Mainstream GeForce 8 Series Round-Up: MSI & Gigabyte

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The MSI NX8600GT T2D256E

The MSI NX8600GT T2D256E
GeForce 8600GT Chipset Features 
NVIDIA CineFX 5.0 Shading Architecture 
  • Microsoft Vista Features
Vertex shaders
- Support for Microsoft DirectX 10.0 Vertex Shader 4.0
- Encompass' Transform and Lighting
- Displacement mapping
- Geometry instancing
• Pixel shades
- Support for DirectX 10.0 Pixel Shader 4.0
- Support for full pixel branching
- Support for Multiple Render Targets (MRTs)
- Infinite-length pixel programs
• Next-generation texture engine
• Full 128-bit studio-quality floating point precision through the entire rendering pipeline,with native hardware support for 32 bpp,64 bpp,and 128 bpp rendering modes. 
64-Bit Texture Filtering and Blending 
  • Full floating point is supported throughout entire pipeline
• Floating point filtering improves the quality of images in motion
• Floating point texturing drivers new levels of clarity and image detail
• Floating point frame buffer blending gives detail to special effects like motion blur and explosions 
NVIDIA Intellisample 4.0 Technology 
  • Advanced 16X anisotropic filtering (up to 128 taps)
• Rotated-grid antialiasing for removing jagged edges for incredible edge quality
• Support for advanced lossless compression algorithms for color, texture,and z-data at higher resolutions and frame retes
• Fast z-clear
• Support for normal map compression
• New transparent supersampling and transparent multisampling antialiasing modes. 
NVIDIA SLI Technology
  • Patented hardware and software technology allows two GPUs to run in parallel to scale performance
• Scales performance on over 60 top PC games and applications
• Support for NVIDIA nView multi-display for scalable performance across two displays.

NVIDIA UltraShadow II Technology
  • Designed to enhance the performance of shadow-intensive games,like id Software's Doom 3 

NVIDIA PureVideo Technology
  • Patented hardware and software technology allows two GPUs to run in parallel to scale performance
• Three dedicated video engines
• MPEG-2 HD and WMV HD video playback up to 1920 X1080p resolution
• H 264 hardware decode acceleration
• Decryption supported for all standard HD Video formats-AES-128 CTR mode,AES-128 CBC mode,and AES-128 ECB mode.
• Industry's most advanced video algorithms
• Overlay color temperature correction
• Microsoft Video Mixing Renderer (VMR) support for multiple video windows with full video quality and features in each window
• Integrated HDTV output.
Advanced Display Functionality
  • Dual integrated 400MHz RAMDACs for display resolutions up to and including 2048 X 1536 at 85 Hz
• Dual MIO ports for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters and external TV encoders
• Full NVIDIA nView multi-display technology capability
Advanced Engineering 
  • Designed for PCI Express X16
• Designed for high-speed GDDR3 and GDDR4 memory
• Cooling as low as 24 dB delivered by adcanced thermal managemenet and thermal monitoring
NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control (DVC) 3.0 Technology
  • DVC color controls
• DVC image sharpening controls
API Support
  • Complete DirectX support,including the latest version of Microsoft DirectX 10.0 Shader Model 3.0
• Full OpenGL support,including OpenGL 2.0
  • Graphics Bus Technology: PCI Express 
• Memory: 256MB 
• Memory Interface: 128-bit 
• Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec): 25.6 
• Fill Rate (Billion pixels/sec): 8.6 
• RAMDACs (MHz): 400

The MSI NX8600GT T2D256E is a major step up from the NX8500GT TD256E, adding an overclocked GeForce 8600GT GPU to the mix as well as 256MB of GDDR3 memory.  The GPU is clocked 40MHz higher than the reference design, running at 580MHz while the memory runs 200MHz higher at 1.6GHz (DDR).  This gives the NX8600GT T2D256E a peak fill rate of 8.6 Billion pixels/s and a memory bandwidth of 25.6GB/s, both of which are a significant increase compared to the 8500GT.

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This model is a Dual-Link DVI solution that utilizes adapters to convert to VGA if needed.  The card also sports TV-Out functionality for HDTV and Analog connections.  The cooler is not beefy, but it does cover the RAM as well as the GPU, unlike the cooler provided on the NX8500GT TD256E.  This model also supports DirectX 10 and SLI, for those looking to tag team two 8600GTs for added performance.

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