PNY GeForce 8500GT 512MB Review
Reviewed by: Mussicho
Reviewed on: October 8, 2007
: GF City Computers
Price: 149.99 US
Up for review this time around will be PNY's GeForce 8 Series graphics card, the 8500GT 512MB PCIe. This graphics card is new to the PNY GeForce 8 series line up and is ranked by PNY second from the bottom out of 10 GeForce 8 cards. PNY has defined its GeForce 8 Series graphics cards as designed in mind for the performance enthusiast. So, with that in mind, when the 8500GT was pulled from its packaging, the card itself was not unique and looked pretty plain. Expectations were more.
PNY Technologies is an American computer hardware company that was established in 1985 and is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey. PNY maintains offices and manufacturing facilities in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Taiwan. Aside from PNY's Nvidia Graphics Cards lineup, PNY also manufactures USB flash drives, memory upgrades, flash memory cards, and the Vibe MP3 player.
Finally, the 8500GT 512MB PCIe can be bought from PNY's webstore for $149.99. Now, let's see if this thing was actually designed for the performance enthusiast or for Grandma and Grandpa playing online checkers.
Right off the bat, my first impressions were low with the outside packaging. Now, I've said earlier that one should never judge a book by its cover; that's still true. However, that doesn't change the fact this box is awful. The box graphics are not eye catching and what was most irritating was the size of the box; it's tiny. Is there actually a performance enthusiast graphics card inside that or what?
As you can see, the box is mainly black and green, which are NVIDIA's colors. There is a small band through the middle of the front cover, showing the eyes of some alien or robot. On the backside, it sets out all the features that one can expect. However, the consumer does not get to see what the graphics card looks like. The box is small, which led me to believe that the inside protection was just as inadequate, and was I right. All the contents came inside a small plastic container which was sealed in thin film plastic. The card was not sufficiently protected.
From these photos, you can see for yourself. Look at that lovely graphics card. Notice no anti-static wrap? Yikes, what's up with that? Aside from that, the next photo shows what's included:
As you can see, nothing special about this graphics card.
The PNY 8500GT 512MB PCIe utilizes a PCI Express slot. It has one DVI output, one VGA output, and one S-video connection. It is small so you will only have to open the one expansion slot for the PCI-E slot in case you haven't done so. The PNY 8500GT 512MB PCIe also requires a minimum 300W power supply. However, no external power source is required.
Now, you should have a pretty good feel as to what the PNY 8500GT 512MB PCIe looks like, so let's install it.
As with any graphics card installation, no special tools are required. Depending on your case, the only tool you may need is a Phillips screw driver. If your case utilizes tool-less technology, then obviously you won't need any tools. Personally, I always secure add ons with screws, as this ensures a solid connection. The first thing you will want to do is unplug your computer from your surge protector or duplex wall plug. After that, pull off the case side, disconnect the external power cord (if it has one) from the old graphics card, and pull it out of its slot. Next, you will want to find the PCI-E slot and plug the PNY 8500GT 512MB PCIe into it. Carefully snap it into place and secure it in. Don't worry about plugging the external power into the PNY 8500GT 512MB PCIe; it doesn't have this feature. Replace the case side and then connect your monitor to the DVI or VGA outlet at the back of your case.
So now that the PNY 8500GT 512MB PCIe is firmly in place, it's time to install the software.
Installing the drivers is easy. Turn your computer on and place the VGA Driver CD that came with the graphics card into the CD-ROM drive. After a few seconds, the main menu appears and simply follow the on-screen instructions.
Click on "Install Drivers" and the next screen you will see is the Windows XP Drivers Notice - click "Install Windows XP Drivers". The next screen will ask you to choose 32-bit or 64-bit. Choose the one you have. Don't worry about the next screen you see. What it's saying is that Windows XP is not sure if it is compatible with the operating system (it is). Click "Continue Anyway" and your computer will now chug along doing its thing and then will finally ask you to restart, so go ahead and do so (don't forget to go to PNY's website and download the latest drivers).
Once your computer restarts, go into "Start" and click on "Control Panel". You will see the NVIDIA Control Panel. Choose this, then select the standard option and click "OK". The next screen you will see is NVIDIA advising you of your monitor's recommended resolution. In this case, click "Yes" for now and the resolution adjusts. You can later go back in and change your resolution to your liking. NVIDIA will then display another screen of choices where you can adjust the settings. Close this screen. Again, you can go into this at a later time and play with the settings.
