The CardsThe following pictures always show the GeForce 8600 GTS first, followed by the 8600 GT and the 8500 GT.
The GeForce 8600 GTS is the biggest card of the new bunch. The heatsink is the largest as well. Even though it is running at a very fast 675 MHz, it is cooled by a single slot solution. The 8600 GT heatsinkhas grown a bit when compared to the 7600 GT reference cooler. It now cools the memory chips, which was not the case with the 7600 GT. The 8500 GT uses a very traditional square heatsink with fan. While the reference design uses active cooling, we may see several passive implementations in retail.
When viewed from the back, the 8600 GTS has noticably more components than the smaller variants. Even though the 8600 GT uses the same PCB as the 7600 GT series, it does not feature as many components. Both the G84 based implementations have their heatsinks secured by screws, while the G86 based 8500 GT uses plastic push-pins.
From the top the cards, the diffent cooler sizes become even more apparent. The other interesting part is the lack of an internal SLI connector on the 8500GT. This means, that even though you may run two of these in SLI, the performance gain will not be as large as with such a connection. If you look closely at the 8500 GT, the PCB actually features a white line around the memory as well. Some manufacturers may use such a cooler shape which cools the memory in combination with a fan.
Both the 8600 GTS and 8600 GT brackets feature dual DVI connectord, as well as an S-Video output. The 8500 GT has a single D-SUB and DVI connector. All three cards have dual-link DVI connectors, which means that WQXGA (2560 × 1600) resolution is possible with a single card.
As mentioned before, the 8600 Series features the SLI connector, while the 8500 GT does not. Also note the overall size of the new mainstream parts, as these are much shorter. They should fit into any normal ATX or mATX case without having so sacrifice other features like hard drive bays.