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XFX GeForce 8600GTS XXX - nVidia's new mainstream DX10 is here!

By: Shawn Baker | NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Apr 17, 2007 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: XFX Technology

Final Thoughts


So, two questions, what do we think of nVidia's new GeForce 8600GTS and what do we think about the XFX XXX incarnation. From what a bit of research has shown us, the XFX XXX version is going to be the fastest GeForce 8600GTS graphics card on the market and this is of course going to come with the typical price premium. Before we get too much into that though, let's just have a quick look at the 8600GTS on the whole.


By the end of my benchmarking, I was slightly disappointed -not sure if I should expect more or what but the 8600GTS just didn't "wow" me like I thought it would. When thinking about it for longer, I came to the simple conclusion that the 8600GTS didn't "wow" me because of the huge amount of graphics cards we test. You become so use to hitting the "benchmark" button on 3DMark06, then turning back 10 minutes later and seeing a score in excess of 10000 marks and then you see something under it and lose excitement about the lower performing product.


Having said that though, nVidia's GeForce 8600GTS is a fantastic graphics card; it does exactly what it's supposed - it gives budget conscious users the opportunity to climb into the DX10 gaming arena for when PC games like Crysis, UT2007 and Alan Wake are released later this year.


The lowest resolution I use on a day to day basis is 1920 x 1200 and more often than not I'm sitting in front of 2560 x 1500 but I'm part of a minority. If everyone had 24" and 30" screens, we wouldn't need a low and mid-range VGA market. nVidia's GeForce 8600GTS is designed for users of 22" monitors and lower - 1680 x 1050, 1600 x 1200 and 1280 x 1024 are going to be the resolution of choice with this product and should offer fairly decent performance even in DX10 gaming titles.


We've established that the actual 8600GT chip design from nVidia is great but what about XFX and their further refinements? XFX has also done a fantastic job - out of the box clock speeds are simply fantastic. They offer huge gains in performance over the standard clocked version and to the best of our knowledge XFX is offering the highest clock speed out of any nVidia partner. XFX seemed to have gone right to the edge with the XXX edition - only a jump of a few MHz on the core would result in a screen full of artifacts. Is this the limit of the 8600GTS, period?


nVidia are really on the ball at the moment and hopefully we begin to see some DX10 games released in the coming months, as it really is the only thing missing. While AMD's R600 Radeon HD 2900XT might only just be around the corner for a May launch, the majority of gamers who deal with a realistic budget will be out buying their brand new mid-range nVidia GeForce 8000 series cards, at least that's what we suggest and see happening.


So, should you buy a GeForce 8600GTS if you have the money? If you already have a GeForce 7900GS or Radeon X1950PRO (which is slightly faster than the 7900GS), we wouldn't recommend buying as you're not really upgrading, unless you must have DX10, Dual-Link DVI or HDCP support. If you're using something older or slower such as GeForce 6600GT, 7600GT or Radeon X1650XT and you're ready to make an upgrade, it's a totally brilliant choice with the future in mind. XFX's GeForce 8600GTS XXX edition is going to cost you around $240 USD at launch (today) and a regular version without factory overclocking will set you back around $200 USD, making the product something to take into serious consideration in our opinion.


- Pros


DirectX 10 gaming support for the masses


Fantastic factory overclock from XFX!


Full version game and all required cables included


Great mid-range performance


XFX XXX edition much faster than regular 8600GTS


Silent slot cooling


SLI support


HDCP and dual Dual-Link DVI support


Full driver support including Windows Vista


- Cons


XFX XXX price premium


Rating - 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's "MUST HAVE" Best Performance Award



We'll soon be following up with a look at Gigabyte's GeForce 8600GT (cut down with slower clock speeds), BFG's GeForce 8600GTS OC in SLI and MSI's 8500GT, 8600GT and 8600GTS all in SLI mode later this week - so stay tuned!

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