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BFG, Chaintech, ECS, POV
8500/8600 GT/GTS Roundup

September 3, 2007



BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC 256MB,
BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB ThermoIntelligence,
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB,
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB,
ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB,
ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB,
Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB




Despite the chilly reception of the new cards from NVIDIA because of their cut-down features and relatively high prices, Mid-End products with DX10 support are gradually filling the market. Here is the entire family:

  1. NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS (G84) 256MB GDDR3, 675/1450/2000 MHz, 32 unified processors/16(?) TMUs/8 ROPs - $229-249
  2. NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT (G84) 256MB GDDR3, 540/1180/1600 MHz, 32 unified processors/16(?) TMUs/8 ROPs - $179
  3. NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT (G86) 256MB GDDR2, 460/900/800 MHz, 16 unified processors/8 TMUs/8 ROPs - $89-$129

So why these products are more popular than they seemed to be at the time they only appeared on the market? There are two reasons: (1) dropping prices, they are sometimes as low as the bottom price fork or even lower; (2) performance in key applications is gradually improving with the appearance of new drivers.

They include optimizations as well as bug fixes. However, the serene dome of the NVIDIA sky is getting cloudy - AMD have launched competing solutions. The latter initially have attractive prices, so they can win over a large share of end users and system integrators.

Competition is always good to us, users. It leads to lower prices and wider choices. What concerns profits of AMD and NVIDIA - it's their problems. What's important for us is to have BOTH players on the market as long as possible to ensure competition.

Let's return to the GeForce 8500-8600. All experienced users should understand that this sterling DX10 support is formal, because performance of these cards barely allows to play games in 1024x768. That is you'll have to reduce quality settings or even disable some 3D graphics features, so you won't be able to enjoy all DX10 features.

Nevertheless, the age of DX10 ONLY games is coming. Gamers will still have to upgrade to such solutions. A new generation of Mid-End DX10 graphics cards may appear by that time, which will offer more features and higher performance. So the GeForce 8500-8600 as well as the RADEON HD 2400-2600 may have to retire. However, these are only our assumptions. As for now, owners of Mid-End DX10 cards can play DX10 demos in low resolution to avoid slide shows.

We're going to examine seven cards today. Two of them are copies of the reference design, manufactured by NVIDIA's orders. So they are of little interest. The other five models differ from the reference card.

Graphics Cards



BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC 256MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8600 GTS (G84)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 710/1525 MHz (nominal - 675/1450 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1000 (2000) MHz (nominal - 1000 (2000) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 128bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 32
  • Texture processors: 16
  • ROPs: 8
  • Dimensions: 190x100x15 mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a graphics card).
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).




BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence
  • GPU: GeForce 8600 GTS (G84)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 720/1566 MHz (nominal - 675/1450 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1100 (2200) MHz (nominal - 1000 (2000) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 128bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 32
  • Texture processors: 16
  • ROPs: 8
  • Dimensions: 190x100x15 mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a graphics card).
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).




Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8600 GT (G84)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 595/1300 MHz (nominal - 540/1180 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 770 (1540) MHz (nominal - 700 (1400) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 128bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 32
  • Texture processors: 16
  • ROPs: 8
  • Dimensions: 190x100x32 mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a graphics card).
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).




Chaintech GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8600 GTS (G84)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 675/1450 MHz (nominal - 675/1450 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 1000 (2000) MHz (nominal - 1000 (2000) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 128bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 32
  • Texture processors: 16
  • ROPs: 8
  • Dimensions: 190x100x15 mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a graphics card).
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).




ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8500 GT (G86)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 460/918 MHz (nominal - 460/918 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 333 (666) MHz (nominal - 400 (800) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 128bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 16
  • Texture processors: 8
  • ROPs: 8
  • Dimensions: 170x100x15 mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a graphics card).
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: DVI (Dual-Link), VGA, TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: not available.




ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8600 GT (G84)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 600/1310 MHz (nominal - 540/1180 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 800 (1600) MHz (nominal - 700 (1400) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 128bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 32
  • Texture processors: 16
  • ROPs: 8
  • Dimensions: 190x100x32 mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a graphics card).
  • PCB color: blue
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).




Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E
  • GPU: GeForce 8600 GT (G84)
  • Interface: PCI-Express x16
  • GPU frequencies (ROPs/Shaders): 540/1180 MHz (nominal - 540/1180 MHz)
  • Memory frequencies (physical (effective)): 700 (1400) MHz (nominal - 700 (1400) MHz)
  • Memory bus width: 128bit
  • Vertex processors: -
  • Pixel processors: -
  • Unified processors: 32
  • Texture processors: 16
  • ROPs: 8
  • Dimensions: 190x100x15 mm (the last figure is the maximum thickness of a graphics card).
  • PCB color: green
  • RAMDACs/TDMS: integrated into GPU.
  • Output connectors: 2xDVI (Dual-Link), TV-Out.
  • VIVO: not available
  • TV-out: integrated into GPU.
  • Multi-GPU operation: SLI (Hardware).






BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC 256MB PCI-E
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E
Each graphics card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in four chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 1.0 ns memory access time, which corresponds to 1000 (2000) MHz.




ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-E
The graphics card has 512 MB of GDDR2 SDRAM memory, allocated in eight chips on the front side of the PCB.

ProMOS memory chips (GDDR2). 3.0ns memory access time, which corresponds to 333 (666) MHz.




BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence
The graphics card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in four chips on the front side of the PCB.

Hynix memory chips (GDDR3). 1.0 ns memory access time, which corresponds to 1000 (2000) MHz.




ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E
The graphics card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in four chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 1.2ns memory access time, which corresponds to 800 (1600) MHz.




Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCI-E
The graphics card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in four chips on the front side of the PCB.

Samsung memory chips (GDDR3). 1.4 ns memory access time, which corresponds to 700 (1400) MHz.




Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E
The graphics card has 256 MB of GDDR3 SDRAM allocated in four chips on the front side of the PCB.

Qimonda memory chips (GDDR3). 1.4 ns memory access time, which corresponds to 700 (1400) MHz.






Comparison with the reference design, front view
BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E
BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC 256MB PCI-E
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS
ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E
Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E
ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT


Comparison with the reference design, back view
BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E
BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC 256MB PCI-E
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS
ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E
Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E
ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-E
Reference card NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT

All the 8600GTS cards are based on the reference design. Even the overclocked BFG card with a blue PCB. They are based on a compact PCB, which still requires external power supply. Unlike GTS models, the 8600GT cards have a simpler power supply unit, no external power connector, and smaller PCBs.

The 8500GT cards are based on the 6600 and 7600GS designs, which use eight memory chips on the front side of the PCB.

All these cards have TV-Out with a unique jack. You will need a special bundled adapter to output video to a TV-set via S-Video or RCA. You can read about the TV-Out in more detail here.

Analog monitors with d-Sub (VGA) interface are connected with special DVI-to-d-Sub adapters. Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz Max Refresh Rate
  • 2048 x 1536 x 32bit x85Hz Max - analog interface
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz Max - digital interface (all DVI jacks with Dual-Link)

What concerns MPEG2 playback features (DVD-Video), we analyzed this issue in 2002. Little has changed since that time. CPU load during video playback does not exceed 25% on all modern graphics cards. What concerns HDTV and other trendy video features, you can read the first of our reviews here.

The 8600GTS-based cards require additional power supply, so they are equipped with a black 6-pin connector at the end. The cards are bundled with a splitter to connect to any power cable with a Molex in case your PSU does not have this cable.

Now about the cooling systems. I shall not describe coolers of the reference 8600GTS cards - we have already examined them.

ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E
It's a standard compact cooler of the closed design. Such devices have been actively used by graphics card manufacturers for over five years (heatsinks may change their form, but the principle remains the same - an off-center fan blows air through the heatsink).

The cooler is practically noiseless owing to its low-speed fan.




BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence
Even though the card itself is of the reference design (only its PCB is blue), BFG engineers tried to find a new compact solution for better cooling. And they found it: the cooler is based on the same principle as the reference design as well as the previous model - a fan blows air through the closed heatsink. But the cooler from BFG (it's actually made by ADDA) is rotated - it blows the air to the tail of the video card instead of to the bracket, as in case of the reference design. The heatsink has more efficient finning than the reference cooler. On the whole, this device is so efficient that it cools the GPU and memory even better than the reference cooler, being quiet at that (low-speed fan). The main drawback of the reference cooler on the 8600GTS cards is its noise because of the high-speed fan.





Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E
It's a simple but very efficient solution, because this heatsink finning provides a very good cooling effect. However, the 8600GT card operating at the nominal frequencies does not require extensive cooling. It's a quiet device.





Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCI-E
That's another iteration of the first cooler. Only the heatsink has a different form, more rounded. The operation principle is the same. So, this cooler works with the 8600GT very efficiently and noiselessly.





ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-E
This card does not require intensive cooling, because the GPU operating at nominal frequencies can be cooled even with a passive cooler without a fan. So ECS decided to use the simplest cooler we have ever seen on graphics cards of the last but one generation. Even though the cooler is quiet, I must still warn you that such simple coolers with a fan in the center may get very noisy after some time, because bearing in such cheap fans wears down very fast.




We monitored temperatures using RivaTuner (written by A.Nikolaychuk AKA Unwinder). We got the following results:

BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence




ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E




Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E




ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-E




Alas, ECS cards have problems with cooling. They get very hot, especially the 8500GT. That's what a weak quiet cooler can do... The only thing we can do it to complain. Besides, a situation with the 8600GT from the same manufacturer is no better.

The overclocked card from BFG with a unique cooler is up to the mark. It's noiseless, and its temperature does not rise above 75°, while the noisy reference cooler allows the core to get hotter by 10°.

The cooling system from PoV is highly efficient, as we have expected, operating temperatures did not rise above 60°.

Bundle

BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence
BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC 256MB PCI-E
User's Manual, CD with drivers and utilities, two DVI-to-VGA adapters, a component output adapter, an external power adapter.


Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCI-E
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E
User's Manual, CD with drivers and utilities, two DVI-to-VGA adapters, a component output adapter, TV extension cords. The 8600GTS also comes with an external power adapter.


ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E
ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-E
User's Manual, CD with drivers and utilities, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a component output adapter.


Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E
User's Manual, CD with drivers and utilities, Ratatouille (game), a DVI-to-VGA adapter, and a component-output adapter.




Packages



BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence
BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC 256MB PCI-E

Boxes are made of hardboard. They have a window on the front side to show off the cooler on the card with the card name on it. There are no other insignia on the box. Ironically, all inscriptions on the boxes are upside down relative to the label on the cooler. It's impossible to turn the card over without shifting it from the window, which is slightly off center. But we've heard that such packages were used only for the earliest batches.

All components are arranged into plastic sections inside, so the cards are protected from dangling in transit.




Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCI-E
Chaintech GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E

Boxes for these cards are almost identical, they differ only in size and labels. They are all made of thick cardboard. The card inside is packed into two envelopes and then put into a special compartment, so damages in transit are out of the question.




ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-E

The box has a portrait design (it's oriented vertically) in bright colors with huge labels. The package consists of a glossy jacket with a white cardboard box inside. The card is secured in the envelope inside the box lid.




ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E

It's a similar box, only a tad larger.




Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E

A very bright box in conformity with the bundled game. It's made of thick cardboard. Bundled components are arranged into sections inside.






Installation and Drivers

Testbed configuration:

  • Intel Core2 Duo (775 Socket) based computer
    • CPU: Intel Core2 Duo Extreme X6800 (2930 MHz) (L2=4096K)
    • Motherboard: EVGA nForce 680i SLI on NVIDIA nForce 680i
    • RAM: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM Corsair 1142MHz (CAS (tCL)=5; RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)=5; Row Precharge (tRP)=5; tRAS=15)
    • HDD: WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA
    • PSU: Tagan 1100-U95 (1100W).

