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Published May 21, 2007
Specification-wise the 8600 GT and 7600 GT are very alike, as both run GDDR3 memory at 1.4GHz, developing a memory bandwidth of 22.4GB/s. The 7600 GT core is actually clocked 20MHz higher than that of the new 8600 GT, as it comes clocked at just 540MHz. Furthermore both graphics cards come loaded with 256MB of memory on a 128-bit bus. That’s right, the new and “improved” 8600 GT features a 128-bit memory bus which will certainly limit the card abilities.
The GeForce 8600 GTS on the other hand still uses the same 128-bit memory bus though it does produce a memory bandwidth of 32.0GB/s thanks to the heavily clocked GDDR3 memory. Now the memory is working at 2GHz with a core frequency of 675MHz, which is amazing. However, the most important improvements focus on the pipeline structure of the GeForce 8600GT.
The GeForce 6600GT consisted of 3 vertex shaders, 8 texture/fragment shader pipelines, and 4 ROPs. The 7600GT featured 5 vertex shader units, 12 texture/fragment shader pipelines, and 8 ROPs. The GeForce 8 series brings a shift in GPU functionality and capability, moving away from the traditional pixel and vertex shaders we had got familiar with. We now have a collection of floating point processors, also called Stream Processor Units (SPUs). The 8800 GTX utilized 128 SPUs clocked at 1.35GHz. Then we have TAUs (Texture Address Units) of which the 8800 GTX features 32, along with 24 ROPs (Rasterization Operator Units).
The 8600 GT on the other hand features just 32 SPUs which operate at 1.18GHz. This is then backed up by 16 TAUs and 8 ROPs. Theoretically this means the 8600 GT has roughly four times less processing power than the 8800 GTX. The 8600 GTS features exactly the same setup, so the only advantage it has over the 8600 GT is the frequency at which the stream processor units work at (1450MHz).
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