The GeForce 8600 GTS is not much better than the PowerColor card in 3DMark06, yet the overall scores aren’t enough for making any conclusions. Let’s see the detailed picture.
In the SM2.0 tests the GeForce 8600 GTS has the biggest advantage over the PowerColor X1950 Pro SCS3. Nvidia’s declared 16 TMUs seem to work correctly in 3DMark06 as opposed to certain games. In the SM3.0/HDR tests the gap shrinks to a negligible value because the impressive computing capacity of the RV570-based cards with their 36 pixel processors is called for by the test conditions.
The first SM2.0 test confirms the GeForce 8600 GTS’ superiority, but the second favors the PowerColor X1950 Pro SCS3. Compared with the related test from 3DMark05, the second SM2.0 test renders a more complex scene with a sophisticated shadowing and lighting model, and the GeForce 8600 GTS seems to suffer from a lack of resources whereas the Radeon X1950 Pro has a good reserve of computing power.
The fact that the GeForce 8600 GTS does not have enough computing resources for complex conditions is confirmed by the results of individual SM3.0/HDR tests in which the conditions are even more difficult due to the use of full-screen antialiasing. In both tests the PowerColor X1950 Pro SCS3 is far ahead of Nvidia’s new solution, which is hamstringed by its low memory bandwidth. It is, however, possible that the GeForce 8600 GTS will be doing better on a new driver, for example after improvements in the shader processor allocation algorithm.