PNY Verto 8600 GTS Graphics Card Review
Today NVIDIA is launching a new mainstream graphics card that is DirectX 10 compliant. That means that shoppers in the lower end brackets can now get a video card ready for future gaming without breaking the bank. This review is of the PNY Verto 8600 GTS which is the fastest of the trio of graphics cards NVIDIA is launching today with its card partners. To see how well the PNY Verto 8600 GTS performs read on.
The 8600 GTS shares many of the same features in common with its bigger brothers in the NVIDIA family, the 8800 GTS and 8800 GTX. Where the 8600 GTS moves away from the 8800 series is in the fact that NVIDIA used a new next generation PureVideo engine. This new PureVideo engine was designed to reduce CPU utilization during playback of H.264 movies. This hardware acceleration allows low end CPUs to play back next gen movie content from Blu-ray and HD DVD. NVIDIA shows that in testing they were able to reduce CPU utilization in decoding HD titles of up to 60%. Currently you have to use PureVideo HD with Windows Vista, though XP will be supported in June 2007.
The 8600 GTS uses NVIDIA unified architecture with a fully unified shader core, GigaThread Technology supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads. Naturally the 8600 GTS is fully DirectX 10 compliant and works with SLI technology. The NVIDIA Lumenex Engine is built-in and the 8600 GTS can do 16x AA as well as 128-bit floating point HDR. Other card features include NVIDIA Quantum Effects, OpenGL 2.0 support, nView multi-display technology and dual dual-link DVI outputs.
The PNY Verto 8600 GTS has 32 stream processors, a core clock running at 675MHz, shader clock running at 1450 MHz, the effective memory clock is 2000MHz, the card has 256MB of DDR3 RAM with a 128-bit memory interface. The memory bandwidth is 32 GB/sec with a texture fill rate of 10.8 billion/sec. PNY has sat the MSRP for the PNY Verto 8600 GTS at $199.99 for Etail and $249.99 for retail.
I tested the PNY Verto 8600 GTS in a test system with the following specifications:
- CPU- Intel QX6700
- OS- Windows XP Pro SP2
- RAM- 2GB PNY XLR8 PC2-8500
- Mainboard- EVGA 680i
For testing purposes I used 3Dmark06, FEAR, Battlefield 2142 and Quake 4 to see how well the PNY Verto 8600 GTS performs. The first test up was 3DMark06 which I ran at default settings in the 3DMark06 application and the NVIDIA control panel. The results were as follows:
- Total 3DMarks- 5831
- SM2.0- 2299
- HDR/SM3.0- 2044
- CPU- 4020
- Return to Proxycon- 17.787
- Firefly Forest- 20.527
- Canyon Flight- 18.104
- Deep Freeze- 22.780
- CPU1- 1.314
- CPU2- 1.967
To compare to a card I recently reviewed, the XFX 7600GT Fatal1ty, scored 4018 total 3DMarks and the 8800 GTS 320MB, which is the next step up from the PNY 8600 GTS scored 9344 total 3DMarks.
The next test up for the PNY Verto 8600 GTS was FEAR which I ran at a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024, 16x AF, 4X AA, no soft shadows and all other settings on max. Using the FEAR in game test loop the PNY Verto 8600 GTS scored as follows:
- Min- 21 fps
- Avg- 38 fps
- Max- 79 fps.
The percentages showed that only 5% of the time were the frame rates below 25 fps, 66% of the time frame rates were between 25 fps and 40 fps and 29% of the time frame rates were greater than 40fps. This represents playable frame rates with great graphic quality at screen resolutions compatible with most 19” LCD displays.
The next test up for the PNY Verto 8600 GTS was Quake 4. Since Quake 4 doesn’t have an in game test loop like FEAR does I used Fraps to record frame rates while playing the single player game. Fraps recorded the following frame rate data as a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024, 8xAA, high settings and multi-core CPU on:
- Min- 48
- Avg- 60.114
- Max- 62
The final test up for the PNY Verto 8600 GTS was with Battlefield 2142. To record frame rate data in BF2142 I used Fraps again on a single player level called “Fall of Berlin” at a screen resolution1600 x 1200, 4x AA and settings on high. The recorded frame rate data was as follows:
- Min- 23
- Avg- 31.676
- Max- 36
- Great price point
- Good performance
- No PureVideo HD support for XP at this time
If you are looking in the low $200 range for your next graphics card the PNY Verto 8600 GTS is an option worth serious consideration. This graphics card is very fast and would make for an excellent Vista based media center computer on a low end CPU. If gaming is your bag, the PNY Verto 8600 GTS works well on common sized LCD displays. Overall, the PNY Verto 8600 GTS is a great choice for gamers on a lower budget looking to the DirectX 10 future.
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