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Home > Hardware Reviews > Graphics Cards

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

1. Introduction, specifications

MSI is a well known graphics card manufacturer that releases its own design of Nvidia's/ATI's cards, compared to other manufactures. Recently a friend of mine decided to build a new game rig with a reasonable cost and good performance. I suggested him Nvidia's 8600GTS series and after his search, he bought MSI's proposal. At first glance, we don't find many differences compared to other 8600GTS series, apart from the fact that this "baby" comes pre-over clocked in both GPU and memory. What can you expect from MSI's NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC?

NVIDIA® GeForce® 8 series graphics processing units (GPUs) redefine the PC gaming experience. With a revolutionary unified architecture and full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 10 games, GeForce 8 series GPUs deliver unprecedented performance, extraordinarily detailed environments, and film quality game effects. Below is a table that illustrates the main differences between the various GeForce 8 series GPUs:

8800 Ultra
8800 GTX
8800 GTS
8600 GTS
8600 GT
8500 GT
8400 GS
Core Clock (MHz) 612 575 500 675 540 450 450
Shader Clock (MHz) 1500 1350 1200 1450 1190 900 900
Memory Clock (MHz) 1080 900 800 1000 700 400 400
Memory Amount 768MB 768MB 640MB or
256MB 256MB 256MB 256MB
Memory Interface 384-bit 384-bit 320-bit 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit 64-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 103.7 86.4 64 32 22.4 12.8 6.4
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) 39.2 36.8 24 10.8 8.64 3.6 3.6

The GeForce 8600 GT and 8600 GTS are essentially the same product, with the only difference being the core and memory clock frequencies.


The MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC features 256MB of memory, a core clock of 700MHz and a memory frequency of 2.10GHz, which is slight higher than what generic 8600GTS cards offer. The retail package has all the needed logos and users can buy this product at the retail price of 145Euro (+ shipping). MSI offers several different versions of 8600GTS series, each with different features and retail or bulk options.

MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC comes bundled with the Company Of Heroes real-time strategy (RTS) computer game.

The OC logo on the front indicates that this version is faster than other generic 8600GTS cards:

Unpacking the box contents...

There are many cables inside including DVI to HDMI adaptor and of course an HDMI cable. This card can be used with the newest LCD televisions for sure.

Company Of Heroes retail game is included. Yep! The full version!

The card is rated as full sized and will take two slots of your system.

Looking at the side, we can see how big the cooling system is, the overall board design comes from MSI and is different than other 8600GTS cards. What's rather also not very pleasant, is that the card is longer than other 8600GTS cards and this might be an issue with some cases. We can also see the SLI connector.

The card at the back features two (x2) DVI-D outputs and one TV-out output. HDCP is supported and you can output HD content to your TV/monitor.

Despite to the usual 8600GTS, MSI's proposal uses the old molex power connector:

- Full specification

Graphics Engine
GeForce™ 8600GTS
Video Memory
Engine Clock
Memory Clock
2.00GHz (2x1050MHz DDR3)
Memory Interface
Max Resolution
2048 X 1536
Bus Standard
PCI Express x16
HDTV Output
Yes, S-Video to HDTV Out
VGA Output
Yes, With DVI-VGA adaptor
TV Output
Yes, S-Video to Composite
Dual DVI Output
Adapter/Cable Bundled
2x DVI to VGA adapter
1x HDTV-OUT adaptor
Software Bundled

1x CD-ROM (Company Of Heroes)
1x CD-ROM (Utilities & Driver)

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