Galaxy 8600Ge Video Card Overclocking Review

Videocards/VGA Reviews by massman @ 2007-09-07

How can you differentiate yourself as video card manufacturer in a crowded market? Galaxy decided to add extra cooling and apply very high factory overclocked speeds to their 8600 GT based products which they call the 8600 GE. Coming close to speeds of the more expensive 8600 GTS we find out if this video card is worth your money if you are looking for a budget-minded VGA upgrade.

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Test setup, Methodology and Overclocking

Test Setup and Test Methodology

The test system was installed with Windows XP, the latest official drivers from NVIDIA were used, 162.18.

Massman's Test Setup

CPU Intel Core 2 E2160 @ 1.8Ghz
Cooling Intel stock HSF
Mainboard Asus P5K
Memory 2 * 512MB PC5400 Corsair
  • Tagan 480W
  • Western Digital 320GB SATA HDD
  • NXTZ Adamas

  • Benchmarks and Methodology

    The 8600 series is a mid-range offering from NVIDIA, don’t expect miracles from it when it comes to running the latest games, you’ll have to settle to low/medium quality settings and resolutions. We hooked up the system to a 19” widescreen 16:10 ratio LCD monitor with native resolution of 1440x900. This allowed us to test games at 1024x768 and 1440x900. We found older games to be perfectly playable at medium/high settings at the monitor’s native resolution.

    These are the benchmarks, both synthetic and games, to evaluate the performance of the Galaxy 8600GE:

  • 3DMark2001SE
  • 3DMark03
  • 3DMark05
  • 3DMark06
  • AquaMark3

    The Futuremark should give us a general idea of where the card will fit in the “large scheme”, we then proceeded with a series of game benchmark to see if the outcome was different compared to the synthetic benchmarks:

  • F.E.A.R. (in-game benchmark)
  • Prey (Hardware OC Bechmark Tool)
  • Quake 4 (Hardware OC Bechmark Tool)
  • Bioshock Demo (Fraps manual run-through)
  • Colin MCrae: DiRT (Fraps manual run-through)

    While the 8 series if DX10 capable we have not switched over the new Vista platform yet, waiting for a more polished experience (SP1) and the lack for a real reason to switch, as DX10 is not offering any tangible image quality or performance improvements over DX9.

    Overclocking the Galaxy on Air

    An interesting part of any review nowadays is the overclocking potential, seeing as the Galaxy was build by overclockers we had high expectations. For comparison we included an 8600 GT at reference speed, a Calibre 8600 GT model which comes with 512Mb and factory overclocked. In the overview below we re-included the specifications of the 8600GTS.

    Using Rivatuner 2.0 or ATI Tool the 8600GE could be overclocked easily, as we kept an eye on the load temperatures we increased the GPU and Memory clocks until the system became unstable. The Coolermaster provided HSF certainly did a good job at keeping the core cool enough, we ended up with this overclock:

    Madshrimps (c)

    A ~13% overclock on the GPU is enough to push the speed beyond that of the 8600 GTS, the memory is already running close to the limit and could only be pushed another 10%. Also note the increased Shader clock, at 1566 it’s running well beyond the reference speed and should provide a nice boost.

    Here's our reference chart for the GPU/Shader relation as the speed goes up, unlike the previous generation video cards, the GPU and Shader clocks increase in jumps, rather than by 1Mhz at a time:

    Madshrimps (c)

    Synthetic benchmarks next ->
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    Comment from Massman @ 2007/09/07
    Extreme cooling hopefully in the near future
    Comment from thorgal @ 2007/09/07
    Nice 1 PJ. Looking forward to the OC fun
    Comment from Sidney @ 2007/09/07
    Not available in the U.S yet?
    Why destroy a perfectly good running card; it would be like driving a new car at 50mph into a brick wall to see how much the bumper can withstand.
    I guess the answer could be "because we can".
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/09/07
    I think Galaxy is mainly EU for now; if they can squeeze out maximum performance, and sell 8600 GTS performance card at 8600 GT price-tag, I don't see nothing wrong
    Comment from MACMAC @ 2007/09/07
    Is it possible that there is a typo in the Specifications chart?

    The 8600GE and 8600GT are listed as having the same Memory Bandwidth and Texture Fill Rate, which logically can't be right.
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/09/07
    good catch, thank you for spotting the error, will have it fixed asap