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NVIDIA's next-generation mid-range offerings are just 10 days away

Earlier this week review publications received their test kits for the GeForce 8300 through 8600. The bulk of these cards, the GeForce 8500 GT, GeForce 8600 GT and GeForce 8600 GTS will launch on April 17, with the GeForce 8300 GS and GeForce 8400 GS following soon after.

DailyTech published technical details of these cards last month. In a nutshell:
  • GeForce 8600 GTS -- 256 MB GDDR3, 675 MHz core clock, 1000 MHz memory clock
  • GeForce 8600 GT -- 256 MB GDDR3, 540 MHz core clock, 700 MHz memory clock
  • GeForce 8500 GT -- 128 to 256 MB DDR2 or GDDR3, 450 MHz core clock, 700 MHz memory clock
NVIDIA claims these three cards will be available at launch.  The 8600 GTS will fill the $199 to $229 price point, followed by the 8600 GT ($149 to $159) and the GeForce 8500 GT ($89 to $129).

The GeForce 8400 GS and 8300 GS will bring up the rear with 450 MHz core clocks and 400 MHz memory clocks. However, these two GPUs will only show up in OEM systems and will not likely make an appearance in your local hardware store.

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What about performance?
By 4745454b on 4/7/2007 3:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
According to this site, the performance of these cards is very lacking. A very overclocked 8600GTS with AA/AF enabled is slower then an x1950pro. If this is the best that an overclocked 8600GTS can do, then Nvidia looks like it has a problem.

RE: What about performance?
By therealnickdanger on 4/7/2007 3:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
...then Nvidia looks like it has a problem.

Yeah, there aren't any perfected drivers for it yet... Be patient. The card isn't even out yet.

RE: What about performance?
By Chillin1248 on 4/7/2007 5:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
According to a (in my opinion) more reliable site, the 8600 GTS performs slightly better than a 7900 GT:

However they did manage to get a rediculous overclock on it:


RE: What about performance?
By tuteja1986 on 4/8/2007 4:18:21 AM , Rating: 2
Some people in Australia already have bought the 7600GT since one shop broke the early date sale terms.

RE: What about performance?
By PrinceGaz on 4/9/2007 9:22:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I would imagine lots of people in Australia (and elsewhere) have already bought the 7 600GT, as it has now been available for over a year ;p

RE: What about performance?
By Ajax9000 on 4/10/2007 3:19:27 AM , Rating: 2
RE: What about performance?
By Alpha4 on 4/7/2007 5:56:35 PM , Rating: 2
Are there any cases you can recall where mid-life drivers significantly improved performance? I don't mean with specific games like Black & White 2 or Doom III, just overall.

RE: What about performance?
By Lakku on 4/7/2007 10:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, nVidia did it to ATi back when the original Radeon released. I believe it was for the Geforce 2 GTS or Geforce 3, but on ATi's launch day, nVidia released new drivers that made their cards quite a bit better. It seemed like it was planned that way all along. Perhaps nVidia will do it again to R600 (or just release a refreshed card), but that may just be wishful thinking. Anyway, I believe the 8 series/R600 and beyond will benefit from drivers more then cards in the past, due to the increased need for software to work with hardware to dictate, on the fly, how much processing should go to pixel, vertex, and/or geometry shading. Make drivers, over time, to do this job more efficiently, and I think you will see some noticeable performance gains.

RE: What about performance?
By SquidianLoveGod on 4/8/2007 12:50:32 AM , Rating: 2
Nvidia bought out the company that did Wicked 3D, Which actually released drivers for they're products which would give a 25% boost in performance.
These New mid ranged cards are still new, the drivers are still young, Performance will increase, I remember awhile ago during the days of the FX series, Nvidia released drivers which increased performance on my TNT2 M64 card, I was astonished at the feat.

I personally would go for a 7900GS price/performance.

RE: What about performance?
By Marlowe on 4/8/2007 8:43:48 AM , Rating: 2
Ooh! I've also had a TNT2 M64! :D

I exchanged my S3 Savage4 with one :) Great card! Remember playing good old Unreal(1) on it :D

RE: What about performance?
By AstroCreep on 4/8/2007 3:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously! Hell, we haven't even seen the ATI/AMD offerings yet, which would surely prompt nVidia to force a quick price drop when they are released.
Take a deep breathe a wait for a little while. You really think that 7800gt is gonna go by the way side in another two months? :/

RE: What about performance?
By KCjoker on 4/7/2007 4:26:39 PM , Rating: 3
You're wrong, the performance isn't lacking at all. These are low/mid range cards and yet they're performing as well as last gen high range cards. That's what happens every time with new low/mid range cards. Look at the 7600GT how it was comparable with the previous high range card the 6800 Ultra. You get what you pay for, $200 bucks buys you good framerates at low resolutions. If you want better than that be willing to pay for it.

