MSI GeForce 8500 GT and 8600 GT Comparison - Page 1 of 8
Review By Jonathan Martini - July 13, 2007
Today we examine MSI's latest cards based on the recently announced mainstream line-up of Graphics Processing Units (GPU) designed by NVIDIA. These new chips are derived on the performance-leading GeForce 8 architecture. The MSI GeForce 8500 GT (NX8500GT-TD256E) and the MSI GeForce 8600 GT OC (NX8600GT-T2D256E OC) are aimed at the mainstream marketplace and are priced between $75-$100 for the 8500 GT-based unit and $120-$160 for the 8600 GT-based unit.
NVIDIA GeForce Logo
Both cards are Windows Vista certified and are capable of supporting all the Windows Vista features, most notably full DirectX 10 support and capabilities. They are also manufactured using an 80nm fabrication process, which provides higher core clock speeds than are attainable on the older 90nm fabrication while operating at cooler temperatures.
One of the key features of the GeForce 8 Series mainstream line-up is the addition of PureVideo2 engine to NVIDIA's PureVideo HD technology. The new PureVideo2 engine allows the GPU to offload 100% of the processing required for decoding high-definition (HD) video playback content encoded in VC-1 and H264 such as that found on Blu-ray and HD DVD. This will allow high-quality playback on mainstream CPUs, which might not have the processing power to handle HD content without skipping frames. Use of the PureVideo HD technology with the 8500 GT is currently only supported via the ForceWare drivers for Windows Vista. NVIDIA has stated that they expect to be adding PureVideo HD capabilities to the 8500 GT when running under Windows XP in June.
The chips share a lot of feature, but diverge on a few key characteristics:
GeForce 8500 GT & 8600 GT Specifications
Here we see that although the 8500 GT and 8600 GT are within the same line-up, they are two distinct and very different chips. NVIDIA differentiates its chips by price and performance. A look at the above chart displays a few key performance differentiators between the 8500-class and the 8600-class: use of DDR2 rather than GDDR3, half the stream processors, and a much lower fill rate.
Let's take a look at the card which we'll be testing...