Now, for those so inclined, if you go back to the drive with your PNY installation disk, you can install DirectX 9. Most should have this by now so this topic won't be discussed. However, you will see a bonus software feature. It is recommended you choose this. Why you ask? Because you will find an NVIDIA Demo called "Luna and the Ocular Oracle". It has this Asian princess that takes you through many caverns of the "collective subconscious." The demo features PixelShaders 3.0, Translucence, Displacement Mapping , and Real-Time Hair. You can play with these settings to your desired likings. A step by step installation won't be done, but it's basically the same as before. Check out these screen shots.
Alright, so now that the PNY 8500GT is installed, let's take a look at its specifications and features.
- 8500GT 512MB
- BUS Technology PCI Express
- Memory Amount 512 MB DDR2
- Memory Interface 128-bit
- Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec.) 12.8
- Fill Rate (billion pixels/sec.) 3.6
- Stream Processors 32
- Shader Clock (MHz) 900 MHz
- Core Clock (MHz) 450 MHz
- Memory Frequency (effective) 800 MHz
- NVIDIA® unified architecture with GigaThread™ technology
- Full Microsoft® DirectX® 10 Shader Model 4.0 support
- NVIDIA SLI™-Ready
- 16x full-screen anti-aliasing
- True 128-bit floating point high dynamic-range (HDR) lighting
- NVIDIA Quantum Effects™ physics processing technology
- Single dual-link DVI output supports 2560x1600 resolution displays
- NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD technology 1
- HDCP Capable2
- PCI Express® support
- OpenGL® 2.0 support
- NVIDIA® ForceWare® Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
- Built for Microsoft® Windows Vista™
- Outputs: DVI+VGA+HDTV/S-Video
- 1 - Supported video software is required to experience certain features. Go to www.nvidia.com
- 2 – Requires other HDCP-compatible components
- Minimum System Requirements:
- Intel® or AMD® compatible motherboard
- At least 512MB system RAM
- A minimum 300W system power supply
- A PCI Express® compliant motherboard
- 50MB of available hard disk space
- CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
- Microsoft® Windows® 2000, XP
- VGA or DVI-I compatible monitor
- Included in the box:
- 8500 GT 512MB PCIE graphics card
- Quick Installation Guide
- 1 DVI-to-VGA Adapter
- S-Video Cable
- HDTV Break-out Pod
- CD which includes:
- Detailed Installation Guide (PDF File)
- NVIDIA Forceware Drivers
- Microsoft DirectX 9.0c
- NVIDIA GeForce Demos
- PNY and NVIDIA Desktop Wallpapers
GeForce 8500 GT Features & Benefits:
- 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™ Technology1: 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 technology dramatically scales performance on today’s hottest games.
- 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. (UDA)
- 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 2: 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 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 Capable3: 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 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, 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 cadence. PureVideo 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 or display type.
- 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 depending on connection type and TV capability.
- Noise Reduction: Improves movie image quality by removing unwanted artifacts.
- Edge Enhancement: Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and objects.
- 1 - NVIDIA SLI certified versions of GeForce PCI Express GPUs only.
- 2 - Feature requires supported video software. Features may vary by product.
- 3 - Requires other HDCP-compatible components.
- Warranty and Service - One year (plus an additional 2 years upon completion of a registration form on PNY's website)
- The latest up-to-date drivers at www.pny.com/support
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6600 CPU
- Asus P5B motherboard
- 2 x 1GB Mushkin XP2-9200 ram
- PNY 8500GT (nVidia)
- ASUS EN8600GTS Silent (nVidia)
- Sapphire HD2400XT (ATi)
- Sapphire HD2600XT (ATi)
- Foxconn 8600GTS (nvidia)
- Mushkin Enhanced 650w PSU
- Samsung SyncMaster 245BW Monitor
- Windows XP Pro SP2
- DirectX 9.0c
- All Video Drivers are the most up-to-date at time of benchmarks
- Far Cry: Hardware OC (Ubisoft Volcano)
- F.E.A.R. (Performance test)
- Call of Duty 2: Stalingrad (FRAPS)
- Quake 4: Hardware OC
- Need For Speed Most Wanted (FRAPS)
- Microsoft Flight Simulator X
Benchmark: Far Cry:
Far Cry is a first-person shooter computer game developed by Crytek Studios from Germany and was published by Ubisoft on March 23, 2004 for Windows. Far Cry sold 730,000 units within four months of release.
