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HD 2600 & GeForce 8600: No Mid-Range?

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.

SpecificationGeForce 8800 GTXGeForce 8800 GTSGeForce 8600 GTSGeForce 8600 GTGeForce 8500 GTGeForce 8400 GSGeForce 8300 GS
Fabrication Process90 nm90 nm80 nm80 nm80 nm80 nm80 nm
Number of Transistors (millions)681681289289210210210
Core Clock (Including dispatch, texture units, and ROP units)575 MHz500 MHz675 MHz540 MHz450 MHz450 MHz450 MHz
Shader Clock (Stream Processors)1.35 GHz1.20 GHz1.45 GHz1.19 GHz900 MHz900 MHz900 MHz
Stream Processors (#)12896323216168
Memory Clock (MHz / data rate)900/1800800/16001000/2000700/1400400/800400/800400/800
Memory Interface384 Bits320 Bits128 Bits128 Bits128 Bits64 Bits64 Bits
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)86.4 GB/s64.0 GB/s32.0 GB/s22.4 GB/s12.8 GB/s6.4 GB/s6.4 GB/s
Frame Buffer Size768 MB640 MB256 MB256 MB256 MB128 MB or 256 MB128 MB or 256 MB
ROPs (#)242088844
Texture filtering rate (texels per clock)64481616888
Texture Fill Rate (Billions of bilinear filtered texels/sec)36.80 GT/s24.00 GT/s10.80 GT/s8.64 GT/s3.60 GT/s3.60 GT/s3.60 GT/s
HDCP SupportYesYesYesOptionalOptionalOptionalOptional
RAMDACs400 MHz400 MHz400 MHz400 MHz400 MHz400 MHz400 MHz
Bus TechnologyPCI Express 1.1aPCI Express 1.1aPCI Express 1.1aPCI Express 1.1aPCI Express 1.1aPCI Express 1.1aPCI 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.