PNY GeForce 8500GT 512MB Review

Mussicho - 2007-08-21 12:55:48 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
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.

Closer Look:

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.



Key Features:


GeForce 8500 GT Features & Benefits:


Testing Setup:

Gaming Benchmarks:


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.





Benchmark: F.E.A.R.:

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.








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.










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.









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.









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.









Benchmark: 3D Mark 06:

For the time being, default settings will be used while benchmarking 3D Mark 06 Professional.









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.