NVIDIA's GeForce 8 Series of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) have been a huge success in the graphics card market ever since they debuted last November. Just ask any gamer what video card they have or dream of having and sure enough, most gamers will say they want an 8-series card, a high-end model of course. But in reality, there are still many gamers rocking out the GeForce 6 and GeForce 7.
These gamers either don't bother to upgrade or they just don't have the dough to shell out for a newer graphics card. If you happen to fall into the second category, I feel for you, but guess what? I was in the same boat! The good news is that there is hope for those with smaller wallets.
MSI NX8600GT Twin Turbo
Today we are going to take a glance at MSI's latest addition to their GeForce 8600 GT based graphics cards lineup, dubbed the NX8600GT Twin Turbo. This is MSI's third version of the GeForce 8600 GT and they have made some improvements over the last two models. Maybe by the sound of things, the Twin Turbo will make you think that this card is a beastly 8600 GT or that it will be superclocked straight out of the factory. The truth is the Twin Turbo makes this 8600 GT quite unique.
Compared to the reference specs of the GeForce 8600 GT, MSI's NX8600GT Twin Turbo (TT) has higher core, shader, and memory clocks. The NX8600GT TT includes full DirectX 10, Shader Model 4.0 and True High Dynamic Range (HDR) Lighting support. Let's first take a look at the graphics card, take it for a spin, and then compare its performance with its predecessor, the GeForce 7600 GT.
Here is the packaging for the retail box.
Included with the MSI NX8600GT TT, you get the following accessories: 1 S-Video to Component Cable, 1 S-Video to S-Video Cable, 1 DVI to VGA adaptor, 2 Quick User Guides and 1 MSI Utility Software CD. Included on the software CD are NVIDIA drivers (162.18), DualCoreCenter, MSI Live!, MSI LiveUpdate 3, MSI SecureDoc, MSI GoodMEM, MSI LockBox and MSI WMI Info. There are a few other shareware programs as well.
Retail Box Goodies
What about the size of the graphics card? Here is a shot of the EVGA GeForce 7600 GT sitting next to the MSI NX8600GT TT. Obviously, the NX8600GT TT has a larger cooling solution; large enough to make it a dual-slot card. The temperature differences between these two cards are near nothing. The GeForce 7600 GT came in at 40°C at full load while the NX8600GT TT came in at 43°C at the same full load.
MSI NX8600GT TT vs GeForce 7600 GT
Just taking a quick look at the graphics card, you can easily tell that the NX8600GT TT does not require a PCI-Express 6-pin connector. Remember that this is a dual-slot card, meaning that the cooling solution provided is something you would expect on a higher-end model. There are two DVI outputs on the back (VGA adaptor included) and of course what makes this card oh so unique: The Twin Turbo Button.
MSI NX8600GT Twin Turbo
This is a new hardware feature that easily overclocks the graphics card with a single push of a button. The graphics card has two vBIOS chips onboard so you basically switch between the two using the Twin Turbo button. When the user has shut off their PC, they can push in the Twin Turbo button and turn their PC back on. The button glows red to let you know that it's enabled. Here are the clock speeds when the Twin Turbo feature is enabled and disabled.
Twin Turbo Clock Speeds
The left side shows the MSI NX8600GT TT at default speeds, aka Twin Turbo Off, and on the right side is Twin Turbo On. The Twin Turbo overclock obviously isn't extremely higher than default stock speeds, but we'll let the benchmark results speak for themselves.