All games were tested with details set at maximum. Where available, we used the in game demo, in other titles we used FRAPS. We used the current 162.18 WHQL drivers.
Company Of Heroes
The Geforce 8600 GT Zone performs good, and it will allow you to play most games without too much hassle. The 8500 GT cards are not a great choice for hard core gamers, but they'll be enough for most consumers. With a bit of tweaking and in game adjustments, you'll be able to play at 1280x1024. As for the 8400 GS, it's good enough to run Company of Heroes at 1024x768, but only after reducing the detail level to low or maybe even medium.
Without Antialiasing FEAR is playable on all the cards we tested today. Even the 8400 GS scores an acceptable 37 FPS at 1024x768. The core clock helps the 8500GT AMP card to beat the 8600 GT, but the tables turn as soon as we turn on Antialiasing and Anisotropic filtering. At 1280x1024 the 8400 GS still puts on a good fight. At 1600x1200 or more, the game is challenging even for the 8600 GT, while the other cards show a huge performance drop.
The overclocked 8500GT Zone edition performs just as well as the 8500 GT AMP.
All tested cards, including the 8400 GS, are good enough for Quake 4
Serious Sam 2
We played with the HDR settings and the Antialiasing and Anisotropic filter, and got some very nice effects in the game. Serious Sam is a game which will provide you with hours of fun gaming, especially thanks to good effects which aren't too demanding. For the first time in our test the Geforce 8600 GT gets a decent framerate at 2048x1536 with Antialiasing and Anisotropic filtering.
We can see that the 8400 GS is simply not powerful enough to cope with Obilivion's terror at high detail levels. So we tried lowering the quality settings in order to get a usable framerate and enjoy the game.. Zotac 8500 GT cards are good for resolutions up to 1024x768 or bit higher without Antialiasing. The silent 8600 GT Zone also does a good job.
On higher resolutions, with AA and AF, only the 8600 GT Zone achieves a playable framerate. At 2048x1536 the game is simply too much for the cards.