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Inno3D GeForce 8500 GT and 8600 GT Comparison - Page 1 of 7

INTRODUCTION

Targeting the mid-range and lower mid-range computer users, NVIDIA's GeForce 8500 and 8600 line of cards come with the core features of their bigger 8800 brothers stripped down to be affordable while still providing substantial bang for the buck. The GeForce 8600 GT can routinely be found for $150 or less while the 8500 GT is available for sub-$100 prices. Inno3D's offering of both cards stick to the reference specs outlined further down the page, but even with the power of the 8-series behind these cards, with their gimped specs including a 128-bit memory bus and small (by today's new standards) frame buffers, can they handle some of the most demanding games at the highest resolutions available?

Inno3D GeForce 8500 GT
Inno3D GeForce 8500 GT
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x758 (268KB)

Inno3D GeForce 8600 GT
Inno3D GeForce 8600 GT
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x714 (218KB)

The picture below shows the 8500 GT and 8600 GT laying next to the MSI NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD OC to show just how tiny these cards and their heatsinks actually are. Cards this small might lead to thoughts of dismal performace, but don't let the size fool you...

GeForce 8500 GT, 8600 GT and 8800 GTS Cards Compared
GeForce 8500 GT and 8600 GT specs
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x588 (106KB)

The chart below outlines the main specs of both the 8500 GT and 8600 GT. There are substantial differences between the two cards and the 8500 almost seems as though it may be numbered a bit too highly; 8300 seems it would have been more suited for the listed specs.

GeForce 8500 GT and 8600 GT Specs
8500 GT and 8600 GT Specs

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS AND INSTALLATION

The small size of the cards and their heatsinks left me with a sour taste in my mouth upon first inspection. Considering the massive performance offered by the 8800 line and how huge those cards ended up being, it seemed logical to think that such tiny cards would be as powerful as they were big. These mid-range cards are about the same size as my X-Fi Elite Pro and don't even have a heatsink that covers the memory chips! The packages were somewhat sparse with just a driver disc, component cables for the 8600 GT and a composite cable for the 8500 GT, and DVI-to-VGA adapters.

GeForce 8600 GT Installed
GeForce 8600 GT Installed
Click Image to Enlarge - 1024x768 (276KB)

After the initial shock of their size wore off and the 8600 GT was installed, I found that apart from a VERY annoying bug that has gone unsolved the cards perform admirably and keep up the good name of the GeForce 8 family. The aforementioned bug caused my computer to freeze and forced a hard reboot/power cycling. There was no rhyme or reason to what caused it as it sometimes happened at the Windows login screen as I was putting in my password and other times after 90+ minutes of use without a problem. After a day, the problem disappeared and I experienced no more frustration with the 8600 GT. There were no problems at all with the 8500 GT during installation or use except when overclocking, but more on that later.

The rest of the test system includes:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.0GHz
  • 2GB (2x1GB) Super Talent T800UX2GC4 DDR2/800 PC2 6400 RAM @ 1066MHz
  • EVGA 680i LT SLI motherboard
  • Creative X-Fi Elite Pro soundcard
  • Logitech Z-5300 THX-certified 5.1 surround speakers
  • Western Digital WD740GD 74GB Raptor 10,000RPM HDD
  • ForceWare 158.22
  • Dell 3007WFP 30" Widescreen LCD

The cards were tested using the following games:

  • F.E.A.R. v1.05
  • Counter-Strike: Source v1.0.1.0
  • Half-Life 2: Lost Coast v1.0.1.0
  • Company of Heroes 1.5.1

But first, a look at overclocking and 3DMark06 performance.

Next Page: Overclocking and 3DMark06 Scores

Last Updated on June 1, 2007


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