Out of the box the card had a lot going for it, even before we opened the package we thought that it was going to be a great choice for home theater enthusiasts all over the world.
Unfortunately our thoughts did change as we got further into testing the card. HDMI connectivity is great and its biggest use is really for the HTPC crowd, the problem is the card is loud! Generally noise is something the same crowd are trying to avoid.
Performance is good, it's the same as any stock clocked 8600GTS card, the problem however is that now the HD2600XT is released the 8600 series from Nvidia doesn't look as good as it did a few months ago. The choice between the GTS and HD2600XT is going to be a tough one, especially when you put price into the equation.
Now it's not all doom and gloom, if the noise doesn't bother you then the card is an excellent option for HTPC enthusiasts around the world. The inclusion of not only a HDMI cable but also a full version copy of Company of Heroes (a game that can be played well on this card) is also excellent.
When you weigh it all up the card is a great choice for a certain type of users, unfortunately there probably isn't a lot of those users around, and even less who are keen on this particular card over other comparable solutions. This pretty much gives off the feeling that the card isn't going to be a great seller.
True HTPC people are probably going to be looking closer at the HD2600PRO with its built-in HDMI, and mid-range performance junkies are going to find themselves looking at the standard 8600GTS as they don't want to spend the extra dollars which comes with a card sporting HDMI.
Rating - 8 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Features Award!
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