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NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT Mobile GPU Review Rev. 2.0
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NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT Mobile GPU

Like its desktop counterpart, the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT looks better on paper than in real life. On paper, it is roughly between the desktop GeForce 8600 GT and the GeForce 7600 GT in performance. That makes it a rather powerful mobile GPU, especially compared to integrated graphics solutions like the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100.

However, reality bit hard when we put the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT to the test. No matter what its specifications may claim, a mobile GPU can never offer the same level of performance as a desktop graphics card. This is especially true if the manufacturer (e.g. Dell) choses to pair it with slower DDR2 memory.

Our game tests show that the GeForce 8600M GT with 400 MHz DDR2 memory is a lot slower than its desktop counterpart, the GeForce 8600 GT. In fact, it's much slower than the older and slower GeForce 7600 GT desktop graphics card which had a lower fillrate but much higher memory bandwidth. Oddly enough, it was closest to the GeForce 7600 GT's performance level in Company Of Heroes at the higher resolutions, but otherwise, it was generally about 40-60 % slower than the GeForce 7600 GT and 60-140 % slower than the GeForce 8600 GT.

Do note that our desktop testbed is a LOT faster than the Dell Inspiron 1520 notebook running the GeForce 8600M GT. With that said, we minimized the effect of the CPU speed on the frame rates by running the games at their full settings. This stresses the GPU and greatly reduces the effect of the CPU as well as accurately reflects the performance of the graphics cards and GPU in running the games the way they were meant to be played.

As a result, the effect of the CPU can be seen in the charts as a slight flattening of the frame rate curves of the GeForce 8600M GT. It is more pronounced in the lower resolutions and least in the higher resolutions. The most accurate comparisons would therefore be made at the highest resolution. With that said, the benchmark results of the GeForce 8600M GT accurately reflect its true performance in all those games and is NOT affected by how much faster the desktop graphics cards are in comparison.

Of course, our GeForce 8600M GT is a crippled one, with slower 400 MHz DDR2 memory, instead of hte faster 700 MHz GDDR3 memory. The only advantage this crippled GeForce 8600M GT has over the GeForce 7600 GT desktop graphics card is its support for DirectX 10. However, its DirectX 10 capability is practically useless. The GeForce 8600M GT (the crippled one at least) is just too weak to render DirectX 10 games at usable frame rates. Even the GeForce 8600 GT, which is more or less twice as fast, has trouble handling DirectX 10 at anything but the lowest resolutions.

With that said, the GeForce 8600M GT still offers a tremendous performance advantage over integrated graphics solutions or older discrete GPUs. For example, we had no problem running less strenous games like Civilizations IV which virtually crippled the ATI Mobility Radeon 9700. Of course, the Mobility Radeon 9700 is a really old mobile GPU, but it serves as a good example of how far mobile GPUs have come along since then.

While it isn't as fast as its high fillrate hinted it would be, the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT is still capable of handling new games like BioShock. You just have to reduce the rendering quality and stick to the lower resolutions. Unfortunately, such sacrifices are a necessity when it comes to mobile gaming and it's no different for the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT. The actual GeForce 8600M GT with 700 MHz GDDR3 memory would be faster but until we test one, we cannot be sure just how much faster.

For more details, read our Comprehensive Review!

MSRP

• NA

Lowest PriceGrabber Price

• Depends on notebook configuration.

Review

Comprehensive Review

Architecture

• G84M

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

• 475 MHz

Shader Clock Speed

• 950 MHz

Fill Rate

• 7600 MTexels/s

Memory Bus Width

• 128-bits

Memory Size

• Up to 512 MB

Memory Type

• DDR2
• GDDR3

Memory Speed

• 400 GHz (800 MHz DDR) for DDR2 memory
• 700 GHz (1.4 GHz DDR) for GDDR3 memory

Memory Bandwidth

• 12.8 GB/s (DDR2)
• 22.4 GB/s (GDDR3)

Power Management

• PowerMizer 7.0

DVI Support

• Single dual-linked DVI, 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!



Next Page : Introduction, Specifications >>>

 

 
   
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