I bought this computer earlier in the year (May, I believe) from Best Buy. It wasn’t a powerhouse – I just wanted a desktop to handle web development, some low-end graphics development, and some gaming.
At the time, I only played World of Warcraft, so I didn’t see the need for an uber graphics set up. The integrated graphics chip wasn’t very good, so I went out and bought an add-on video card (GeForce 8600 GT). This was the only extra piece of hardware that I put into an otherwise budget value computer (~$700 + tax, with 19″ widescreen LCD monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer).
Since ditching WoW, I spent a good deal of time playing Fallout 3. This is a bit more graphics intensive than World of Warcraft, so you might be thinking, “How is the graphics performance in Fallout 3 with a GeForce 8600 GT?”
The GeForce 8600 GT – A Few Notes
Here’s the lowdown on the GeForce 8600 GT.
I was looking for a relatively cheap video card with 512mb of RAM. When I did some research, I found mixed reviews of the GeForce. Some people complained it wasn’t good enough for cutting edge gaming (not my concern), but others reported that it did just fine for average gaming (i.e. WoW).
At the time, I picked one up at NewEgg for about $99.99. You can find them now a bit cheaper - XFX GeForce 8600 GT 512mb RAM is on sale at Amazon for about $70.
It has 512mb of RAM, like I wanted. I’ve never had problem with fan noise (some people complained about that). Nor has it ever over-heated on me, despite long sessions of playing WoW.
It’s served me quite well in the past few months.
Next, here’s a quick rundown of the specs of the computer.
- Manufacturer: Gateway
- Processor: AMD Phenom 8400, Triple-Core, 2.1ghz
- Memory: 3.00 gb RAM
Not over the top by any means. However, my days of hardcore gaming are over, and I didn’t see the need to spend twice as much on a slightly better machine.
Graphics Performance in Fallout 3
So how does the GeForce 8600 GT perform in Fallout 3? Excellent.
When I first started playing, there were some problems with sudden freezing. I wasn’t sure if it was related to the graphics or the audio or just a bug in the game. I found a tip to update to the latest K-Lite audio and video codecs, and that seemed to clear up the issue.
Just running around, I tend to stay around 45-60 FPS. In combat, that can drop to 25 to 35. That might not sound insanely high, but it’s high enough that I don’t notice any slugishness.
The graphics definitely look nice – nothing more satisfying than a Raider getting obliterated by a blast from the Terrible Shotgun or watching a Super Mutant get goo-ified by a Plasma Rifle.
Despite playing for hours at a time, there have also been no issues with over-heating or fan noise. The built in fan seems to work fine at cooling the chip and keeping it running well.
I’ve got no complaints about the GeForce 8600 GT. I wouldn’t suggest that you get it if you’re trying to push the envelope of gaming graphics, but it’s done good by me. For Fallout 3, the GeForce 8600 GT should give you plenty of power.