The benchmark results of the ASUS EN8600GT 256MB were about where we expected, and at standard speeds, the card performed much like a lower-clocked version of the GeForce 8600 GTS - which it is. It put up some very nice scores for its class, outpacing the GeForce 7600 GT on an overall basis, and battling it out with the Radeon HD 2600 XT on many occasions. No real surprises there, but the overclocking results were amazing, and once we slapped the OC Gear into the system, the ASUS EN8600GT 256MB could outperform a stock GeForce 8600 GTS.
ASUS offers several different versions of the GeForce 8600 GT, with the EN8600GT OC Gear 256MB model sitting right at the top of the scale. The available models include a fanless "Silent" edition, a standard EN8600GT and the EN8600GT OC Gear reviewed here. Prices also increase as you work your way up the line: ASUS EN8600GT Silent 256MB ($120), ASUS EN8600GT 256MB ($127) and ASUS EN8600GT OC Gear 256MB ($145).
This compares to entry-level and mainstream cards like the GeForce 8500 GT 256MB ($75), GeForce 7600 GS 256MB ($80), Radeon HD 2600 Pro 256MB ($80), GeForce 7600 GT 256MB ($95), Radeon HD 2600 XT ($105), and GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB ($150). The standard ASUS GeForce 8600 GT card stacks up quite well, but you have to decide whether the OC Gear hardware is worth the extra $15-$20.
* Please note that online prices are taken at the time of review, and are not intended to reflect long-term trends. Retail models are used when possible, and only OEM where noted.
ASUS has produced a very solid GeForce 8600 GT 256MB video card, and it offers performance along the lines of a lower-clocked GeForce 8600 GTS. But with the added OC Gear hardware, it can transform into an overclocking demon, capable of significant performance gains. The OC Gear is not just for speed jumps, and provides real-time information that can be very helpful to the enthusiast gamer. The only potential flaw is its price, as when the ASUS EN8600GT adds the OC Gear hardware, it gets uncomfortably close to the price of a GeForce 8600 GTS.