NVIDIA Mid Range 8600 GT vs 7600 GT Performance Comparison

Videocards/VGA Reviews by jmke @ 2007-08-13

Only a few weeks ago we compared the new 8500 GT to the cheaper and older 7300 GT video card and found the new NVIDIA budget card to be average at best. This week we compare the mid range offering, a Sparkle 8600 GT 256Mb which can be found at ~€100 in stores, to a ~€100 XFX 7600 GT 256Mb which comes with higher clock speeds. To round up the comparison we threw in a factory overclocked Calibre 8600 GT with 512Mb. Let´s see if the new cards can beat the revived price/performance champ.

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Introduction & Specs


When NVIDIA introduced their mid-range Geforce 7 series it became an instant success, the 7600GT delivered a formidable performance jump over the companies previous mid-range card, the 6600GT. In our review today we set out to see if NVIDIA does it again with the 8 series.

The Geforce 8 series introduced us to the “GTS” suffix, first found on the 8800 GTS and later used on the mid-range products too. The 8600 GTS was introduced at a price point not much lower than that of the 8800 GTS 320Mb, people expected this card to be “the” next NVIDIA mid-range card. Unfortunately the 8600 GTS disappointed in the performance charts, falling well behind the 8800 GTS 320Mb. At ~€200 the 8600 GTS definitely is not the killer deal many were waiting for.

While it’s true that the 7600 GT was initially introduced at a similar price of ~€200, its price/performance was very good at the time. Today the Geforce 7600 GT cards still available stores have enjoyed a nice price cut, available at prices as low as ~€90, furthermore we’ve seen an increase in specifications of these cards thanks to an improvement in the manufacturing process. The first batch of 7600 GT were at 90nm, the newer ones at 80nm. We reviewed a XFX 80nm based 7600 GT here. The XFX 7600 GT Fatality featured higher GPU speeds and memory clocks, these improvements have now been implemented in XFX entry level models, which feature the same increased clock speeds.

For our comparison today we bought a XFX 7600 GT 256Mb GDDR3 video card and compare it to two new comers from Sparkle. The first one is from Sparkle straight, a Geforce 8600 GT 256Mb GDDR3 available in stores for ~€99, the second is from Sparkle’s daughter firm, the Calibre 8600 GT 512Mb GDDR3, this factory overclocked unit is priced at ~€150.

From left to right: Sparkle 8600 GT , XFX 7600 GT, Calibre 8600 GT

Madshrimps (c)

Let’s compare specifications:

Sparkle 8600 GT
Calibre 8600GT
XFX 7600GT
Original 7600GT
Core clock
540 MHz
630 MHz
650 MHz

560 MHz

Shader clock
1180 MHz
1404 MHz
Memory clock
1400 MHz
1620 MHz
1600 MHz
1400 MHz
Amount of memory
Memory bus width

The “new” 7600 GT at 80nm enjoys a 16% boost in GPU clocks and 14% memory speed, the Calibre enjoys an equal 16% boost in GPU speed and 15% memory, the Shader clocks are overclocked ~18%.

Let’s take a closer look at our new mid-range cards ->
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Comment from Sidney @ 2007/08/13
8600gt finally received the credit it deserves
Comment from jmke @ 2007/08/13
but only at that price point it must be said!
Comment from Sidney @ 2007/08/13
Credit = price/performance
I never give credit at a single level
Comment from thorgal @ 2007/08/13
Nice article J. A lot of info here, still digesting Very complete benchies too
Comment from RichBa5tard @ 2007/08/14
Exellent review!
Comment from jmke @ 2007/08/14
I have overlooked the X1950 Pro it seems, it's now also at price ~€100 and offers out of the box performance slightly higher than the 8600 GT
http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=get...&articID=5 72
Comment from RichBa5tard @ 2007/08/17
Yes, but slightly lower power consumption and better drivers.

Both of them are a good deal though.