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The story of my 8600GT (long)...

post #1 of 16
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So, I got in a tight spot last week due to some unexpected living costs, and had to downgrade my gaming system, selling my 8800GTS 640mb in the process. Reluctantly I decided on an 8600GT, even though I "knew" it was junk since I needed to spend as little as possible on a replacement card.

Now before you start to assume I created this thread to justify my purchase, search through my post history. I owned an x1950pro before my 8800GTS's and would mercilessly flame 8600GT owners claiming that my card was the better buy, and that they were stupid and evil for purchasing an 8600GT because it has a 128bit memory interface so that must mean it sucks.

I want to hate this card, I really do. But I cant.



Let me list out the cards I've owned in the past few years to give some perspective:

Chaintech 6600GT
eVGA 6800GS
ATI x800xl
eVGA 7900GT
Gigabyte 7600GT
Asus x1950pro
PNY 8800GTS 320mb
eVGA 8800GTS 640mb

...and now my eVGA 8600GT. Out of all the cards I've owned, the 8600GT is the best fps/overall performance/price ratio of any I've owned, NO CONTEST.



A couple months ago I picked up a PNY 8800GTS 320mb for cheap from another forum, and was fairly impressed. It ran Oblivion (my most played title) very well at max settings with Qarl's texture pack and other texture mods, but was slightly choppy at 1680x1050 w/no AA 16xAF, and sometimes experienced framerate drops below 20fps, and also occasional 1-2 second freezes. An OC to 600 core helped but not quite enough, and caused stability issues in Oblivion with the mods I was running. I ended up deciding that I needed to upgrade to the 640mb version to run the texture mods I wanted smoothly, and bought an eVGA model. It ran quite well at stock speed, when outdoors I would get little to no choppiness and only occasional frame-freeze. Average outdoor framerate of 45-55fps w/drops to 30 once in a while. Definitely acceptable.

So I sadly had to sell my 8800GTS 640mb, and pouted for a few days as I waited for my "crappy" 8600GT to arrive. I did a fresh install of windows as I usually do when installing a new card, and loaded up oblivion with all my usual mods (including streamline, which is a lifesaver on that game for any card IMO). I prepared myself to be underwhelmed and actually maybe a little bit pissed off at how horribly the 8600GT would perform based on all of the bad talk I've heard about it... I was wrong. Very wrong.

Now I'm not trying to make this card out to be something it isn't, but I am truly amazed at how well it performs. With the same settings as my other cards and all texture mods installed, and OC'ed to 600/800, it gets a steady average 26-31fps outdoors, the lowest I've seen it go is 22fps, and the highest is 36. Indoors it is almost always well above vsync. My x1950pro would struggle to stay above 20fps with vanilla oblivion OC'ed to 550 core. The most important thing though is, unlike my 8800's and x1950 and 7900GT, it is butter smooth, with almost no freezes and very little choppiness. This could be somewhat related to the 8800 slowdown issue but who knows...

I have never cared about max or average framerates, only minimum/framerate stability, and let me tell you this card delivers. I have tried it with FEAR and PREY maxed out as well and it performs just as impressively, prancing right past my x1950pro and 7900GT easily. Now OBVIOUSLY this card is not as powerful as the 8800GTS, and I suspect that my PNY was a dud, but calling the 8600GT crap is an absolute falsehood IMO. I am very satisfied with my decision.




I learned a few things:

1. People bad-mouthing products they've never owned or used seriously need to shut up. (myself included in the future)

2. If the 128-bit memory interface somehow has crippled this card I have completely failed to see any effect of this whatsoever.

3. You DO NOT need a >256mb card to run Qarl's texture pack and other texture mods smoothly. I really put my foot in my mouth on this one, I've advised several people not to get 320mb GTS's because of my bad experiences with the PNY 320mb and good experiences with the eVGA 640mb..

4. Don't be a sheep. If you want something, buy it... you might be happy you did.





IMO, FWIW, etc.
post #2 of 16
Good read, thanks.
post #3 of 16
I was planning on getting a GT for now and maybe SLI'ing later after someone on here posted 7000+ 3DMark06 scores with there single overclocked GT.
post #4 of 16
i've been happy so far with my gts might even buy another one on down the road..

p.s. very good post..one of the most honest i've seen
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post #5 of 16
With the prices the 8600's are going out now after rebate, they really do seem very cost beneficial. I was considering picking up an 8600GTS, but ended up getting a really sweet deal on my 8800GTS. $155-175 vs $225 was an easy decision for me

This chart from another post should make you a bit happier about your decision (it's based on the GTS though, not sure about the GT)
post #6 of 16
Why is it always the 8800gts owners who hate the 8600 so much?

I don't see too much hate on this site tho.
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post #7 of 16
Good post. Might use it in a budget build in the future.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by iandh View Post
My x1950pro would struggle to stay above 20fps with vanilla oblivion OC'ed to 550 core.
But the x1950PRO's core is default at 580.
    
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post #9 of 16
I have owned a few good video cards and have to say I agree this card performs with grace. I have also run various powerful ATI cards and even owned a Matrox back when they were hot many many moons ago. Shoot I still have my 3dfx voodoo 5 5500 Agp sitting in my basement. I was always one of those guys that had to get the most powerful vga card and got the BFG 6800 OC like 3-4 years ago thinking it was the best. At the time it was one of the fewest cards that could play doom3 with ease while every other card struggled. Now I think back how badly these old cards were designed with high power consumption, created ridiculous amounts of heat, and made everything so unstable because of its draw of power that came through its additional power connector to perform at its best. I really dont care about cost when it comes to video cards but this is one thing that I fear when buying my next video card. I have to say since I got to actually see what the 8600gt could do with ease really has me rethinking the way I think about video processing.


Long live 3dfx btw!!! BABABOOOEEEEYYY

    
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post #10 of 16
You guys also have to remember what website we're on. Most people want the best performance they can get and wouldn't want to settle for midrange (or so it seems). The 8600GT isn't an enthusiast card, nor was it ever marketed as one. But for what it is, and especially for the price ($99 at the moment), it seems like a tough card to beat, especially the way to Overclocks. If it just had 256bit, this card would be extremely tough to pass up. Not everyone needs to have every graphical setting fully maxed in order to play a game, and this is a great card for that type of person it seems like.
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