Palit is a relative newcomer to the GPU market in North America, but we are sure to see more of them as months pass. Our first look at a Palit card is courtesy of the 8600GT “Super+1GB”. Though equipped with loads of memory, we found that it added little benefit over our 256MB competitor.
Welcome to the most loved and hated benchmark on the planet, Futuremark’s 3DMark 06. This benchmark was launched back in January of 2006, so it’s tests are not exactly up to par with today’s graphic cards, but it’s still a decent way to gauge how today’s cards scale with each other. The next version of 3DMark, Vantage, will be a complete revamp of the benchmark we know today and will no doubt make our computers feel useless once it’s released.
Leave it to 3DMark 06 to show us just how our budget cards pale in comparison to our mid-range offerings. Indeed, the other cards perform more than twice as well, but they also cost more than twice as much, so it’s evened out in the end.
In testing power consumption for our graphic cards, the system components are kept consistent to help keep accurate results. To capture wattage, a Kill-a-Watt is used. It is plugged straight into the wall and the PSU is plugged in directly to it. After the computer is booted into Windows and is left idle for five minutes, the idle wattage is captured.
To capture the average, a run of 3DMark 2006 is run while keeping an eye on the voltage for the first two minutes. I record the value that the Kill-a-Watt reported the majority of the time. Sometimes the wattage might go higher, but scale right back down, and vice versa.
While the ASUS 8600GT proved faster in every test, not surprisingly, it also sucks an additional 26W over the Palit card. Power consumption at idle is fantastic, at 150W. It sure beats the 211W idle for Palit’s own 8800GT Super+1GB!
Does Palit’s offering live up to the hype of having some great overclocking-ability? It does, with a huge increase on the core from the stock of 540MHz to a stable 690MHz. That 150MHz boost equated to a 15% increase in our overall 3DMark 2006 score.
As we found out through our tests, Palit’s card is an ample performer, but I find it impossible to recommend this particular model if on the lookout for an affordable offering. The 1GB version of this card, for whatever reason, retails for $150, a full $30 beyond the standard 256MB version. While the 1GB label is nice to see, it accomplished nothing in our tests.
Those findings did not come as a surprise, however. On larger GPUs, extra memory helps add support for bigger resolutions and more anti-aliasing, but when dealing with a budget card, huge resolutions are usually the furthest thing from mind, making the extra memory a moot point.
At the e-tailer I checked, Pait’s own 8600GTS is available for the same price. Considering the fact that the extra memory on this card doesn’t make much of a difference anywhere, the GTS version makes all the sense in the world. If you are still eyeballing an 8600GT card, however, there are many solutions available that are much more affordable and offer the same performance.
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