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Gigabyte 8600GTS 256MB Silent Pipe 3
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by Rob Williams on August 13, 2007 in NVIDIA-Based GPU

Building a silent PC or on the look-out for a quality mid-range graphics card offering? Gigabyte’s 8600GTS includes the best of both worlds. In addition to including a passive cooler, a free copy of Supreme Commander can be found here also. Of course the important question is: Does the overall performance warrant your attention?

Half-Life 2, Stalker, Supreme Commander


For Half-Life 2: Episode 1, I chose my favorite level, ep1_c17_02a. The level starts you off in a dimly lit hallway and you need to make it through to the roof where an airship is trying to gun you down. It’s a fun level, and really shows off HDR.

The game performed quite well up until 1600×1200, although some subtle flickering became evident throughout the level. At 1920×1200, it’s even more common, despite still being 60+. Surprisingly though, 1920×1200 was still quite playable, and the downsides seen through the play through probably wouldn’t be enough to keep people away, if that’s the resolution they wanted to play with.

STALKER

In S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I chose a run-through with the thumb drive mission, which occurs near the beginning of the game. Through it, there are many people who die and you get to leave with a thumb drive. Does it get much better?

There are few games that remain completely playable at lower average FPS… STALKER is not one of them. In fact, I have a difficult enough time killing people in this game with an 8800GTX, so getting down to 15FPS is a complete joke. The game ran fine at 1280×1024 on both cards, but anything higher should be avoided at all costs.

Supreme Commander

SupCom is yet another game that I could probably play better blindfolded, but man, is it pretty to look at. Considering this is the game included with the card, it could not have been left out. The level used is Finn’s Revenge, which we have a saved game for. When loaded, it allows us about five minutes before the match ends, thanks to the huge army we’ve built up.

While STALKER is a game that requires higher FPS to enjoy, SupCom ran surprisingly well even at 1920×1200. While 19FPS is nothing to brag about, it ran more than smooth enough for me to put up with it. If I were stuck with this card, I would run the game at that resolution without hesitation. I didn’t experience any blatantly obvious lag at all.


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