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Conclusion

The results of our test session on the new platform with the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics card drivers showed that the situation in the Mainstream arena has changed dramatically. If Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS used to look not very impressive against the background of Radeon X1950 Pro, now the situation is very different.

Since we run several different levels for some of the games and also taking into account the minimum performance numbers, Nvidia solution based on G84 GPU used to prove an indisputable leader only in 6 tests, including both 3DMark versions. In other cases, we either saw parity with AMD Radeon X1950 Pro, or a significant advantage of the latter over our hero. Now with the new drivers and settings GeForce 8600 GTS wins in 10 tests, which is more victories than it used to be, even though it is still only a half of all our tests.

Besides, despite a more advanced testbed, we have also detected a performance drop that may have been caused by enabled transparent texture anti-aliasing as well as imperfections of the Nvidia and ATI drivers.

As for the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC graphics adapter we talked about today, it made a very favorable impression. First of all, it features very powerful and quiet cooling system, and second, it boasts pretty good overclocking potential. The combination of these two factors makes this solution a very attractive purchase for computer enthusiasts with limited finances. The card is very modestly pre-overclocked by the manufacturer, and doesn’t provide a significant performance gain, but the efficient cooling solution allows pushing its speed to much higher limits for the sake of much greater performance boost. The only thing we wish were better, is the accessories bundle, but in this price range every additional game in the box may change the price tag of the product significantly and discourage potential users from buying it.

All in all, with the price of around $180, MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC may be very appealing, but if you have another $100-$120 at your disposal we would recommend taking a look at GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB that will provide much higher gaming performance.

Highs:

  • High performance for the solution of this type;
  • Unified architecture (32 shader processors);
  • DirectX 10 support;
  • Excellent anisotropic filtering quality;
  • Full support of hardware H.264 HD video decoding;
  • Efficient and quiet cooling system;
  • Low power consumption;
  • Good overclocking potential.

Lows:

  • Yields to Radeon X1950 Pro in some cases;
  • Dual-slot cooling system;
  • Not very rich accessories bundle;
  • Price a little bit too high for the solution of this type.
 
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