Product Type: Nvidia graphic cards
Newest Review: ... colours, resolution, brightness, contrast and connected displays. === Features === The nVidia GeForce 8600 GT has a 128 bit memory, wh... more
nVidia GeForce 8600 GT
Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT
Member Name: TheGoodSurveyer
Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT
Advantages: Low cost, powerful
Disadvantages: Not powerful enough for extreme gaming
=== Purpose of purchase ===
Graphics cards have become an essential part of PCs, especially where an on-board card isn't available. I had to buy a new graphics card, when my previous one had trouble coping with the high definition output. I decided that I needed a cheap graphics card, which could support HDMI and would last at least a few years.
I considered a number of purchase options, looked at a few different graphics cards, and browsed very sellers pages online, as well as visiting a few shops. I wanted to make sure when I buy the card, I won't be wasting money at an expensive store, whether online or a high street shop.
=== nVidia GeForce 8600 GT overview ===
The graphics card has three ports: one is HDMI (in the middle), the others are VGA (left) and DVI (right). The specifications include 512MB DDR3 graphics memory, which is sufficient for anything I throw at it. It slots into a PCI-E x16 (PCI express card slot), and screws into place.
=== Purchase, Installation & Procedure ===
I purchased the graphics card from ebay at a reasonable price for the time. The delivery took several weeks, and I wasn't sure if the card was going to arrive. I contacted the seller, and after two or three days he replied to confirm that he had sent it this time. The seller told me that he had prepared the item for shipping a few weeks before, but forgot to take it to the Post Office. He apologised for the delay, and said I should receive it in a day or two. I got the card cheap, brand new, with free delivery, so nothing to complain about. I've purchased many components from the same seller after that, and everything arrived within a few days. That delay was a one off.
The graphics card arrived with the standard warrantee, which you'd expect with any new purchase.
The installation was quick and simple, and involved inserting and securing the graphics card after removing its fan, which was too big to fit in the available gap. I replaced the fan with an alternative with a better exhaust mechanism.
nVidia offers an automatic graphics card check, which ensures you download the correct drivers. The drivers work well on Windows and Linux. The Linux installation requires root privileges, and is done through a very short shell script. The script is "sh ./filename", without the quotation marks.
The driver installation takes approximately two minutes, and requires the computer to restart on Windows and Linux. The installation on Linux leaves two options for enabling the driver; when switching between them, the computer must be restarted for changes to take effect. One option of the driver offers 3D capabilities, which isn't good for ordinary video playback. The standard display option is good for everything, except 3D video playback.
The Windows nVidia Control Panel offers the same controls to those on the Linux version, which allows you to adjust the display colours, resolution, brightness, contrast and connected displays.
=== Features ===
The nVidia GeForce 8600 GT has a 128 bit memory, which enables it to handle data in large chunks. The 128 bits is the word length for each instruction or piece of data sent via the graphics memory channel. This is a high speed volatile memory specifically with the purpose of handling graphic data and instruction, which are sent to the graphics processor.
The 512MB memory with a 700MHz memory clock speed help with speeding up standard memory and graphics memory tasks, by organising the processor hungry graphical tasks to be handled by the graphics processor. This frees up RAM for other use, up to the amount available in the graphics memory.
At an impressive 22GB/s graphical data transfer rate, this graphics card has the ability to handle and output high definition multimedia through a HDMI connection. The card can be used in a multiple GPU system.
=== Comparison to other graphics cards ===
The previous two cards were bought at a similar price, but with much lower specifications. Those cards are PNY GeForce 8400 GS PCI-E 256MB and nVidia GeForce 5500 FX 256MB, both of which have a slightly slower memory, which is half the amount of the 8600 GT. The next card purchased was the nVidia GeForce 9500 GT, which has better memory but I haven't noticed any significant improvement in performance.
Of these cards, I've only used the nVidia GeForce 8600 GT on multiple operating systems. I've used them all on Windows XP, and have also used the 8600 and 9500 on Windows Vista and 7. The computer which had the older cards didn't support anything beyond Windows XP, so I didn't get a chance to test those out.
An advantage of nVidia GeForce 8600 GT over the 9500 GT is the value for money, because the performance isn't a great deal better. While there are many advantages of the 8600 GT over the older cards I've tried. The old cards have a DDR memory, while the 8600 is DDR3.
=== My Conclusion ===
The nVidia GeForce 8600 GT is an affordable graphics card, offering high quality output, powerful processing and sufficient amount of memory for the ordinary computer user. It's worth buying if you want to save some money and get a good quality graphics card.
This card isn't suitable for extreme gamers, because the graphics memory is quite limited when compared to the minimum requirements of some new games.
[Team Dooyoolympians relay entry]
Summary: Good overall graphics card.
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