and it is a big improvement for playing games in 1280x1024 compared to my previous 7800GT.

You can OC the XFX 8600GTS very easily at the same clock as the XXX version 730MHz and even push the GPU up to 775MHz (similar OC Kemp did to the XXX version in the review), thus you can save some bucks on the purchase.
Reply
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