Our test system is based on an Intel Core 2 Duo with Intel 975x “bad axe” motherboard, 2Gb of system memory, a fast Western Digital Raptor hard drive and fresh install of Windows XP SP2. While Windows Vista has been released earlier this year, and it has DX10, we’re waiting for games to actually make good use of the new DX10 features to make it worth switching operation system, as well as SP1 to work out the kinks in the system. With OEM’s asking Microsoft to keep XP around a bit longer it seems we’re not the only ones finding a lack of reasons to “upgrade” to a new OS. Our tests were done with the latest NVIDIA Forceware drivers available at the time of writing: 163.71.
Our previous performance comparison with the 8600 GT and 7600 GT were done with older drivers, as an extra did we did a quick benchmark session comparing the 94.24 (for 7600 GT) and 158.22 (for 8600 GT) to the new driver in Futuremark 3DMarks:
As you can see, there is not much of a difference between the two driver versions.
Back to the test setup: the enclosure used for our test is a Coolermaster CM 690
Intel Test Setup
|CPU ||Intel Core 2 E6400 @ 2.8Ghz (from CSMSA)|
|Cooling ||Coolermaster Hyper TX|
|Mainboard ||Intel 975X Bad Axe (Modded by Piotke)|
|Memory ||2 * 1Gb PC6400 OCZ|
|Other ||Sunbeamtech 3D Storm|
Antec TruePower Trio! 650W
Western Digital 74Gb Raptor SATA HDD
Resolutions of 1024x768 and 1280x1024 proved quite do-able with the 8600 GT, and in some games we even got to enable Anti Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering. When comparing performance to the 7600 GT we found that the AF setting of 4x did make a noticeable impact in average FPS, the same setting enabled on the 8600 GT cards did not cause a performance drop, in fact you can safely enable 4xAF on the Geforce 8600 GT without a performance hit, a nice bonus don’t you think?
We threw together a mix/match of game benchmarks to stress the video cards, in older games as well as most recent ones, here’s our list:Team Fortress 2
Colin McRae DIRT
Rainbow Six Las Vegas
Call of Duty 4 (demo)
Unreal Tournament 3 (demo)
Before we tackle the gaming benchmarks, we start of with the synthetic benchmarks from Futuremark ->