MSI Overclocked GeForce 8600 GTS Review

Introduction

GeForce 8600 GTS is the fastest mid-range video card from the new GeForce 8 family from NVIDIA, targeted for users that want a performance higher than GeForce 8600 GT and are willing to pay more for this performance gain. This model from MSI, NX8600GTS-T2D256E OC, comes factory-overclocked, meaning that it will achieve a performance higher than the standard GeForce 8600 GTS, and also supports HDMI. Check it out.

MSI GeForce 8600 GTSFigure 1: MSI Overclocked GeForce 8600 GTS.

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 GTS without real direct competitors.

We can find this model from MSI costing around USD 200 and at this price range there is no mid-range video card from ATI/AMD available. We call “mid-range” all video cards that use a 128-bit memory interface and “high-end” all video cards that use a 256-bit memory interface or higher. However there are entry-level high-end video cards at this price range, like Radeon X1950 Pro. So we may somewhat consider Radeon X1950 Pro to be a competitor to GeForce 8600 GTS, as they are in the same price range, even though GeForce 8600 GTS uses a 128-bit memory interface and Radeon X1950 Pro uses a 256-bit one.

The basic difference between GeForce 8600 GTS and GeForce 8600 GT is the clock used. Thus we can consider GeForce 8600 GTS a “turbo GeForce 8600 GT”, as both cards have 32 processing engines.

The standard GeForce 8600 GTS runs at 675 MHz and accesses its 256 MB GDDR3 memory at 2 GHz (1 GHz transferring two data per clock cycle) through a 128-bit interface, so it can access its memory at a maximum transfer rate of 32 GB/s.

This model from MSI comes overclocked, with the graphics chip running at 700 MHz and its memory running at 2.1 GHz, with a maximum memory transfer rate of 33.6 GB/s. So this video card has its GPU running 3.7% faster than the standard GeForce 8600 GTS and it accesses its memory 5% faster than the standard model. So this overclocking is not that high.

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 GTS has 32 shader processors running at 1.45 GHz, the same amount used on GeForce 8600 GT (on GT they are running at 1.18 GHz, though).

For a full comparison between GeForce 8600 GTS 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.

MSI GeForce 8600 GTSFigure 2: MSI overclocked GeForce 8600 GTS.

MSI GeForce 8600 GTSFigure 3: MSI overclocked GeForce 8600 GTS, back view.

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Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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