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GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2 vs GeForce 9400 GT 256MB

Intro

The GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2 comes with a clock speed of 540 MHz and a DDR2 memory frequency of 400 MHz. It also makes use of a 128-bit memory bus, and uses a 80 nm design. It is made up of 32 SPUs, 16 TAUs, and 8 Raster Operation Units.

Compare those specifications to the GeForce 9400 GT 256MB, which comes with core clock speeds of 550 MHz on the GPU, and 400 MHz on the 256 MB of GDDR2 memory. It features 16 SPUs as well as 8 TAUs and 4 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2 47 Watts
GeForce 9400 GT 256MB 50 Watts
Difference: 3 Watts (6%)

Memory Bandwidth

Both cards have the exact same memory bandwidth, so in theory they should perform the same. (explain)

Texel Rate

The GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2 will be a lot (more or less 96%) more effective at AF than the GeForce 9400 GT 256MB. (explain)

GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2 8640 Mtexels/sec
GeForce 9400 GT 256MB 4400 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 4240 (96%)

Pixel Rate

If using a high resolution is important to you, then the GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2 is the winner, and very much so. (explain)

GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2 4320 Mpixels/sec
GeForce 9400 GT 256MB 2200 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 2120 (96%)

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.

Price Comparison

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GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

GeForce 9400 GT 256MB

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 1GB DDR2 GeForce 9400 GT 256MB
Manufacturer nVidia nVidia
Year April 2007 August 2008
Code Name G84 G96a
Memory 1024 MB 256 MB
Core Speed 540 MHz 550 MHz
Memory Speed 800 MHz 800 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 47 watts 50 watts
Bandwidth 12800 MB/sec 12800 MB/sec
Texel Rate 8640 Mtexels/sec 4400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 4320 Mpixels/sec 2200 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 32 16
Texture Mapping Units 16 8
Render Output Units 8 4
Bus Type DDR2 GDDR2
Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit
Fab Process 80 nm 65 nm
Transistors 289 million 314 million
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe x16 2.0, PCI
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 10
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the max amount of information (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transported across the external memory interface in a second. It's worked out by multiplying the bus width by its memory clock speed. If it uses DDR RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels that the graphics card can possibly write to the local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the clock 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 rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the max fill rate.

Display Prices

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GeForce 8600 GT 1GB DDR2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

GeForce 9400 GT 256MB

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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