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8800GTS 320MB or 8600GT 512MB

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 23, 2007 6:00:31 PM

Hello,

Which graphics card, all things considered, is the better card, the Nvidia Geforce 8800GTS 320MB or the Nvidia Geforce 8600GT 512MB? The card will be used to play the latest games at high quality settings and possibly to render 3D images and floor plans. The card needs to perform smoothly with the latest games.

As a third option, there is the Nvidia Geforce 8500 512MB. Is this worth considering?

The 8600 does have more RAM than the 8800 320MB. But, does the 8800 have a better engine, more pipelines, etc.? In other words, is the 8600 better because it has more RAM or is the 8800 better because even though it has less RAM it is a more powerful card? Which has a longer lifespan (or, which is more "future proof", as it were)?

The card also should last for at least 1.5 to, preferably, 2 years. It will run in a Core 2 Duo 2.4 or 2.6 system with 2GB of RAM on either a 19 or 22 inch monitor.

Thank you.
August 23, 2007 6:15:53 PM

The 8800 is by far the best option. The other two are crippled cards that won't run the newest games nearly as well. It is getting more difficult to determine the best graphics cards based on specs and, in fact, I wouldn't know what spec would be the most important determining factor. The short answer though is that the memory on a video card is no longer a good indicator of its performance. Definitely go with the 8800 if money is not an issue.
August 23, 2007 6:19:38 PM

The 8800 GTS 320mb will eat the 8600 GTS 512mb alive...

...and the 8500 512mb isn't even in the same league as either. it's slow.

The amount of memory isn't all that important as far as performance goes. it's architecture and clockspeed that matters.
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August 23, 2007 6:20:01 PM

Well my initial reaction was ok someone is having a laugh(no insuly intended) :) 
Basically the 8800 is a very good performer all round you have two options 320 or 640 depending on the resolutions you play at.
And as a gaming card the 8600 makes a good frisbee and the 8500 a good target to throw it at :lol: 
Seriously the 8600 and 8500 are basically media centre cards they do hd decoding etc while the 8800s were made to play games.
There are more options Nvidea do a gtx which is top of the pile at the min if you ignore the gtx ultra which is way expensive and they are due to release a new card G92 i think its called around about november.
You need to decide how much you are happy with spending really personally i on princable wouldnt pay for a gtx even though i would love one :) 
Mactronix
August 24, 2007 5:55:18 PM

According to you all, the three cards are not worth comparing because the 8800 GTS 320MB is the clear winner. The 8800 it is. However, for curiosity's sake, can the 8600GT 512MB handle a game like BioShock at high quality settings?

The 8800GTS 320MB will be used on either a 19 or 22 inch monitor. A 22 inch monitor runs at 1680x1050, I believe, and I don't know what a 19 inch monitor runs at. Does anyone know? Is the 8800GTS 320MB capable of running games well at high quality settings on the resolutions of the abovementioned monitors? Will the 8800GTS 320MB have trouble running new games - such as BioShock - at high quality on them
August 24, 2007 6:18:56 PM

Edit:

Is there a significant difference between th 8800GTS 320MB and the 8800GTS 640MB, one significant enough to justify the approximately 200 USD rise in price? Can the 8800GTS 320MB run Bioshock smoothly at high quality settings at 1680x1050?
August 24, 2007 6:29:24 PM

Like everyone else said the 8800gts is far better than the 8600, im saying twice as good. You wont be able to run bioshock with an 8600 very well. 19 inch monitors have a resoloution of 1440x900 if they are widescreen and 1280x1024 if they are the normal ones. I doubt you will have a problem running bioshock on a 19 inch screen at highest settings But if you are going to go with a 22 inch screen you would have to set it to medium settings as the 320mb version may struggle at high settings. I have an 8800gts 320mb with a 19" monitor at 1440x900 and my games run very smoothly at high settings. I am now downloading the bioshock demo and if you want i'll tell you how well it runs.
August 24, 2007 6:46:00 PM

I have an 8800gts 320. I can play the Bioshock demo on the highest graphic settings at 1280*1024 and it is silky smooth. I'll up the resolution to 1600*1200 and see how it works.

Just played the demo at 1600*1200, and it was just as smooth as at 1280*1024. I am also playing in XP so the DX10 effects are off.
August 24, 2007 7:06:28 PM

vanquish said:
Is there a significant difference between th 8800GTS 320MB and the 8800GTS 640MB, one significant enough to justify the approximately 200 USD rise in price? Can the 8800GTS 320MB run Bioshock smoothly at high quality settings at 1680x1050?


Yes, but the difference is only really prominent at resolutions above 1600x1200.

At 1600x1200 or below, the 320MB card performs close and is a better bet.
August 24, 2007 8:22:44 PM

8600gt with 512mb (even if it's ddr3 as most are ddr2) is a waste. Anything past 256mb isn't going to help much with 128bit bus speed.

8800gts 320 however has a 320bit bus and at least 2x the processing power.

even at 1600x1200 the 640mb version of the 8800gts offers only slight gains over the 320mb. So at least for now with the state of drivers, operating systems, and directx memory seems like a very small factor in performance after 256mb.

Another example is the 2900xt with 1gb of ddr4 barely out performs the 2900xt with 512mb of ddr3.
August 25, 2007 5:15:13 PM

If, as some of you stated and tested, the 8800GTS 320MB can run Bioshock - and therefore the latest games - at high quality at 1600x1200 (i.e. 22 inch monitors), then the 8800GTS 640MB is not entirely necessary. The card will not be used with a monitor over 22 inches and might be used with a monitor of 19 inches.

Thank you Lumberboy for testing the 8800GTS 320MB at 1600x1200 and thank you all for your assistance.

P.S. Are there any known issues with the 8800GTS 320MB, such as driver or heating issues?

August 25, 2007 5:58:25 PM

If you are considering the diff between the 320 and 640 the thing there really aside from res is as the newer dx10 titles start to appear they will likley be more texture intensive and the xtra vid mem should assist with that to insure a good year or two out of the card.

cheers
August 25, 2007 7:01:12 PM

There are driver issues with every card ever made, but i think you will be fine right now if you get the 8800.
!