Twintech OC'ed GeForce 8600GT with HDMI

We're looking at an OC'ed and HDMI equipped 8600GT from TwinTech today to see if it's worthy of being inside your HTPC.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Sep 27 2007 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: TwinTech

Introduction





So you want to go down the HDMI route but you want something that packs a little bit more punch than the HD 2600 which we've looked at from Palit. In the home theater department there isn't a single card I can praise more than this particular model, it's got a bit of power behind it, enough for some lower resolution gaming along with pre-overclocked specs.

It's cheap as well, but we all knew that NVIDIA was getting ready to mix it up in the HDMI department and the first company we see enter it is TwinTech who seem to be predominately a European company who has entered the ever competitive Australian market through a local distributor.

Like Palit, TwinTech have also chosen to go down the overclocking route to get a bit more power out of the 8600GT core. Can the first card we've seen from TwinTech leave us with a smile on our face or will it just be another video card that gets thrown in the pile of cards that 'could've been'.

There's only one way to find out so let's start with the package and venture forth from there.

The Package




If there was a ten step guide to standing out from the pack, at the top of the list would be "Create a fancy box". It would seem that TwinTech read this and we're introduced with a funky tin package.



When we first looked at the box it was a bit confusing as we didn't know what card we were using so we had to venture forward and have a peek inside. The good news is that the lack of information on the tin is only present in our sample here today. The package that is shipped out for the market has information on the front.



If we have a look at the actual retail package we can see the model clearly along with the fact that it has HDMI, supports HDCP and is an OC Edition using the naming scheme of "XT".



Turning the tin over we have the standard NVIDIA marketing talk on the back about superior image quality and better performance. We also have a link to the TwinTech website along with some additional links to NVIDIA websites.



Moving inside the tin we're greeted with a standard kind of manual that doesn't give us a whole lot of information and also a CD that has a driver for the video card. Of course as always we recommend that you head on over to the NVIDIA website and nab the latest driver.



The cable department is pretty full on with an S-Video cable included along with an S-Video to Component as well. We have a loop back cable for the audio so we get sound through the HDMI port and we not only have a DVI to VGA connector but also a HDMI to DVI connector if you want to use dual DVI monitors at any time.

The inclusion of a HDMI cable would have really sealed the deal but when compared to the HD 2600 PRO offering the package is a step up for sure. The competition is becoming extremely fierce.

The Card




With a red PCB and cooler to suit, it could easily be mistaken for an AMD offering. The fan on the front is quite large and has a load of fins included. This is great as it helps keep noise down as the larger fan is able to spin slower while being able to pump out the same if not more air than a smaller fan spinning faster.



Like all 8600GT cards we find that there is no power connector for the card which is always nice in a HTPC environment; the only extra connector floating around the card is the standard SLI one sitting up the top.



The most important section of the card is in the I/O department and we of course have our dual link DVI connector sitting next to our little HDMI one. What we like about this setup though is the fact that instead of also having the VGA port like the Palit HD 2600 PRO sonic we instead have the normal TV out connector.



What this means is that if you're looking at buying a new TV soon and your current one doesn't have HDMI you can use the card without any problems. While VGA is still a very handy feature, we of course have the DVI to VGA connector included in the package meaning we still don't lose that functionality.

As we mentioned in the intro the card also comes pre overclocked, the stock 8600GT carries with it a core clock of 540MHz and a memory clock of 1400MHz DDR. TwinTech have mixed it up in both departments and respectably offer 580MHz on the core and 1600MHz DDR on the 256MB of GDDR3 memory.

Test System Setup and 3DMark05


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): ASUS Blitz Extreme (Supplied by ASUS)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Corsair XMS3 DDR-3 1066MHz 7-7-7-21 (Supplied by Corsair)
Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM SATA-2
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista
Drivers: Catalyst 7.9 and Forceware 162.18

HDMI performance between the two cards is quite difficult to tell apart. They are both very capable of outputting a clean digital signal to your TV. The PureVideo HD technology is also excellent at handling HD content so when vs UVD it isn't really a deciding factor. What it's really going to come down to is 3D performance.

We have placed the HD 2600 PRO Sonic from Palit with HDMI along with a stock clocked 8600GT purely for comparison. If you want to get a bit more power out of your HDMI card is it worth looking at the 8600GT offering from NVIDIA? Well let's have a look through our benchmarks which cover all gaming aspects along with both Windows XP and Vista.


3DMark05

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 130
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/
Buy It Here




3DMark05 is now the second latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and above.

For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.




As you would expect the 8600GT has a nice little jump on the HD 2600 PRO and the increased clocks from the TwinTech offering make it again a little faster than the stock 8600GT.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




Moving to the more intensive 3DMark06 we can see that the performance gains are greater and the 8600GT shines a little bit more when compared to the HD 2600 PRO.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)


Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from Steam
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here




By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Episode One opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Episode One with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.




