To get you a better understanding of what products we are dealing with in comparison to the rest of the cattle in the herd, let's have a look at some product specs that I placed into this really cute table.
GeForce 8500 GT
GeForce 8600 GT
GeForce 8600 GTS
Core clock (MHz)
Shader clock (MHz)
Memory clock (MHz) x2
Memory bandwidth (GB/sec)
Let's analyze the entire NVIDIA series 8 product line a little starting at high-end. First off, the 8800 GTS and GTX are brilliantly performing cards. They have a lot power thanks to the sheer number of Stream processors (shader processors). The GTX has 128 units, the GTS cards have 96 shader units. Keep that shader core number in mind please as that's where the real magic happens.
128 to 96 cores for high-end. Now then logic would assume that the the mid range products to have 48 shader units, but that's not the case. Merely 32 units are present in the 8600 series and a very shallow 16 on the 8500.
Since we are looking at the 8600 cards today let's keep focus on that one. The 32 shader units inside the GPU is not a lot, but for a mid-range product it is decent enough if you give the product the proper what I call "framebuffer performance". The memory on your graphics card is very influential when you look at its bandwidth (the data speed which the GPU can work (read/write/copy) in. So I was surprised to see a 128-bit bus as in 2007 we should have really moved towards a 256-bit bus. 256-bit memory is dirt cheap so that's just not a logical step from my point of view. It's simple, the difference between memory for 128-bit versus 256-bit is half the bandwidth and has a very intense effect on the overall framerate of your games.
I would not be surprised to see 256-bit memory bus mid-range products later on in this year though. Perhaps Santa might bring us a little surprise this year. How old is that man anyways ?
Moving on towards the mid-range products though; late at evening laying in bed, your mind might start to wonder just like mine, and just when you start to fall asleep those eternal two questions pops into your mind, what's the physical difference between the 8600 GT and GTS and who's that blonde next to me (with great physical features as well) ?
The answer is nothing, except the core and memory clocks and likely internal GPU voltage. So if you receive a GT that can overclock well, you could be able to bring it close to GTS speeds and save 50 bucks. Really it's the same GPU yet specified slower. Also good to know, every feature that is present on the 8800 series is also available on this chip architecture. Please read our reference GeForce 8800 GTX review for full documentation on these features.
And as you can understand the cards all have full DX10 compatibility.
Chipset - NVIDIA Geforce 8600 GTS
Memory - 256MB GDDR3
Core Frequency - 702MHz
Memory Frequency - 2100MHz
RAMDAC - 400MHZ
Interface - PCI-Express
Memory Bus - 128-bit
Max. Resolution - 2560 x 1600
SLI Ready - Yes
Stream Processors - 32
Output - #1. Dual-Link DVI #2. HDTV s
Please notice that only the 8600 GTS will have HDCP support straight out of the box.
BFG Tech GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 review Many of companies these days compete fiercely with each other, and this is why we see pre-overclocked products these days. Yes, it's a lot of e-peen stuff over basically 2 to 5% more performance. Equipped with great warranty and several flavors of a good number of products they recently unleashed the BFG GeForce 8600 GTS OC2.