Page 1:Where's The Beef?
Page 2:What About Nvidia?
Page 3:HD 2600 & GeForce 8600: No Mid-Range?
Page 4:The Proof Is In The Pudding
Page 5:Doom 3
Page 8:Video Playback - CPU Utilization
Page 9:Where Did All The Mid-Range Go?
Page 10:Conclusion: So What Are They Good For?
What About Nvidia?
EVGA 8600 GTS and Sparkle 8600 GT
So what about Nvidia? They aren't off the hook either. Looking at only the GeForce 8600 GTS and GT cards, both follow the same logic ATI used with its RV610 and RV630, only within the same numeric sequence. The chart below outlines the core differences between each of the processors in the GeForce 8000 series.
|Specification||GeForce 8800 GTX||GeForce 8800 GTS||GeForce 8600 GTS||GeForce 8600 GT||GeForce 8500 GT||GeForce 8400 GS||GeForce 8300 GS|
|Fabrication Process||90 nm||90 nm||80 nm||80 nm||80 nm||80 nm||80 nm|
|Number of Transistors (millions)||681||681||289||289||210||210||210|
|Core Clock (Including dispatch, texture units, and ROP units)||575 MHz||500 MHz||675 MHz||540 MHz||450 MHz||450 MHz||450 MHz|
|Shader Clock (Stream Processors)||1.35 GHz||1.20 GHz||1.45 GHz||1.19 GHz||900 MHz||900 MHz||900 MHz|
|Stream Processors (#)||128||96||32||32||16||16||8|
|Memory Clock (MHz / data rate)||900/1800||800/1600||1000/2000||700/1400||400/800||400/800||400/800|
|Memory Interface||384 Bits||320 Bits||128 Bits||128 Bits||128 Bits||64 Bits||64 Bits|
|Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)||86.4 GB/s||64.0 GB/s||32.0 GB/s||22.4 GB/s||12.8 GB/s||6.4 GB/s||6.4 GB/s|
|Frame Buffer Size||768 MB||640 MB||256 MB||256 MB||256 MB||128 MB or 256 MB||128 MB or 256 MB|
|Texture filtering rate (texels per clock)||64||48||16||16||8||8||8|
|Texture Fill Rate (Billions of bilinear filtered texels/sec)||36.80 GT/s||24.00 GT/s||10.80 GT/s||8.64 GT/s||3.60 GT/s||3.60 GT/s||3.60 GT/s|
|RAMDACs||400 MHz||400 MHz||400 MHz||400 MHz||400 MHz||400 MHz||400 MHz|
|Bus Technology||PCI Express 1.1a||PCI Express 1.1a||PCI Express 1.1a||PCI Express 1.1a||PCI Express 1.1a||PCI Express 1.1a||PCI Express 1.1a|
One fact that you should be able to pull out from this table is that there is a huge gap between the 8800 and 8600. The GeForce 8600 GTS has a quarter the shaders of the 8800 GTX, and one third the shaders of the 8800 GTS. In similar fashion, the 8800 GTX can do four times as many raster operations as the 8600 GTS, and the 8800 GTS can do 2.5 times as many. The data path has the same scaling as the ROPs. The memory interface was also crippled, being only 128 bits wide compared to 384 bits for the 8800 GTX and 320 bits for the 8800 GTS. This means that bandwidth is a little more than one third that of the 8800 GTX and half of the 8800 GTS. Clearly the mid-range is not a classical mid-range we have come to understand over the past five years.