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12-Way NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB Shootout

By Vincent Chang - 8 May 2007

Sparkle, XFX and XpertVision

Sparkle GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB

We haven't seen much of Sparkle in the past but they have graced us with a dazzling white package for its GeForce 8600 GTS. Despite its ordinary and standard exterior, this card comes overclocked with a very competitive core clock of 729MHz and a memory frequency of 2214MHz DDR. The included accessories are more than adequate but the lack of any applications or games makes it a very lean package that may appeal to some consumers. Or it could turn some off some prospective buyers looking for a more wholesome package.

Clad in all white is Sparkle's GeForce 8600 GTS.

Sparkle is the next vendor to join the overclocking club with its GeForce 8600 GTS.

The bundled item list for Sparkle is as follows:-

  • 1 x DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • 6-pin PCIe Molex power connector
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Component dongle
  • S-Video extension cable
  • Driver CD
  • User Manual

XFX GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB XXX Edition

Most of us are familiar with XFX's many editions of a particular graphics chipset, with clock speeds that vary from mildly to extremely overclocked. The XXX Edition is not too be sneered at since the core is at 730MHz and suitably complemented by memory operating at 2260MHz DDR. It is fast and XFX knows it, since it has paired the card with a popular and fairly recent first person shooter like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, the better to showcase the card's graphical prowess. The other accessories in the package are also useful though it does seem to lack the Component cable dongle commonly bundled with graphics cards .

The distinctive XFX packaging is not the easiest to unpack but we have to admit it makes quite the impression.

XFX's GeForce 8600 GTS XXX Edition is predictably overclocked.

The accessories that accompany the XFX graphics card are as follows:-

  • 2 x DVI-to-VGA adaptors
  • S-Video extension cable
  • 6-pin PCIe Molex power connector
  • User manual
  • Driver CD
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (full game)

XpertVision GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB

Given its past record of delivering value for money products that are both price and performance competitive, we expected more of the same with XpertVision's latest GeForce 8600 GTS. It turned out not to be the case, since the variant we received is the company's normal GeForce 8600 GTS and not the Sonic and overclocked version. Hence, the clock speeds on this XpertVision are the standard 675/2000MHz that you will find on most stock GeForce 8600 GTS cards. XpertVision did make quite a few changes to its card, with a custom two-slot cooler and a redesigned board layout. There are no surprises when it came to the included accessories and the single SpellForce 2 game should provide some entertainment for users.

XpertVision has its own custom cooler for its GeForce 8600 GTS.

XpertVision's 'golden orb' of a cooler takes up an extra slot.

XpertVision has also tweaked the board layout to its own design.

The full list of included accessories is as follows:-

  • 1 x DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • 6-pin PCIe Molex power connector
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Component/Composite dongle
  • Quick installation guide
  • Driver CD
  • SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars (full game)