Up until now, there hasn’t been a midrange priced DX10 card but NVIDIA changed that with the release of the GeForce 8600 and GeForce 8500 series. The mid and low range is where companies get the most sales so it’s no surprise that these cards should be well sought after. Today we’re going to look at the high end of the mid range cards with the Foxconn GeForce 8600 GTS.
The Foxconn GeForce 8600 GTS card comes in at a 675MHz core and 1000MHz memory. The unified shaders are clocked at 1450MHz. While the GeForce 8800 GTX card has 128 shader units and the GeForce 8800 GTS card has 96 shader units, the GeForce 8600 GTS has a low 32 shader units available. I would’ve thought it would come in with half what the GeForce 8800 GTS card would have but NVIDIA might have looked at the performance and price ratio and deemed 32 is enough for the midrange card. Available memory on this card comes in at a standard 256MB of GDDR3 ram. Memory channel is at 128-bit.
The card sent to us is pretty much the reference design for the NVIDIA card. During the review, Foxconn did inform me that the retail version will contain a non-reference cooler that’s supposed to improve cooling by 15%. As for the rest of the card, it’s pretty much the standard fare. This card is SLI capable so you’ll be able to run two of these for improved performance. This card will need an external power connector as well.
Packaging of the card looks to be pretty standard for Foxconn as well. I do miss their artistic packaging so I’m hoping that makes a comeback later on down the road. Included with the card are two DVI to VGA adapters, a video connector dongle, a Molex power cable convertor, two utilities, and driver software. If you’ve read my other Foxconn card reviews you know the two utilities RestoreIT and Virtual Drive Pro are also standard offerings from Foxconn. What’s missing here though is the nice USB gamepad but that’s not that big of a deal and probably reduces the costs a tiny bit as well with it’s omission.
With the card running, it was almost silent. I’ve been pretty happy with the past few NVIDIA card releases in terms of noise and this card doesn’t disappoint. I hope that the Foxconn production cooler produces the same result as well as this card would be a nice card to stick into an HTPC if you want some good video performance as well as being extremely quiet.
My test system consisted of:
- AMD64 X2 4600+
- abit NF-M2 nView
- 2 GIG Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 (2 sticks of 1GB each)
- Seagate 160GIG 7200RPM HDD
- Windows XP w/ Service Pack 2
We'll test this card against the Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTX so you can see how much of a difference a high end and a mid-range card performance can be.First up is Futuremark's 3D Mark 06
is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. We tested at the standard 1280x1024 resolution.
is Raven Software's true sequel to the id classic. The game uses an improved Doom 3
engine for some great graphics. For the test we ran a demo featuring a few enemies and some squad mates. We set the graphics qualities at maximum and ran it on three different resolutions. A new demo was used over my previous tests that feature a more intensive battle. All of the options were set to maximum for the run.
One of the surprise hits out of Monolith was F.E.A.R.
This supernatural FPS looks incredible and really pushes a video card to its limits. For the benchmark, we ran three resolutions using the in game benchmark with all the settings set at max.
has been in development for many years but the folks at Human Head finally released the game this year. The game utilizes the Doom 3
engine like Quake 4
and features the really cool Portal technology to garner some interesting game play aspects. All settings were set to maximum and three resolutions were chosen for the test.
Company of Heroes
is an RTS that really pushes video cards. The game by the fine folks at Relic Entertainment is set in WWII and features deformable terrain as well as great physics. The level of detail in the game for an RTS is amazing. For the tests, we set everything at maximum or ultra to ensure that the card was taxed as much as possible
is Valve's sequel to the mega hit that just keeps on going. The game features incredible physics and highly detailed graphics. A scene near the beach with attacking ant lions was used to test this card along with setting the graphics at maximum.
When compared to the GeForce 8800 GTX at 1600x1200, you can see in all games other than Quake 4 where it is CPU bound the GeForce 8600 GTS shows how much slower it is. Although there are some titles that do run well with the card such as Half-Life 2. Considering the card is more than half the price you can see that for the most part the performance falls in line. The card does support DirectX 10 though so once games start coming out that use that feature we can see if this card is really getting more bang for the buck.While there's still the traditional anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering modes, the GeForce 8800 introduces CSAA. We'll test the regular modes first and then I'll show you how NVIDIA's CSAA doesn't bog the card down as much while offering some very nice anti-aliasing quality. First up is 4xAA with 8xAF. The top bar is with the settings turned on while the bottom bar is the normal run.
Next up we turn it up a little with the new NVIDIA 16xAA with 16xAF.
Foxconn's GeForce 8800 GTS gives you good performance for a mid-range card and is ready for the future with DirectX 10 support. Right now there's no alternative solution from ATI if you want an inexpensive DirectX 10 card. The card runs quiet and has all the features the GeForce 8800 GTX has minus the speed of course. Foxconn's adding a little of their own flavor with a different cooler than what the reference card has so hopefully it'll run the card even cooler. The bundle's a little sparse but you do get two utilities and all the connectors you'll need.