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MSI NX8600GTS graphics card

Surname T2D256E-HD-OC, in case you were wondering

MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC graphics card

Review Nvidia stole a march on ATi when it launched the DirectX 10 GeForce 8800 GTS and GTX chips back in October 2006. Even though the G80/8800 was a powerhouse of a chip we wondered who exactly would spend the thick end of £400 on a single graphics card or £800 on a pair of the things in SLI.

MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC graphics card

While the performance of 8800 was little short of epic, what we really wanted to see were the mid-range versions of the 8800 that Nvidia would inevitably release in time. And now, finally, that time has arrived and Nvidia has launched the 8600GTS, 8600GT, and 8500GT with the promise of an 8300GT some time in the future.

We're looking at the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-HD-OC, which is a pre-overclocked 8600GTS, however, the overclock is quite modest. More to the point, we have yet to see a regular 8600GTS - and judging by the phone calls we've received over the past few days, there seem to be plenty of these faster GTS models doing the rounds.

The MSI is a double slot card with a bulky cooler that uses a heatpipe to move heat to a finned cooler that is positioned between the heatsink and the bracket. The fan blows cooling air through a duct and across the cooler, but unusually the hot air isn't expelled directly out through the bracket as there is a 25mm gap between the finned heat exchanger and the vented bracket.

Although this arrangement keeps the 8600GT chip cool, it is rather noisy and is more reminiscent of a rackety Radeon X850 than a sophisticated GeForce 7800GTX.

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