RE: What about performance?
By razor2025 on 4/7/2007 5:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, that's not right either. $200-220 is mid-high range, and ~$150 is the mid range "sweet spot". In current state, 8600 GTS loses to parts that cost ~$140-150 (or lower with rebates and sale). Even with coming DX10 games and driver improvement, I don't see 30-40% increase in performance( that makes these cards "bang for buck" )possible. If I'm blowing $200 on a card, I'd expect to be able to run latest game at reasonable resolution around 1280x1024 and 1680x1050 w/o AA or AF, not 1024x768.

RE: What about performance?
By KCjoker on 4/7/2007 5:26:13 PM , Rating: 2
Performs pretty much like a 7950GT(with DX10 capability when drivers get sorted) and for $200 I think it's a good deal but to each his/her own. I see your point that it's in a sticky spot which is why I paid the extra $60 and got a 8800GTS 320mb. I was waiting on the 8600GTS and wanted to see benchmarks. However I was worried that the 8800GTS 320mb might get discontinued once the 8600GTS was launched. Not sure if it will or not but I'm happy with my purchase.

RE: What about performance?
By Lakku on 4/7/2007 10:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
1680x1050 may be asking too much from a mid-range card. The latest games, i.e. Oblivion, STALKER, SupCom etc. can take noticeable dips in certain areas on a quad core, single 8800GTX system. This is at max settings, but the fact remains the latest games can take their toll.

RE: What about performance?
By drebo on 4/8/2007 3:21:16 AM , Rating: 1
You're an idiot.

So, preliminary benchmarks for this generation's MID range cards put them at last generations HIGH end card. That sounds pretty good to me.

How about DX10 support? Where's the X1950pro sit on that? Oh, right. It doesn't.

The only threat to these cards right now is the 8800GTS 320mb.

For the record, a 7900GS($140 card from eVGA) plays games at 1280x1024 and 1680x1050 without a hitch. Hell, I can play Oblivion on a 7600GS medium settings at 1280x1024 with no problem. My 7900GT gets me stutter-free gameplay on Ultra High settings at 1680x1050 in every game I've ever tried to play on it.

These 8000-series cards will perform just fine for their pricepoint (low-mid to upper-mid range buyers) in their target markets (people who are smart enough to realize that the worth of a card when compared to a completely different card is more than the number of FPS it gets in Quake 4).

RE: What about performance?
By Targon on 4/8/2007 9:06:47 AM , Rating: 2
That's pretty much the whole point here, that you need to compare these new cards to the other cards in their generation and the generation before it.

X1950 is really from the Geforce 7900 generation, no matter when the X1950 was released. Now, the R600 based cards are due to be released "soon", which should re-initiate the true performance battle between NVIDIA and ATI video processors.

In addition to this, with the lack of DirectX 10 titles, the only real performance measurement at this point is the performance in DirectX 9 games. It doesn't matter at this point if a video card is DirectX 9 or 10 right now, it's all about how the performance is compared to the other DirectX 9 cards on the market. That means we can properly compare everything from Geforce FX 5200 to 8800 cards and Radeon 9500 to X1950 cards to see how they compare.

RE: What about performance?
By crimson117 on 4/9/2007 10:33:57 AM , Rating: 2
That's pretty much the whole point here, that you need to compare these new cards to the other cards in their generation and the generation before it.

Well the real comparison is, considering these new cards, what's the best performance I can get for my money?

If your budget is $150... should you get one of these cards, or should you opt for a x1950Pro?

RE: What about performance?
By razor2025 on 4/8/2007 5:27:38 PM , Rating: 3
Typical ad hominem attack. DX10 is still up in the air as far as "efficiency" goes. No one knows how much performance penalty will kick in to render DX10 specific graphic enhancement. You buy hardware to software specification, not buying hardware guessing the software spec.

This is the facts. 8600GTS will cost $200-230. You can get a 8800GTS for ~$250. 8600GTS LOSES to 1950GT/PRO in some benchmark, and the Radeon is a ~$120 card. Make no mistake, 8600GTS is priced as $200 and above card, that has same/lower performance of a $120-130 cards with speculative performance on DX10. People smart enough will pony up the extra $20 to get a much better performing card, or save up the $60-70 savings for future upgrade later when DX10 ACTUALLY MATTERS!

RE: What about performance?
By drebo on 4/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: What about performance?
By defter on 4/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: What about performance?
By otispunkmeyer on 4/10/2007 4:07:00 AM , Rating: 2
although your comparing a properly mid range card with one that was slightly higher end, i think the big mistake NV made here was keeping the crummy 128bit memory bus alive.

i was hoping, in light of this, Ati might capitalize and go with at least 192bit bus, but apparently their mid range is using 128bit as well

512bit on the top end for Ati, mid range gets left in the stone age on 128bit

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