Saturday, April 21, 2007

New 8600 and DX10 Value Cards

Many people are aware of Nvidia’s recent launch of the low and mid range DirectX 10 cards. People are questioning if the 8600 series will have enough punch to handle next-gen released games.

“NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600 graphics processors feature the award-winning GeForce 8 Series architecture with unparalleled levels of graphics realism and performance for Microsoft® DirectX® 9 and DirectX 10 games for the pricepoint.”
What sets the new 8000 series apart from Nvidia’s older line of cards is its new architecture. The 7-series cards were based off the G70 and 71, while the newer 8-series cards are based off of the G80. This is the first thing people need to realize when comparing the specifications of both card series. The 8800 GTS has 96 stream processors while the 8600 GTS has only 32. Many people are criticizing the cards because of this, as well as for the fact that the 8600 GTS models only house a 128-bit memory controller. However, when comparing charts (click here for chart), the 8600 GTS still outperforms a Radeon X1950 Pro. Also, the 8600 GTS only puts out memory at a rate of 32 GB/s while still outperforming the Radeon X1950 Pro at 44 GB/s. This goes to show that the new architecture of the G80 is quite an impressive feat for Nvidia. This is why people need to compare performance based on actual charts, rather than through specifications. However in other games, the 8600 GTS pulls slightly under the X1950 Pro (click here for chart). This is most likely due to drivers that have yet to be optimized for the mass of DX9 games. We find that many games are having patches released to optimize performance with DX10 cards.

If you're one who isn't concerned with gaming, it would still be wise to consider the cheaper 8500 cards, as they will perform exceptionally well for business applications. There is little heat output and Gigabyte has released a fanless heat sink version that will please those who are concerned about noise. The 8500 cards still come with dual DVI outputs and a few offer HDTV as well.

Some are a bit hesitant to fork over big bucks towards a higher end 8800 GTS. It would be wise to take a look at the new 8600 series that Nvidia has to offer. With it you’ll get DX10 capabilities for the future and many card retailers are releasing HDTV adapters. This will allow the consumer to hook up to their chosen HDTV and use it as a monitor. Either way you could still do the same thing through a DVI cable if your HDTV supports it. Based on the charts the 8600 still easily handles current-gen games. Remember that ATI is planning a release of their new cards supporting DX10, so it would be wise to hold off if you’re still unsure of a purchase.

Source - AnandTech