Moving to our real world tests we continue to see gains with the 8600GT OC handling itself pretty well at the lower resolutions.

Benchmarks - Prey


Prey

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: HardwareOC Custom Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com
Product Homepage: http://www.prey.com
Buy It Here




Prey is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.




The OpenGL based Prey sees the 8600GT come out well ahead thanks to the better optimization from Nvidia.

Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.


F.E.A.R.

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.vugames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/
Buy It Here




F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and a deeply intense paranormal storyline presented entirely in first person. Be the hero in your own spine-tingling epic of action, tension, and terror...and discover the true meaning of F.E.A.R.





F.E.A.R. performance is way up on the 8600GT, the HD 2600 PRO doesn't offer a playable experience at either resolution while the 8500GT comes well over a 30FPS minimum at the lower 1280 resolution.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.






COH performance across the board isn't great but the 8600GT has a leg up on the HD 2600 PRO.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict (DX9)

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.





At the lower resolution the 8600GT from TwinTech is able to break that 30FPS minimum barrier while no other card was able to do it.

High Quality AA and AF




Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06



3DMark06 performance like our non AA and AF tests are way up on the 8600GT when compared to the HD 2600 PRO.


Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)



Once we hit the AA department the HD 2K series really struggles with it being almost half the performance of the 8500GT.


Prey



Again we see the OpenGL based Prey favoring the Nvidia offering considerably.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - Vista


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




Moving to Vista we of course see that the gains we saw in 3DMark06 under Windows XP are also present here.

Benchmarks - Call of Juarez (DX10) - Vista


Call of Juarez (DX10)

Version and / or Patch Used: DX10 Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.techland.pl/en/
Product Homepage: http://www.coj-game.com
Buy It Here



Call of Juarez is a Western-themed FPS from Techland. The North America release was one of the first games to utilize DX10.

Call of Juarez is loosely based on a number of Western movie hits from the last four decades, particularly the Spaghetti Westerns that became popular in the sixties and early seventies. The game features two different characters: Billy "Candle", a young fugitive accused of murder and the Reverend Ray, an ex-outlaw who turned to religion, believing that God Himself has chosen Ray to be the instrument of His wrath.






Performance between the cards are all very similar under Call of Juarez.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet (DX10) - Vista


Lost Planet: Extreme Condition

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com
Product Homepage: http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_lostplanet_home.html




Driven to the brink of extinction on ice-covered wastelands, humankind fights to survive. From extreme conditions and insurgent Snow Pirates to hostile gargantuan alien Akrid, all that you can trust are your instincts.

Combining a gripping single player campaign and intense multiplayer modes with support for up to 16 players online, Lost Planet is an epic gaming masterpiece. Enormous world maps unfold as players' battle across vast snow fields and deserted cities either on foot or in armed, robotic Vital Suits.



Checking out Lost Planet we can see performance is considerably up when compared to the HD 2600 PRO.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes (DX10) - Vista


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.




Finally we leave with COH which sees the 8600GT again slightly up on the competition.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.




The larger cooler on the 8600GT manages to help keep temperatures down significantly.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).




Unfortunately that reduced temperature does come at the cost of more noise.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.




Overall power draw is slightly down when compared to the HD 2600 PRO, and the TwinTech draw is just up on the stock 8600GT.

Final Thoughts




The 8600GT isn't really a power house but the bottom line is that if you're looking for a native HDMI card that packs a bit more of a punch the 8600GT could be the perfect card for you.

It's a bit on the noisy side when under 3D mode but when just idling away playing your movies etc. the noise level isn't anything that we would be worrying about. The cooler also manages to do a pretty good job of keeping the more powerful card as cool as the slower HD 2600 PRO Sonic.

It's going to cost you about an extra $30 AUD to move over to an 8600GT, and if you wanted to do a bit of gaming at something like 1366 x 768 then this would be quite a good choice. It's consistently able to offer some decent frames for low res gaming.

This is the first time we've seen anything from TwinTech and it seems to be a pretty nice offering. The little overclock isn't too shabby and the cooler while being a bit on the loud side does a good job of cooling.

The only real gripe is while the card has this really nice tin package, once you venture inside there isn't too much more to it. A HDMI cable would have been nice but as we mentioned one of the best features of this card is that you don't lose the standard TV-Out connectivity, so if you're looking for a decent TV-Out card now but haven't got that LCD TV yet you should probably have a look at the TwinTech HDMI offering.

Would we choose this card over the HD 2600 PRO Sonic that I recommend to practically everyone who is looking for a HDMI card? Well yes and no. If you're not going to be doing any gaming spending the extra money on a card that is more powerful and a little louder is really just pointless. But if they said they wanted to do a bit of gaming with it then of course we would as it's really able to pull out some decent numbers.

What do TweakTown awards and ratings mean? Click!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.
Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles