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GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2 vs GeForce 9800 GX2

Intro

The GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2 makes use of a 80 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 540 MHz. The DDR2 RAM is set to run at a speed of 400 MHz on this specific card. It features 32 SPUs as well as 16 Texture Address Units and 8 ROPs.

Compare those specs to the GeForce 9800 GX2, which makes use of a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core frequency at 600 MHz. The GDDR3 memory works at a speed of 1000 MHz on this particular card. It features 128 SPUs along with 64 TAUs and 16 Rasterization Operator Units.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2 47 Watts
GeForce 9800 GX2 197 Watts
Difference: 150 Watts (319%)

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the GeForce 9800 GX2 should be 900% quicker than the GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2 in general, due to its greater data rate. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 128000 MB/sec
GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2 12800 MB/sec
Difference: 115200 (900%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GX2 should be a lot (more or less 789%) more effective at anisotropic filtering than the GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 76800 Mtexels/sec
GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2 8640 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 68160 (789%)

Pixel Rate

If using a high resolution is important to you, then the GeForce 9800 GX2 is a better choice, by a large margin. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 19200 Mpixels/sec
GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2 4320 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 14880 (344%)

Please note that the above 'benchmarks' are all just theoretical - the results were calculated based on the card's specifications, and real-world performance may (and probably will) vary at least a bit.

One or more cards in this comparison are multi-core. This means that their bandwidth, texel and pixel rates are theoretically doubled - this does not mean the card will actually perform twice as fast, but only that it should in theory be able to. Actual game benchmarks will give a more accurate idea of what it's capable of.

Price Comparison

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GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

GeForce 9800 GX2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Please note that the price comparisons are based on search keywords - sometimes it might show cards with very similar names that are not exactly the same as the one chosen in the comparison. We do try to filter out the wrong results as best we can, though.

Specifications

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Model GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2 GeForce 9800 GX2
Manufacturer nVidia nVidia
Year April 2007 Mar 2008
Code Name G84 G92
Memory 256 MB 512 MB (x2)
Core Speed 540 MHz 600 MHz (x2)
Memory Speed 800 MHz 2000 MHz (x2)
Power (Max TDP) 47 watts 197 watts
Bandwidth 12800 MB/sec 128000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 8640 Mtexels/sec 76800 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 4320 Mpixels/sec 19200 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 32 128 (x2)
Texture Mapping Units 16 64 (x2)
Render Output Units 8 16 (x2)
Bus Type DDR2 GDDR3
Bus Width 128-bit 256-bit (x2)
Fab Process 80 nm 65 nm
Transistors 289 million 754 million
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe x16 2.0
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 10
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the max amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface in one second. It's worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR memory, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum texture map elements (texels) that are processed in one second. This is calculated by multiplying the total number of texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The higher the texel rate, the better the video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels the graphics card could possibly write to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel fill rate is also dependant on quite a few other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the maximum fill rate.

Display Prices

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GeForce 8600 GT 256MB DDR2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

GeForce 9800 GX2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Please note that the price comparisons are based on search keywords - sometimes it might show cards with very similar names that are not exactly the same as the one chosen in the comparison. We do try to filter out the wrong results as best we can, though.

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