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 06 December 2007
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Sparkle GeForce 8600 GTS Graphics Card Review Rev. 3.0
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Sparkle GeForce 8600 GTS Graphics Card

Even since NVIDIA launched their GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, everyone has been waiting for them to release cheaper versions of that card. Just over six months after that momentous launch, NVIDIA finally revealed their mid-range GeForce 8600 GTS.

Based on the newer and smaller G84 GPU with 32 stream processors running at 1.45GHz and 8 ROPs, the GeForce 8600 GTS comes with 256MB of GDDR3 RAM running at 2GHz DDR. This gives it a texture fill rate of 10,800 megatexels/s and a memory bandwidth of 32GB/s. That's 61% more fill rate and 43% more memory bandwidth than the GeForce 7600 GT. Not bad for a mid-range card.

That performance advantage was confirmed in the tests we ran in Windows Vista. The Sparkle GeForce 8600 GTS compared favourably against the GeForce 7950 GT and is generally about 40 % faster than the GeForce 7600 GT.

Its DirectX 10 performance has improved a lot since the first time we tested it. In the past, we asked ourselves, "Do we want to play games, or watch slideshows?" With the latest drivers, the Sparkle GeForce 8600 GTS is at least capable of achieving a usable frame rate at 1280 x 1024. However, if you want silky-smooth gameplay, you will need to reduce the resolution and/or the rendering quality.

For those who are interested in HD DVD decoding, you will also be happy to know that the GeForce 8600 GTS comes with a new video processor (VP2) that allows the CPU to completely offload the processing of H.264 content to the GeForce 8600 GTS. This means much lower CPU utilization than even the GeForce 8800 GTX, whose VP1 processor can only do motion compensation and deblocking.

This card is really great for those who are looking for an upgrade from an old card, like a GeForce 6600 GT or Radeon X800. It offers a huge leap in performance over those older cards. It is also great for those who are just looking for a low-cost graphics card with great DirectX 9 performance. However, if you want to do some serious DirectX 10 gaming at high resolutions and maximum rendering quality, then you would do best with something like the new NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT.

For more details, read our Comprehensive Review!

MSRP

• $109

Lowest PriceGrabber Price

Review

Comprehensive Review

Manufacturing Process

• 0.08 Micron

Transistor Count

• 289 Million

DirectX Support

• 10

Interface

• PCI Express X16

Stream Processors

• 32

Vertex Shader Version

• 4.0

Pixel Shader Version

• 4.0

Textures Per Clock

• 16

ROPs

• 8

Core Clock Speed

• 675 MHz

Shader Clock Speed

• 1450 MHz

Fill Rate

• 10800 MTexels/s

Memory Bus Width

• 128-bits

Memory Size

• 256 MB

Memory Type

• GDDR3

Memory Speed

• 1 GHz (2 GHz DDR)

Memory Bandwidth

• 32 GB/s

DVI Support

• Two dual-linked DVI, both integrated into the GPU

 

Our Review System

Tech ARP is committed to developing new ways to improve your experience with us. As part of our continuous efforts to improve the value of our reviews to you, we are implementing a multi-tier review system.

This review system is designed to allow you to quickly receive information on the latest hardware or software. This new system also allows you to quickly get the gist of the review without reading through it. This can be very useful, especially in situations where you need to make a quick purchase decision.

In this new system, we start with a Product Overview whenever a company sends us a press release about their latest product. We shift through extraneous PR-talk to create a straightforward summary of the product's features as well as specifications. This allows you to quickly find out all the pertinent details about the product, without reading through official press releases.

When we receive the product for review, we will quickly take photos of it and create a Pictorial Review. The purpose of a pictorial review is to allow you, the reader, to quickly examine the product visually. It may help you make better purchase decisions, especially if you cannot wait for the full review.

After thorough testing, we will post a Comprehensive Review of the product. This adds on to the pictorial review with comprehensive test results and our final conclusion on the product.

But no matter whether you are reading a Pictorial Review or a Comprehensive Review, you can always read the summary of the review as well as examine the product's specifications right on the first page. In all our new reviews, we will maintain the first page as a Product Overview page. If the product is listed in PriceGrabber, you can also check out the lowest price online.

We hope this new review system will make your experience a lot more enjoyable and informative!



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