  • Operating system: Windows XP SP2 DirectX 9.0c
  • Monitor: Dell 3007WFP (30").
  • Drivers: ATI CATALYST 7.7; NVIDIA Drivers 162.18.

VSync is disabled.

Test results: performance comparison

We used the following test applications:

  • Splinter Cell Chaos Theory v.1.04 (Ubisoft) - DirectX 9.0, shaders 3.0 (with/without HDR), maximum settings.

  • Call Of Juarez (Techland/Ubisoft) - DirectX 9.0, shaders 3.0 (HDR), demo (demo Tests were run with maximum quality. The batch file is included.

  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 1.003 (GSC Game World/THQ) - DirectX 9.0, demo. You should unpack the files into the game folder with savegames (Documents and settings). When the game starts up, load ixbt3, open the console and start the demo: demo_play ixbt3. Test settings - maximum (DYNAMIC LIGHTS are ENABLED).

  • PREY 1.01 (3D Realms Entertainment / Human Head Studios / 2K Games) - OpenGL, shaders 2.x, demo003 (40MB!). Tests were run with maximum quality. The batch file is included.

  • 3DMark05 1.20 (FutureMark) - DirectX 9.0, multitexturing, trilinear filtering.

  • Serious Sam II 1.068 (Croteam/2K Games) - DirectX 9.0, shaders 3.0 (with/without HDR), batch file to start the test. It's the standard demo0002 that comes with the game. Tests settings - maximum.

    We express our thanks to our reader, Vozniuk Valery AKA Px, for his batch file to run this game.

  • F.E.A.R. v.1.08 (Multiplayer) (Monolith/Sierra) - DirectX 9.0, shaders 2.0, maximum test settings, Soft shadows disabled.

  • Company Of Heroes (Relic Entertainment/THQ) - DirectX 9.0, shaders 2.0, startup batch file. When you start the game, you should go to options, choose the graphics section, and press the test button. Tests were run with maximum quality.

  • 3DMark06 1.02 (FutureMark) - DirectX 9.0c, multitexturing, trilinear test settings.



Graphics cards' performance

If you have a decent understanding of 3D graphics, you may draw your own conclusions for the diagrams below. However, if you are interested in our comments on test results, you may read them after each test. Anything that is important to beginners and those who are new to the world of video cards will be explained in detail in the comments.

First of all, you should look through our reference materials on modern graphics cards and their GPUs. Be sure to note the operating frequencies, support for modern technologies (shaders), as well as the pipeline architecture.



ATI RADEON X1300-1600-1800-1900 Reference

NVIDIA GeForce 7300-7600-7800-7900 Reference

If you have just begun realizing how large the selection to choose a video card is, don't worry, our 3D Graphics section offers articles about 3D basics (you will still have to understand them - when you run a game and open its options, you'll see such notions as textures, lighting, etc) as well as reviews of new products. There are just two companies that manufacture graphics processors: ATI (the graphics department of AMD) and NVIDIA. So most of the information is divided into these two sections. We also publish monthly 3Digests that sum up all comparisons of graphics cards for various price segments.

Thirdly, analyze test results of the video cards under review. We'll not analyze each test, we'll just draw a bottom line after all tests.

Conclusions

So, what can we say about the GeForce 8500 GT? - It's a very weak card, if it's not overclocked. Too many features have been cut down. It cannot compete with similar cards from AMD, even though they don't support DX10. However, the HD 2600 family compete well with these cards. Do these cards really need to support DX10 at all? Will DX10 games run fast enough on such a card? - It's a rhetorical question. They certainly will, if you disable maximum quality. It's a "double-edged" situation: if manufacturers don't launch Low-End cards supporting the new functions, game publishers will not introduce all these new functions into their games, motivating the decision by the lack of proper hardware on the market. On the other hand, everybody understands that such a card as 8500GT will not cope with any DX10 game even in 1024x768 with high quality settings. Thirdly: should you really buy Low-End cards with DX10 support now? - There will be no pure-DX10 games in the nearest future. There will appear some DX9-to-DX10 ports, combined titles (DX9 and DX10). But native DX10 games (that use only this technology!) may appear only the next year. And by that time there may be launched a new DX10 family of more powerful Low-End cards.

