The graphic card market is one of the fiercest in the computer industry. AMD, formally known as ATI, and nVidia both pour millions into developing a core to try and top the other. Being just a little bit better could mean the difference between a market killer and going back to the drawing board. Read on for a full review of the MSI NX8600 GT, which is supported by nVidia’s 8600 core.
MSI NX8600 GT
Today we have the opportunity to review the MSI NX8600 GT. The video card market is divided into three segments. First is the high end, your top of the line cards, the ones pushing the limits of games and the limits of your pockets. Next are the mid-range cards. These are for the majority of the market. This is where most of the money is made. Lastly we have the low end cards. These are used as either integrated cards or cheap cards for situations where stress on graphic cards is a minimum. This generation had some complex programming for the new Direct X 10. The engineers not only had to program and develop a core for DX10, but also had to make it work well with DX 9.
Inside this attractive box we find the DVI to analog converter, an S-Video cable, component converter cable, documentation, and of course, the card itself. This didn't come with any games. Games are a nice perk, but not including them does cut the cost.
nVidia's top of the line GPU, the 8800 series has 128 stream processors. You would think that the next level would have half that, 64 stream processors. Unfortunately, divide that in half again and you get 32, which is what the 8600 GPU has in it.
Direct X 10
Direct X 10 is a big step forward. Previously, video cards had vertex and pixel pipelines for rendering the game. This would make the pipeline that isn't being fully worked, do nothing, while another may be backlogged with work. Direct X 10 was made to prevent this by unifying this process.
One of the biggest news items with Direct X 10 is that it is exclusively for the Microsoft Vista operating system, with no plans to make it compatible with XP. Since DX 10 is such a big change, earlier games based on DX 9 wouldn't play nice with DX10. Built-in APIs will help deal with previously-made games. We will take a look at a DX10 game to see how this first generation DX10 card can do. For this reason this entire review will be done in Vista.
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