XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty Review

Propane - 2007-09-18 20:04:42 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: Propane   
Reviewed on: December 13, 2007
Price: $159.99


Video cards are getting faster and more powerful every time you turn around, and while it is great to have the greatest and best, not everyone wants to spend upwards of five hundred dollars to buy the ultimate in performance. Many people would rather sacrifice a portion of that performance for a significantly cut price. Video card manufactures are keen to this and have always produced cards that are slightly less powerful than their flagship brethren. For nVidia, the 8600 series is this card.

The XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty card aims to provide an amazing experience, complete with Direct X 10 (if you are running Vista), at a lower price than the full blown 8800 series. Carrying the name of arguably the most famous professional gamer, Fatal1ty, The XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty does not leave much out, packing many similar features as the higher class cards, such as PureVideo HD, HDCP capability, and full 128-bit HDR. Other 8600 GT cards have done well in the past with our benchmarks, so lets see how the 8600 GT Fatal1ty stacks up!


Closer Look:

The packaging that the XFX 8600GT Fatal1ty comes in has an outer cardboard shell with some graphics, the XFX logo and a list of specifications. This outer shell also has a picture of Johnathan Wendel, bettter know by his gamer tag, Fatal1ty, putting a face with the name on the box.










On the inside, a more sturdy cardboard box is found that displays the XFX logo with class. This box folds open and reveals the XFX 8600Gt Fatal1ty packaged safely within a pad of Styrofoam.


Closer Look:

The XFX 8600GT Fatal1ty comes in a protective static reducing bag to lower the chances your card is DOA. The card itself has an interesting and unique heatsink design. The heatsink has several heatpipes which extend the heatsink to the opposite side of the card. There is also a small red insignia on the main heatsink. No fans are used, so additional noise will be added to your system, except for the noise from the games you are playing.








As you can see, the card is PCI Express x16 and has the SLI connector. Also, two DVI ports and an HD/SD Television out are present on the back of the card.



The card also has some bundled goodies. Included are the standard DVI to VGA converter in case you run an older monitor, an S-Video cable for a SD TV, the driver disc, the game "Company of Heroes", and a list of instructions incase you are not familiar with the installation process.



Installation of the XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty is very simple and exactly like installing any other PCI Express card. It warrants mention that you should make sure that you have a PCI Express motherboard with a PCI Express x16 slot. If you don't, then this card isn't for you. Otherwise, all that is required is to uninstall your current video card in Windows (if you use Windows), turn off your computer, pull your old card out, and pop the new one in. Another benefit to using the 8600, as opposed to the 8800, is that it only requires one slot be free for cooling. This means that you can still retain functionality in all other expansion slots on your motherboard. When you start your computer up for the first time with the new card, you will probably notice that your graphics are hindered. You will need to install drivers, either those included on the included disc, or drivers downloaded from nvidia.com. Downloading the drivers will give you better results with your games, as those drivers are more up to date, so it is recommended.



Configuring the XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty is no different than configuring other recent XFX video cards, so I will use the same screens as I did with the last reviews. Included with the video card is a driver disk, which contains not only the nVidia drivers for the video card, but other interesting software as well. After it is placed in your CD-ROM drive, the XFX driver disk will auto run, and once accessed, you will find all the available options. 



The first option on the disk is registration.  By registering the video card, you will be able to take advantage of XFX’s “Double Lifetime Warranty”, covering not only you for the lifetime of the video card, but also if you happen to sell it at any point, the person who buys it from you will also be covered (Details).



The next step is to install the video drivers. The drivers included are Windows Drivers, Directx 9c and TV Capture.



Once the video drivers are installed, you will have the option to install the included bundled software, trial games and Personal Cinema. If you are thinking about overclocking your XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty, an overclocking tool is included in the bundled software.



There are three trial games that are offered.



The Personal Cinema drivers allow you to turn your PC into a media center.





Clock rate
620 MHz

Dual Link DVI - Supporting digital output up to 2560x1600

Memory Clock
1.7 GHz
Shader Clock
1355 MHz
GeForce 8600 GT
256 MB
Bus Type
Memory Type
Highlighted Features

Dual DVI Out , Vista , TV Out , HDTV ready , SLI ready

Memory Interface
128 bit
Memory Bandwidth
22.4 GB/Sec
Fill Rate
8.6 billion/sec
GeForce™ 8600 GT
Stream Processors
Shader Clock
540 MHz
400 MHz




Testing Setup:


Gaming Benchmarks:


Benchmark: Far Cry

As I have in the past, I will begin with Far Cry. Although it is an older game, it is still a very popular benchmark, and I always like to see what results any video card will bring.







Benchmark: F.E.A.R.

F.E.A.R. is a newer first-person shooter that includes its own benchmarking utility. We will be using this test to benchmark the game. This game introduces a new AI model that emulates real squad behavior. It has the ability to counteract the moves you make rather than having a predictable routine.













Benchmark: BioShock

BioShock is one of the newest games on the market. It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This first-person shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to them, to provide a unique experience each time it is played.














The XFX 8600 GTS was not included in this testing as this game was not implemented at the time of the review.


Benchmark: Call of Duty 2

Call of Duty 2, the second installment in the Call of Duty series, is an intense, action-packed WWII thriller, where you can fight on all battlefronts of the European Theater.














Benchmark: Quake 4

Quake 4 is a popular first person shooter, and has been around for quite sometime. Soon the newest Quake will be released (Enemy Territory: Quake Wars), and once again our benchmarks might be slated for a change.















Benchmark:  Need for Speed:  Most Wanted

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is next. For this test, we will time each race and record the average FPS (frames per second) achieved.


The settings we will use are listed below.










Benchmark: 3d Mark 06

When it comes to measuring performance one of the benchmarks that sets the standard for performance is 3Dmark06. Everyone wants to know what it scores and base their opinion on the card based on the results. This benchmark consists of intensive graphics tests, a cpu test, as well as Shader Model 2.0 and HDR/3.0 testing. 













Through the extensive testing of the XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty, one thing remains clear: this card can hold its own in its class.  It is not the best card out there, however, but this can be expected as the 8600 series of cards is a mid-level card designed by nVidia. The Fatal1ty does very well in the GT class, but begins to pale in comparision to the GTS and 8800 series cards.  This card defiantly warrants a look, especially if you own a lower resolution monitor (1024x768 or 1280x1024) and are looking to get the chance to see some of the DirectX 10 goodies. As the resolutions are ramped up, however, this card could reach an unplayable framerate with the newer games on their high quality settings. Also, with PureVideo HD onboard, this card will help out the MPEG video decoding process if your aim is to make a future proof (because of HDCP) HD HTPC.

Another nice feature of the XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty is its passive cooling solution. This allows for no additional noise to be added to the system and for your games to be heard more clearly. The unique design also allows the video card to only take up one expansion slot in your case and motherboard, which is another added bonus.

All in all, this card preformed well for what it was supposed to do.  The install is no more difficult than any other PCI-E video card, and it pumps out some very nice results.  The XFX 8600 GT Fatal1ty is defiantly worth a look in your next build.