So we can say only one thing: existing games run well on the RADEON X1650, as prices for this card dropped significantly. Besides, the 7600GT/GS cards are not as expensive as they used to be. There is no need in the DX10 series. The 8600GTS card will cope with the load of future games in high quality modes, but it's quite expensive so far. The 8600GT is an intermediate solution, it's up to you to decide. You should consider frequencies and prices.

Besides... AMD has already launched a new family of DX10 cards, which compete well with their counterparts from NVIDIA. So in our opinion, your choice is a matter of your personal taste. Yep, these solutions are cut down much. But it must be admitted that the 8600 family holds some advantage over the 7600 series. However, I have already mentioned the price drop for the X1650 family. So the latter will be more interesting, if we don't take DX10 into account. It all depends on what you actually want. If you want a graphics card for old games that you play from time to time, there is no need to buy a graphics card from the new family. If you want a graphics card for future DX10 games, you should buy a 8800 card :-)

And the last point in general conclusions: a new HDTV video engine (HD video) in all 8500-8600-based cards - it's very useful in this segment, where users pay less attention to 3D than in the Hi-End segment. Read the details here .

BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC 256MB PCI-E is a reference card with increased frequencies (in fact, almost all cards are overclocked now). There is nothing special. The cooler is noisy. However, this card enjoys a 5-year warranty.

BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence is a better modification of the previous card, both in frequencies and noise. That's the best model among all 8600GTS cards, if you have nothing against BFG with their constant chapping and changing of packages and designs. Don't forget about the 5-year warranty for these cards.

ECS/Elitegroup GeForce 8600 GT Plus Edition 256MB PCI-E stands in between the 8600GT and the 8600GTS in performance. But its cooling system is far from perfect, and the card gets very hot. However, it's not critical. What's more important, it's not noisy.

Chaintech GeForce 8600 GT 256MB PCI-E is the standard 8600GT card. There is nothing to add. The cooler is quiet, operating temperatures are normal.

Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E is actually a usual 8600GT card. It just comes with a game based on a popular cartoon. But it's equipped with a very efficient cooler, so you should pay closer attention to this product, if you want a 8600GT card.

Chaintech GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB PCI-E is a reference card. The company brought nothing new to this product. The cooler is noisy.

I remind you that the above mentioned graphics cards are equipped with GPUs that have an updated video decoding engine. Our author, Alexei Berillo, has already published an article about it.

As always, the final choice is up to the reader. We can only inform you about products and their performance, but can't make a buying decision.

And here is one more thing, we'll repeat it in each review. Having decided to choose a graphics card on your own, you should be aware that you change one of the key components of your system unit, which may require additional configuration for better performance or you may have to enable some functions to achieve higher quality. This is not an end product, it's just a component. So you should understand that you'll have to learn 3D graphics basics in order to get maximum performance from a new graphics card. And some graphics in general. If you don't want to deal with it, you shouldn't upgrade your computer on your own: you'd better buy ready PCs with preconfigured software and technical support from your system integrator, or game boxes, where no configuration is required, everything necessary is already configured in a game.

You can find more detailed comparisons of various graphics cards in our 3Digest.

The following card get the Original Design award (August):




  1. BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence

Our Excellent Package award for August goes to the following card:




  1. Point Of View GeForce 8600 GT Ratatouille Edition 256MB PCI-E



BFG Russia
Chaintech Russia
ECS/Elitegroup Russia


PSU for the testbed was kindly provided by TAGAN




The Dell 3007WFP monitor for the testbeds was kindly provided by NVIDIA




Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com)
September 3, 2007

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An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
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