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XFX GeForce 8600 GT 620M XXX Edition

Nvidia unveiled its GeForce 8600 family back in the middle of April and in typical fashion, the graphics chip designer’s add-in board partners announced a slew of pre-overclocked GeForce 8600-series products. One company that has a reputation for offering some of the fastest factory overclocked Nvidia graphics cards is XFX, and today we have a look at the company’s second-fastest GeForce 8600 GT – the XFX GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition.

Despite the card’s name, there’s no chance of pornographic content appearing on these pages. Well, there might be some graphics porn, but there aren’t going to be any scantily-clad women unfortunately – I’m sorry to disappoint on that front.

We’ve spent some time with the card and, in order to assess the card’s performance, we have run it through our battery of game tests at three different resolutions. Without further ado, let’s find out how XFX’s ‘pornographic’ GeForce 8600 GT got on.

XFX GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition

Manufacturer: XFX
Core Clock: 620MHz
Shader Clock: 1355MHz
Memory Clock: 1600MHz
Warranty: Two years (parts and labour) in Europe, “Double Lifetime” in North America

UK Price (as reviewed): £93.00 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $139.99 (Ex. Tax)

XFX’s GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition shares the same artwork theme as the company’s other GeForce 8-series graphics cards – examples we’ve looked at include the GeForce 8800 GTX XXX and GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB XXX, for reference purposes – although this time the company has used the hog's dog tags on the heatsink cover. The card itself comes clocked at 620MHz core, 1355MHz on the shader and is rounded off with 256MB of GDDR3 running at 1600MHz (effective) – these clocks are up from 540MHz, 1190MHz and 1400MHz respectively.

It follows Nvidia’s reference design fairly closely, including the cooling solution, although XFX has opted to dye the card’s PCB matt black – this looks, quite frankly, awesome. Being the reference cooler, it’s a single slot solution that looks quite similar to the reference cooler that Nvidia used on the GeForce 6600 GT – damn, what a great card that was! (nostalgia alert – Ed.)

XFX GeForce 8600 GT 620M XXX Edition XFX GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition XFX GeForce 8600 GT 620M XXX Edition XFX GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition
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Being a member of the GeForce 8600 family, XFX’s GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition is based on Nvidia’s G84 graphics chip, which is quite a heavily cut-down version of the flagship G80 graphics processing unit. In terms of shader horsepower, G84 features 32 stream processors, which are arranged in two clusters of 16, this compares to the 128 stream processors arranged into eight clusters of 16 in G80.

Each of these shader clusters has eight texture address units (double what G80 has on a per-cluster basis) and eight texture filtering units (the same as G80). G84’s ROP partitions share the same functionality of those in G80, but there are fewer of them – two compared to six – and as a result of this, the memory bus width has also been cut because each ROP partition has its own 64-bit memory channel.

XFX GeForce 8600 GT 620M XXX Edition XFX GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition XFX GeForce 8600 GT 620M XXX Edition XFX GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition
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Taking a standard GeForce 8800 Ultra and comparing it to XFX’s example GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition that we’re reviewing here and, after a couple of quick sums, the chip has around one third of the pixel filling power, around one fifth of the compute power and a quarter of the available memory bandwidth. To be fair, G84 is a bit less than what most of us were hoping for, but let’s not get too into that side of things for now.

Most Nvidia board partners have opted for Samsung DRAM chips on their GeForce 8600 GT cards, but interestingly XFX has equipped its GeForce 8600 GT XXX Edition with Qimonda GDDR3 memory chips rated to 1.4ns or 714MHz (1428MHz effective). Considering the DRAMs are clocked at 1600MHz (effective) and are therefore overclocked by default, we’re not expecting great things from the memory when it comes to overclocking – we’ll find out more on that front later.