NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS and 8600 GT

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Today's announcement by NVIDIA should come as no surprise to PC enthusiasts. The company's modus operandi has been to launch a new flagship GPU and over the course of the next year or so scale back the design to flesh out a complete top-to-bottom line-up of products, all with essentially the same feature set.

We saw this scenario play out with the GeForce 6 series, which began with the high-end GeForce 6800 Ultra and ended with the GeForce 6100 series IGPs. The GeForce 7 series too began its life with the GeForce 7800 GTX and is now comprised of a whole host of products at various price points, many of which will soon be overshadowed by their GeForce 8 series couterparts.  "What GeForce 8 series counterparts?", you ask.  Well, that's what we're here to talk about.

NVIDIA is announcing a handful of products today, ranging from the new mid-range GeForce 8600 GTS and GT to the OEM-only GeForce 8300 GS. As you probably expect, these new cards sport the same base feature set as NVIDIA's current flagship DX10-class GeForce 8800 GTX and differ mainly in the level of performance they're able to deliver.  NVIDIA does have a couple of tricks up their collective sleeves with this launch as well, like a new, more powerful PureVideo HD engine, which we'll also tell you about on the page ahead. 

NVIDIA GeForce 8 Series
Specifications and Features

NVIDIA unified architecture:
Fully unified shader core dynamically allocates processing power to geometry, vertex, physics, or pixel shading operations, delivering up to 2x the gaming performance of prior generation GPUs.

GigaThread Technology:
Massively multi-threaded architecture supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency in advanced, next generation shader programs.

Full Microsoft DirectX 10 Support:
World's first DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects.

NVIDIA SLI Technology:
Delivers up to 2x the performance of a single graphics card configuration for unequaled gaming experiences by allowing two cards to run in parallel. The must-have feature for performance PCI Express graphics, SLI dramatically scales performance on today's hottest games.

NVIDIA Lumenex Engine:
Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy at ultra-fast frame rates.
16x Anti-aliasing: Lightning fast, high-quality anti-aliasing at up to 16x sample rates obliterates jagged edges.

128-bit floating point High Dynamic-Range (HDR):
Twice the precision of prior generations for incredibly realistic lighting effects - now with support for anti-aliasing.

NVIDIA Quantum Effects Technology:
Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation enable a new level of physics effects to be simulated and rendered on the GPU - all while freeing the CPU to run the game engine and AI.

NVIDIA ForceWare Unified Driver Architecture (UDA):
Delivers a proven record of compatibility, reliability, and stability with the widest range of games and applications. ForceWare provides the best out-of-box experience and delivers continuous performance and feature updates over the life of NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

OpenGL 2.0 Optimizations and Support:
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications.

NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology:
Advanced technology provides the ultimate in viewing flexibility and control for multiple monitors.

PCI Express Support:
Designed to run perfectly with the PCI Express bus architecture, which doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8X to deliver over 4 GB/sec. in both upstream and downstream data transfers.

Dual 400MHz RAMDACs:
Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates - up to 2048x1536@85Hz. 

Dual Dual-link DVI Support:
Able to drive the industry's largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560x1600.

Built for Microsoft Windows Vista:
NVIDIA's fourth-generation GPU architecture built for Windows Vista gives users the best possible experience with the Windows Aero 3D graphical user interface.

NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology:
The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.

Discrete, Programmable Video Processor:
NVIDIA PureVideo HD is a discrete programmable processing core in NVIDIA GPUs that provides superb picture quality and ultra-smooth movies with low CPU utilization and power.

Hardware Decode Acceleration:
Provides ultra-smooth playback of H.264, VC-1, WMV and MPEG-2 HD and SD movies.

HDCP Capable:
Designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.

Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing:
Sharpens HD and standard definition interlaced content on progressive displays, delivering a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home-theater systems.

High-Quality Scaling:
Enlarges lower resolution movies and videos to HDTV resolutions, up to 1080i, while maintaining a clear, clean image. Also provides downscaling of videos, including high-definition, while preserving image detail.

Inverse Telecine (3:2 & 2:2 Pulldown Correction):
Recovers original film images from films-converted-to-video (DVDs, 1080i HD content), providing more accurate movie playback and superior picture quality.

Bad Edit Correction:
When videos are edited after they have been converted from 24 to 25 or 30 frames, the edits can disrupt the normal 3:2 or 2:2 pulldown cadences. PureVideo HD uses advanced processing techniques to detect poor edits, recover the original content, and display perfect picture detail frame after frame for smooth, natural looking video.

Video Color Correction:
NVIDIA's Color Correction Controls, such as Brightness, Contrast and Gamma Correction let you compensate for the different color characteristics of various RGB monitors and TVs ensuring movies are not too dark, overly bright, or washed out regardless of the video format.

Integrated SD and HD TV Output:
Provides world-class TV-out functionality via Composite, S-Video, Component, or DVI connections. Supports resolutions up to 1080p.

Noise Reduction:
Improves movie image quality by removing unwanted artifacts.

Edge Enhancement:
Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and objects.

 


We've already covered the architectural features and benefits of the NVIDIA GeForce 8 Series GPUs in previous articles, so we won't go into detail again here. To familiarize yourself with the features inherent to NVIDIA's GeForce 8x00 series cards, nForce chipsets, and their multi-GPU platform as whole, please take some time to peruse the articles listed below:

The details and performance data in the articles listed above will give you much of the background information necessary to better understand the new 8600 series graphics cards we'll be showcasing here today. If you're unclear about anything on the proceeding pages, please look back to these articles for a multitude of background data related to today's subject matter.

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