The Gigabyte GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB card is the top mainstream option in the NVIDIA GeForce 8 Series and is designed to replace the GeForce 7600 GT, while offering performance that rivals many higher-end GeForce 7 and Radeon X1000-based video cards. In this review, our standard system configuration consists of a high-end Intel platform, featuring a 2.93 GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor, 2x1GB of CAS4 DDR2-800, and an Intel 975X motherboard, This represents a very serious high-end platform for performance video card benchmarking, and ensures that our system configuration will not be the limiting factor.
The competition in our video card benchmarking comes from both the mainstream and entry high-end areas, and includes the GeForce 7600 GT 256MB, GeForce 7900 GS 256MB, GeForce 7900 GT 256MB, and GeForce 7950 GT 512MB from NVIDIA and the Radeon X1650 XT 256MB and Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB from the ATI side. Since this is a DirectX 10 card, we have naturally upgraded our operating system to Windows Vista Home Premium, the most popular and prevalent of the Vista flavors.
Our benchmark selection is a series of high-end game tests such as Lost Planet (DirectX 9 & 10), Supreme Commander, Company of Heroes, F.E.A.R., 3DMark06 Advanced, Quake 4, DOOM 3, and FarCry. This represents a combination of many different game engines and feature sets, and all have proven stable and usable under Windows Vista.
Initial testing is performed using standard 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 32-bit settings, and then we move to the widescreen arena with high-end 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering results at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 (or similar, depending on game support) resolutions . With widescreen gaming becoming so popular, this represents an area that high-end gamers will need covered.
* Please note that unless otherwise stated, all performance graph results equate to the standard "higher is better" format.
Desktop Resolution: 1920x1200
Color Depth: 32-bit
Intel Core 2 Reference System:
Processors: Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93 GHz)
Memory: 2 x 1GB Ultra DDDR2-800 (CAS4)
Motherboard: Intel D975XBX2
Motherboard chip set: Intel 975X
NVIDIA reference drivers: ForceWare 158.24
ATI reference drivers: Catalyst 7.6
Hard-Drive: Seagate Barracuda 750GB
IDE Interface: Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s
CD/DVD: Samsung DVD-R SH-S162
Power Supply: Enermax EG651P-VE-24P 550W EPS12V
Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium
Monitor: Dell 2407WFP 24" LCD
Gigabyte GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB
Radeon X1650 XT 256MB
GeForce 7600 GT 256MB
GeForce 7900 GS 256MB
GeForce 7900 GT 256MB
Radeon X1950 Pro 256MB
GeForce 7950 GT 512MB