Biostar GeForce 8600GTS V-Ranger

Shane takes a look at an 8600GTS graphics card from Biostar today which sports their V-Ranger overclocking technology.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Oct 1 2007 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 62%Manufacturer: Biostar

Introduction





The latest series to enter the Biostar E Gate family of graphics cards is of course the 8600s from NVIDIA. Their cards have recently become more interesting thanks to the implementation of V-Ranger which is what Biostar name their smart voltage and dynamic clock software.

The 8600GTS is already a pretty competitive area so it will be interesting to see if Biostar can do anything that stands out from the pack. Hopefully it's more than just another run of the mill 8600GTS offering.

In the usual fashion we will have a look at what exactly Biostar have done to the particular 8600GTS here today before we venture into some benchmarking.

The Package




Getting to the box we find a pretty standard layout of information, we have the brand on the side and the series the card is from on the front. Below that we have a bit more detail on the card like the fact this is an 8600GTS with 256MB GDDR3 memory, HDTV and dual DVI.



The top left corner of the box shows us the V-Ranger logo and tells us exactly what it is along with the standard line-up of NVIDIA logos on the right side of the box. All up, it's a pretty standard box and gives us all the main information we need.



Turning the box over simply expands on the features from the card and the whole 8000 series of graphics cards from NVIDIA, we again see Biostar in a few places and a link to their website.



Diving inside we have the standard manual and driver CD that is included in just about every graphics card.



Cable wise we don't have a whole lot, a TV-Out cable that has both S-Video and Component on it, molex to PCI-E power convertor and a single DVI to VGA connector.

The package is really light, you would need extra cables to start making use of TV-Out and if you have two VGA monitors you will find yourself having to get another DVI to VGA connector. Also, with no game included the Biostar 8600GTS isn't off to a good start.

The Card




Moving the package out the way and getting onto the card we have an aftermarket cooler, but nothing too exciting. It manages to not only take up an extra slot when compared to the standard cooler but also has no direct contact with the memory modules.



The good news is being a bigger fan it should be quieter and it looks like it's going to be more than capable of cooling the core thanks to the relatively good design.



Doing a quick sweep of the card there really isn't anything out of the ordinary, we have the standard extra power connector that is needed to power the card along with the SLI connector across the top of the card.





Finally moving over to the I/O department there is again nothing out of the ordinary, two DVI connectors of which both support Dual Link connectivity and the normal S-Video out port for making use of TV-Out. While the card does extend over to the next slot we still only have a single slot bracket.

Out of the box the card carries the standard 675MHz core and 2000MHz DDR memory clock, if you want to get more you'll have to use some overclocking software. While Biostar include V-Ranger in the package we would recommend that you venture over to ATI Tool thanks to its superior artifact detecting process.

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

There really isn't anything too exiting to the 8600GTS from Biostar with its reference clocks. We have simply compared it against the HD 2600 XT from Palit to see how it goes today as the difference in price between a stock 8600GTS vs a 512MB HD 2600 XT isn't all that great.


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.




We can see straight away that the HD 2600 XT 512 MB lags a fair bit behind that of the 8600GTS.

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.




3DMark06 paints a similar picture with the 8600GTS coming out ahead again.

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 first real world test we can see that there isn't really too much of a difference between the two cards.

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 8600GTS powered by NVIDIA come out well ahead.

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.





While we see that in some places the 8600GTS and the HD 2600 XT perform quite close together, when we move to F.E.A.R. we can see that there is a fair difference between the two with the 8600GTS really coming ahead.

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.






Looking at Company of Heroes we can see that the performance of the HD 2600 XT actually comes out ahead here.

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.





World in Conflict on the other hand sees the 8600GTS come out well ahead of the HD 2600 XT.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


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



Turning on the AA and AF we see the performance increase for the 8600GTS has only increased more since its non AA and AF tests.

Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)



We again see as soon as we turn on AA and AF the HD 2600 XT really begins to struggle and performance goes backwards in a big way.

Prey



Finally we see in Prey that the 8600GTS again comes out in front when we turn on AA and AF.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 06 - 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.




Going to Vista we can see that the 8600GTS is still ahead but there isn't a huge difference between the two cards.

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.






Moving over to Call of Juarez we can see that the ATI offering does come out a fair bit ahead both in the minimum and average department.

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.



Lost Planet tends to favor NVIDIA and as we can see compared to the HD 2600 XT the performance is way up with it almost being double at the lower resolution.

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.




Like our Windows XP tests we again see the HD 2600 XT come out ahead under Company of Heroes.

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.




While the 8600GTS doesn't tend to be that much faster than the HD 2600 XT it does a good job of creating a lot more heat.


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).




We can see that the noise levels of both cards are very similar with only a few dBs separating them.

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.




Maximum power draw on the two cards are also very similar at both idle and load.

Final Thoughts




There isn't a whole lot to say about the Biostar 8600GTS, it's not the most exciting card, and the cooler is pretty boring and doesn't do much for us in the noise and temperature department.

While Biostar also want to push the whole E Gate overclocking jazz, the bottom line is that they should have released the card pre-overclocked instead of making people do it manually with the software provided. While the E Gate software is ok, the bottom line is that programs like ATI Tool and Rivatuner are a better option.

Performance isn't bad; it performs like you would expect - a stock 8600GTS. AMD have also been hard at work working on the performance of the HD 2600 series and we can see that the cheaper card is able to come out ahead of the more expensive GTS in some places.

Hopefully Biostar go back to the drawing board and pick up on a few things - their line-up of cards has the opportunity to compete with the best but there are a few things that need to be looked at in the near future, overclocking out of the box is one of the main things and also the package. While the exterior looks good, once you dive inside it's not too exciting. A slight bump in core and memory out of the box and a full version game would make the overall package a lot better, so let's hope that Biostar look at this.

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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.
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