We continued to test cheap DirextX 10 cards and today we bring you the Zotac Geforce 8500GT. Zotac is a fairly new name in the industry - it is in fact Nvidia's PC Partner brand. Zotac launched a number of their products based on Nvidia's DirectX 10 chips and they are currently trying hard to get their piece of the market. Many of their products are over-clocked and are running on greater speeds than Nvidia’s reference clocks. The Zotac GeForce 8500GT is no exception.
The Zotac 8500GT (SKU#: ZT-85TE250-FPP) is a card with the fastest core among the GeForce 8500GT family, at least among the ones we've tested so far. The core runs at 700MHz which is 250MHz faster than Nvida's default speed for the 8500GT which is 450MHz. Quite an impressive start for the Zotac 8500GT card.
However, the memory is still at the default 800MHz. Zotac didn't opt for GDDR3 memory, although we've seen some Nvidia partners, such as Gainward do this. With such a fast core, it is quite sad to see the memory not running at greater speed. The only way to change this would be over-clocking, and we will be talking about it later on, but we'll tell you this - we were impressed with the Hynix HY 5PS561621A-FP25 memory chips' capabilities. These modules are rated at 2.5ns which makes for 400MHz, and we easily ran them at 530MHz and 1060MHz in GDDR2 mode. Whether this is enough to beat Gainward's GDDR3 memory, we'll find out later. The memory interface is still 128 bit and stays the same no matter what type of memory used. That was Nvidia's decision and it applies to all 8600 and 8500 cards, meaning G84 and G86 cores. On the GeForce 8500GT with 256 MB of memory, the bandwidth measures up to 12.8 GB/s, the core is 80nm and it has 16 Stream Processors.
Zotac also worked on the design - the I/O side has DVI and VGA connectors painted yellow on black metal, and it fits in with the rest of the card. The cooler is small but sufficient for a G86, which is quite small itself. The fan would sometimes run a bit louder than usual, but it's bearable. The RoHS sticker on the back of the card says that the materials used in the manufacturing process contained no harmful elements.
The picture on the box shows the same macho Zotac soldier we saw on the card's cooler. It also has some additional info like "DVI to HDMI adapter". That's correct, besides the S-Video and component cable as well as a CD containing the drivers, you'll find the afore-mentioned adapter. It seems that in this range of cards, Zotac is the only one giving away such a juicy gift.