Gigabyte 8600GTS

Gigabyte 8600GTS
  • Gigabyte 8600GTS
  • Gigabyte 8600GTS
  • Gigabyte 8600GTS
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Supports DirectX 10, Silent operation

Cons

  • Large, Heat sink needed modifying in order to fit into our case

Bottom Line

The Gigabyte 8600GTS is an affordable mid-range card which will be able to display DirectX 10-based games in all their splendour when they're finally released. That being said, the fact that it's quiet and comes with a decent bundle makes it good for its price.

Would you buy this?

Special Offers

The Gigabyte GeForce 8600GTS is a mid-range graphics card which uses NVIDIA's new 8600GTS GPU (graphics processing unit). The 8600GTS is one of NVIDIA's first mid-range GPUs to have built-in support for DirectX 10 and can be used for playing all the latest games, and future games but it won't be able to play them at very high resolutions. It's also a silent graphics card which should make it appealing to those of you who want to build a silent PC that's suitable for gaming.

Technologically, the 8600GTS isn't as powerful as the 8800GTX or the 8800GTS GPU, for that matter, but it's capable of decoding high definition video (this is called the PureVideo HD feature), something the 8800GTS can't do, which means that your system's CPU can be left free to do other things while you watch HD video. For processing 3-D graphics, the 8600GTS has only 32 stream processors (see our review of the 8800 GTX review for a description of stream processors) compared to 96 for the 8800GTS, and it only has a 128-bit memory interface compared to a 320-bit memory interface for the 8800GTS.

The 8600GTS GPU runs at 675MHz, so it's no slouch, and the 256MB of GDDR3 memory runs at 2GHz, which is faster than the 8800GTS memory speed (1.6GHz). However, the 8600GTS can't process as much information per clock cycle as the 8800GTS, as it has significantly less stream processors, nor can it move as much information to and from its memory chips, due to its narrower memory interface. As such, its performance doesn't come close to that of an 8800GTS-based graphics card and this was shown in our benchmarks.

We tested the card on a Windows Vista Ultimate PC with an ASUS P5B Premium motherboard, an Intel Core 2 Quad QX6700 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 150GB Western Digital Raptor hard drive. Using the game F.E.A.R, the card recorded 61 frames per second at a resolution of 1024x768, with 4x AA (anti aliasing) and 16x AF (anisotropic filtering) enabled. A card based on the 8800GTS can get up to 115 frames per second at these settings. As the resolution was increased the card's performance scaled down appropriately, so at a resolution of 1152x864, the card scored 49 frames per second, and at 1400x1050 it scored 33 frames per second. F.E.A.R is a fairly demanding game and its result at 1152x864 is still playable.

As for its build quality, Gigabyte has gone to great lengths to keep the card cool, yet silent, using its Silent-Pipe 3 cooling technology. It's actually a double-thickness card, so it takes up two expansion slots in a case and it needs the second slot due to its large heat sink and heat pipe assembly. The heat sink is copper-based with a range of thick and thin aluminium fins and is designed to cool the GPU whereas the memory chips aren't cooled at all. The large heat sink has an outlet that takes up space in the adjacent slot in a PC case and it can make installation difficult. In our test case, a Lian-Li PC-A12, we had a lot of trouble inserting the card because of its size. We actually had to break off one of the heat sink fins and bend another one so that we could get it installed.

Once it was installed, the heat sink did a good job of keeping the GPU cool and we didn't experience any reliability problems during hours of testing with 3DMark06. The card scored a 5703 during this benchmark, which isn't anything to write home about. It's important to note that this card probably won't give you much faster frame rates in current games than a previous-generation graphics card, such as a Radeon X1950Pro. However, the fact that it's a DirectX 10-capable graphics card, means that it will be able to display all the visual delights of DirectX 10-based games when they are released.

For connectivity, the card comes with two DVI connectors as well as a TV-Out port. A break-out cable ships with the card to facilitate Component high definition and S-Video output. Gigabyte also supplies a full-version game called Supreme Commander, so you can get gaming as soon as you take the card home.

While the card's performance wasn't earth-shattering, it isn't meant to be. It's meant to be an affordable mid-range card which will be able to display DirectX 10-based games in all their splendour when they're finally released. That being said, the fact that it's quiet and comes with a decent bundle makes it good for its price.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?