Power Consumption and Conclusions

Graphics are quickly becoming the most power hungry component in your system today and that can be somewhat of a cause for alarm as we begin to receive 1200+ watt power supplies in our offices!  How do the new 8600 GTS and GT stand up against each other?

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None of these configurations really use a LOT of power compared to some other test beds we have seen and the 8600 GTS in SLI mode still only uses 288 watts of power at full tilt. 

Conclusions

The XFX GeForce 8600 GTS XXX and 8600 GT XXX cards are fantastic additions to NVIDIA’s mainstream graphics card line up.

Performance

The performance on the 8600 GTS XXX and 8600 GT XXX cards was pretty good in comparison to the other 8600 cards we have seen and tested thus far.  The clock speeds on the XFX models were actually the highest we have seen to date and as such, it makes sense that these XXX models (hehe) bring in the fastest performance in their respective families.

Separating the two though, the 8600 GT model is still my favorite pick of the two as it has a better price and is able to outperform the similarly priced competition from ATI by a larger margin.  The 8600 GTS is still a great card, but as we saw in our initial review, the ATI X1950 Pro card could consistently run games faster at the same or lower price point.

SLI Performance

Testing dual graphics cards in SLI configurations with the 8600-series of cards on Windows Vista 64-bit turned out to be a bit of a letdown.  There were really only a couple of games that showed dramatic improvement: Prey and Oblivion.  The other four titles didn’t show enough of a performance gain to warrant the purchase of a second 8600 GTS or GT card; in fact even on games like Prey and Oblivion you’d be hard pressed to convince me that $450 for a pair of 8600 GTS cards is a better option than a single 8800 GTS 640MB card that you might be able to find for about $400. 

Vista is still young, and 64-bit is still maturing as well, so we’ll give NVIDIA a push for now, and say we’ll check back in another driver release or so to see if the performance gains that we once expected during our Windows XP gaming days can find their way into our Vista-based machines. 

Features and XFX Warranty

XFX has been around for some time now as a NVIDIA board partner and has moved around a bit on its warranty policies.  Most recently, XFX has updated its lifetime warranty to “alleviate the concerns that enthusiasts may have” over overclocking their graphics cards.  Basically, XFX is stating that the warranty protection on the graphics cards will still be honored as long as there is no physical damage to the card and no original components are missing.  This is important for their double lifetime warranty that lets users sell their older cards to other enthusiasts and still maintain the full lifetime warranty. 

Here’s how the warranty is stated on their website:

Here’s the deal: We will repair and service your 6, 7, and 8 Series Graphics Card for as long as you live. Even for those of you who know how to push our cards to the limits, if anything goes wrong, we’ll service it free of charge. All you have to do is register the card with us online. If you ever decide to sell or give the card away to someone, we’ll still honor the protection plan for the second owner as well. They just need to register the card with us. You get the protection AND the added value of being able to pass along a full warranty.

That’s a pretty good deal.  XFX does not have a 24/7 support line but does offer 24/7 email support and some forums as well.  Warranties and support are very important for some people and if you are one of them, be sure to do your research on the various companies before spending your hard earned cash.

Pricing and Availability

As of this writing, the XFX 8600 GTS XXX card can be found for $230 or so online and the 8600 GT XXX can be found for $160.  The 8600 GTS XXX card is priced at the high end of NVIDIA’s partners for that GPU but the 8600 GT XXX’s price is more reasonably placed among the competition.  For that reason, the 8600 GT again looks like the better deal to me for gamers looking for a budget mainstream graphics card.

Final Thoughts

XFX has come up with a pair of excellent graphics cards for the 8600-series and their “XXX” series.  The XFX GeForce 8600 GTS XXX offers the highest clock and memory frequencies we have seen here at PC Perspective but the XFX GeForce 8600 GT XXX stole the show with high clock speeds, lower prices and superior performance compared to other 8600 cards. 

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XFX GeForce 8600 GT XXX

If you have any questions or comments about this review, please jump over to this thread in our forums to let us know, or just to see what others are saying!

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