Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: Thanks to its factory overclock, the XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty outperforms the standard 8600 GT by a considerable margin. The only benchmark that the 8600 GT Fatal1ty didn't really dominate the standard 8600 GT was the Company of Heroes test at 1600x1200. We were actually hoping (but not necessarily expecting) the 8600 GT Fatal1ty to hang with the 7950 GT and X1950 Pro a little more closely, but the smaller memory bandwidth held the 8600 GT Fatal1ty back. Regardless, you can definitely color us impressed in regards to the 8600 GT Fatal1t's performance.
It seems that every time new NVIDIA GPU-based graphics cards are introduced, XFX does something special with them. XFX is definitely known as a company to check on if you want a warrantied, factory overclocked video card. Many of the companies that offer overclocked cards only offer one option, but XFX often has several overclocked options for each type of card. In the case of the company's 8600 GT Fatal1y, we think XFX did a great job. Not only is it silent, thanks to its passive cooling, but it also has a great factory overclock (a rare and welcome combination). What's more, the cooler was good enough to provide excellent overclocking headroom with our sample.
While the design of the card is quite effective at delivering excellent performance, it also potentially poses a problem for some lower profile cases, such as an HTPC case. As we mentioned before, you should make sure the extra height added to the card by the cooler isn't a problem for your case before you buy it. Although the design may be a concern for a small group of potential users, the bundle should make everyone happy. Overall, it's a simple bundle, but XFX made the great decision to include the highly-rated Company of Heroes game.
The biggest downside to this card is probably its price (around $160). It is one of the most expensive 8600 GTs currently available, but if you want top mid-range performance, DirectX 10 support, and silence, it will most likely be worth the money to you. If you don't care at all about DirectX 10 support at this time and don't think you will any time soon, then it may be worth your time to research last generation's high-end cards before you buy.
• Excellent mid-range performance
• SLI support
• Solid factory overclock
• Silent, passive cooling
• DirectX 10 support
• Good game included
• Cooler adds extra height to card
• One of the most expensive 8600 GTs on the market