Mainstream Graphics Arena: The Launch of the Geforce 8600 and 8500 series
Current CPUs are facing this daunting task to decode High Definition Content with the likes of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Currently, both Nvidia and AMD hae already implemented hardware decoding capabilities to offset the job of video decoding from the CPU. The G84 and 86 will be featuring a new Pure Video implementation, the VP2. It is capable of handling video decode process of up to 40 Mbits/second, meaning that these cards will be able to handle all forms of HD that’s available in the market now pretty well, leaving the CPU to handle the other processing aspects like I/O. Within VP2, Nvidia’s BSP (Bit Stream Processor) is a set of dedicated hardware circuitry that’s made to handle complex encoding and decoding tasks.
I believe Zotac needs no introduction, we have already reviewed their 8800GTS 320MB a while back just before CEBIT. They have made a pretty aggressive debut appearance at this year’s CEBIT in Germany, and will be attending Computex this year. I’m hoping to see some exciting stuff there. In any case, at this stage, Zotac is making purely NVIDIA GPU-based Graphics Cards. From market industry talks, it seems that unlike ATi/AMD AIB partner policy, whereby price-protection is pretty tightly enforced, NVIDIA AIC partners do not seem to display such a strong enforcement in this area. Thus, competition seems to be much stiffer between these Card Makers, which is why we see so many different solutions – a good thing for consumers.
Unlike their previous cards, Zotac has chose to use a different theme for their cards this time round, featuring animated warriors in their box and hsf sticker design.
In the macro view, Zotac is actually a new sister company formed out of PC Partner. It’s strategy towards Graphics Cards is thus: Sapphire – ATi only, while Zotac – NVIDIA only. You can check out HKEPC’s Interview of Zotac if you can read Chinese.
Let’s waste no time and get on to introduce the cards.