GeForce 8600 GT is a mid-range video card in the new GeForce 8 family from NVIDIA. Usually this kind of model is the one that provides the best cost/benefit ratio for the average user. Is this true for this new release? This is something we will check in our review. Also this model from MSI, NX8600GT-T2D256E OC, comes factory-overclocked, meaning that it will achieve a performance higher than the standard GeForce 8600 GT. Check it out.
The main difference between GeForce 8 and GeForce 7 families is the adoption of DirectX 10 on GeForce 8 family. What this means is that they will support the next generation of games to be released starting this year. It also means that instead of using separated shader units for each kind of shader processing (pixel, vertex, physics and geometry) video cards from this family use a unified shader architecture, where the shader engines can process any one of these tasks. On our NVIDIA GeForce 8 Series Architecture article you can find a more in-depth explanation about this.
So far AMD has announced their ATI Radeon HD 2000 family – which also supports DirectX 10 and uses unified shader architecture –, however mid-range products will be only available in late June, i.e., one month from now. This leaves mid-range cards from GeForce 8 family like GeForce 8600 GT without real direct competitors.
We can find this model from MSI costing around USD 150, so at this price range we have ATI Radeon X1650 XT competing with GeForce 8600 GT.
The standard GeForce 8600 GT runs at 540 MHz and accesses its 256 MB GDDR3 memory at 1.4 GHz (700 MHz transferring two data per clock cycle) through a 128-bit interface, so it can access its memory at a maximum transfer rate of 22.4 GB/s.
This model from MSI comes overclocked, with the graphics chip running at 580 MHz and its memory running at 1.6 GHz, with a maximum memory transfer rate of 25.6 GB/s. So this video card has its GPU running 7.40% faster than the standard GeForce 8600 GT and accesses its memory 14.28% faster than the standard model.
Also if you install the drivers that come with this video card you will have access to D.O.T. or Dynamic Overclocking Technology, where you can overclock your video card simply checking a box on the video properties.
So this video card is a product targeted to users that want an overclocked video card to achieve a higher performance but don’t want to go through the hassle of overclocking the video card themselves.
GeForce 8600 GT has only 32 shader processors running at 1.18 GHz, the double of processors used on GeForce 8500 GT.
For a full comparison between GeForce 8600 GT and other chips from NVIDIA, please read our tutorial NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table. On ATI Chips Comparison Table you can compare them to competitors from ATI/AMD.
On Figures 2 and 3 you can see the reviewed card from MSI.