- Maximum quality option, Direct3D renderer
- Level: Volcano, demo: Volcano.tmd
- Pixel shader: model 2.0b
- Antialising: 4×
- Anisotropic filtering: 8×
- HDR: disabled
- Geometry Instancing: disabled
- Normal-maps compression: disabled
F.E.A.R. First Encounter Assault Recon is a first-person shooter developed by Monolith Productions and published by Vivendi. It was released for Windows on October 18, 2005.
- FSAA: 4x
- Anisotropic: 16x
- Effects: Max
- Computer: High
- Soft Shadow: Off
Benchmark: Call of Duty 2:
Call of Duty 2 is a first-person shooter and is the sequel to the critically acclaimed game, Call of Duty, both developed by Infinity Ward. Call of Duty 2 was released by Activision on October 25, 2005, for Windows.
- Anti-aliasing: 4x
- Texture Filter: Trilinear
Benchmark: Quake 4:
Quake 4 is the fourth title in the series of Quake FPS computer games. It was developed by Raven Software and distributed by Activision. Quake 4 was released October 18, 2005, for the PC.
- Demo: Hardware OC
- Quality: High
- Aspect Ratio: [4:3]
- Antialiasing: 4x
- Anisotropic filtering: 4x
- Symmetric MultiProcessing (SMP) enabled
Benchmark: NFS Most Wanted:
Need for Speed Most Wanted is a multi-platform racing game, developed by EA Black Box and first released by Electronic Arts in the U.S.A. on November 15, 2005.
- Track: Diamond and Union
- All basic video settings set to ¾ on scroll bar
- All geometric features: High
- Vsync: Off
Benchmark: Microsoft FSX:
Microsoft Flight Simulator X, also known as FSX, is the latest version of Microsoft's Flight Simulator, after Flight Simulator 2004. It was officially released in the U.S.A. on October 17, 2006.
I will be flying the same flight path throughout all the resolutions, from the same airport, and under the same conditions to keep the benchmarking consistent.
- Target Frame rate to unlimited
- Anisotropic filtering
- All other settings to Medium high
Benchmark: 3D Mark 06:
For the time being, default settings will be used while benchmarking 3D Mark 06 Professional.
- SM2.0 Graphics Tests: GT1- Return to Proxycon, GT2- Firefly Forest
- CPU Tests: CPU1- Red Valley, CPU2- Red Valley
- HDR/SM3.0 Graphics Tests: HDR1- Canyon Flight, HDR2- Deep Freeze
Objectivity. Webster's online dictionary defines it as "judgment based on observable phenomena and uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices." Subjectivity is defined as "judgment based on individual personal impressions and feelings and opinions rather than external facts."
It's hard to be objective when reviewing graphics cards or any computer part for that matter. Sure, the hardware that is tested is done so with objectivity in mind. Set parameters are used and are consistent, which provides objective real data; the numbers don't lie. But everyone has a particular brand they like and/or one they dislike. Some may like PNY, some may not. Personally, I don't like PNY products. I find its products are cheap looking and appeal to those who want cheap rather than quality. Of course, this is just my opinion and is subjective; to each his own. I wonder how the PNY 8800 Ultra Overclocked 768MB PCIe would rate against the competition? Until OCC reviews one, we won't know.
Right from the beginning, the packaging on the PNY 8500GT looked dreadful. When opened, the protection was even worse, or rather the lack thereof. The card also looked cheaply built and flimsy, despite the fact it is a GeForce 8 Series performance enthusiast card. Furthermore, PNY has it listed at a lofty $149.99 on their webstore; that's too much. Of course it can be found for cheaper, but there are other products out there in this price range with better performance; one only has to look through the reviews on this website.
In all fairness, the PNY 8500GT is obviously better than onboard video. If you take graphics and gaming seriously, then this is not the graphics card for you. However, it is adequate for older, less graphically-demanding games and/or basic computing. Nevertheless, I should note that while benchmarking Rydermark, I tried benching the 8500GT with multiple resolutions (many times) and everytime it crashed. If you take your gaming even half seriously, then stay away from this one.
- DirectX 10 support
- Low power consumption
- Expensive for the performance you get
- Cheaply built
- Poor packaging/protection