In the test 15 years ago: Sparkle's Caliber GeForce 8600 GT ran far from the norm


With the Sparkle Caliber GeForce 8600 GT (test), a graphics card was far from the norm in the test 15 years ago, which no longer had much in common with the reference design. Not all changes made by the manufacturer turned out for the better.

Table of Contents

  1. 1 More memory, own cooler and LED display
  2. Fast and loud
  3. Conclusion

More memory, own cooler and LED display

The Sparkle Caliber GeForce 8600 GT was factory overclocked from 540/1190/700 MHz (GPU/shader/memory) to 630/1404/810 MHz and was therefore close to the GeForce 8600 GTS (675/1450/1000 MHz). Another special feature was that the memory had a capacity of 512 MB instead of the usual 256 MB.

The overclocked GPU was cooled by a rather delicate single-slot copper cooler with a 45 mm radial fan. As the last special feature of the graphics card, which costs around 145 euros, the manufacturer installed an LED display that displayed the GPU temperature directly on the graphics card. Above all, this made it possible to read the GPU temperature during the boot process – i.e. before the graphics driver was initialized.

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Caliber 8600 GT bracket
Caliber 8600 GT side view< /figure>

Caliber 8600 GT LED in operation
Caliber 8600 GT rear

Fast and loud

Thanks to the factory overclocking and the ample graphics memory, the Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT was able to show a very high performance in the test and even drew level with the GeForce 8600 GTS on average. In the case of the Sparkle graphics card, however, this performance came with a price: deafening noise. The small 45 mm fan worked continuously at full speed and produced a sound pressure level of 62.5 dB(A). The model was thus as fast as a GeForce 8600 GTS, but at the same time almost 5 times as loud. The noise was in no way necessary: ​​The GPU was cooled very well both in idle mode and under load, which would have left room for active fan control.


Performance rating

    • Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT100.0
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS99.7
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT 512 MB85.9
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT77,3
    • ATi Radeon HD 2600 XT (3)75,3

Unit: percent volume

  • Windows:
    • ATi Radeon HD 2600 XT (3)47.5
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS49.0< /li>
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT55.0
    • Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT62.5
  • Last:
    • ATi Radeon HD 2600 XT (3)47.5
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS49.0
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT55.0
    • Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT62.5

Unit: dB(A) Power consumption

  • Windows:
    • ATi Radeon HD 2600 XT (3)158
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT170
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS171
    • Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT174
  • Last:
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT203
    • ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT ( 3)207
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS209
    • Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT209
Unit: Watt (W) Temperature

  • Windows:
    • ATi Radeon HD 2600 XT (3)38
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS44
    • Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT47
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT49
  • Load – GPU:
    • ATi Radeon HD 2600 XT (3)54
    • Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT68
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GTS69
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT73
  • Last – chip backside:
    • ATi Radeon HD 2600 XT (3)42
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT53
    • Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT54
    • Sparkle Caliber 8600 GT72
  • < /ul> Unit: °C


    The Sparkle Caliber GeForce 8600 GT was actually a great graphics card. It was cheap, fast and unique thanks to the LED display. Due to the extremely high volume level, however, it could not be recommended to any user. Only those who were planning to replace the cooler anyway could access it more or less with a clear conscience. Anyone who otherwise wanted a similarly good performance had to resort to a GeForce 8600 GTS, which was about 50 euros more expensive – and then there was only half the graphics memory. Ultimately, the manufacturer ruined what should have been a good graphics card by missing a feature that was standard.

    Nonetheless, the Caliber GeForce 8600 GT was a welcome change in the uniformity of custom designs. Nowadays, such deviations from the norm no longer exist because AMD and Nvidia do not allow them. Special models that have the blessing of the chip manufacturers (most recently, for example, the Radeon RX 6700, which only sells two OEMs), are the exception.

    In the category “In the test 15 years ago”, the editors have been taking a look at the test archive every Saturday since July 2017. The last 20 articles that appeared in this series are listed below:

    • Xigmatek was on the road to success with the HDT-S1283< /li>
    • Movie playback on GPUs from ATi versus Nvidia
    • Teufel and Logitech in 5.1 exchange of blows
    • Scythe's Katana 2 was the cooler king of the middle class
    • Ein almost inaudible gaming PC for 3,100 euros
    • Corsair's Voyager GT was the best USB stick for 100 euros
    • HD 2000 with RV610 & RV630 convinced more than with R600
    • DDR3 celebrated its premiere with the Intel P35 at Asus
    • ATi CrossFire was 80 percent ahead – measured in dB(A)
    • Halo 2 was a flop on the PC despite Vista
    • Router, switch and NAS in one from Asus
    • Xigmatek stirred up the market for 25 euros with Direct-Touch
    • The best gaming mouse was Razer's Death Adder
    • 5D ALUs didn't help the HD 2900 XT against the 8800 either
    • GeForce 8800 Ultra
    • The PlayStation 3 was much more than a game console
    • The G84 GPU of the GeForce 8600 GTS came in 80 nm
    • Five GeForce 8800 GTS 320 with G80 GPU at the limit
    • Windows ReadyBoost turned USB sticks into turbochargers
    • Intel's Core 2 Extreme QX6800 had four 2.93 GHz cores

    Even more Contents of this kind and many other reports and anecdotes can be found in the retro corner in the ComputerBase forum.