ASUS EN8600GT OC Gear
- Fast default performance, runs quietly
- OC Gear's interface lacks read-outs for temperature and speed, relying instead on indicator lights
Overall, the EN8600GT, with the OC Gear module, offers a convenient way to overclock and monitor your card's performance, but it costs $50 more than ASUS' regular EN8600GT graphics card. The extra cost, and only very slight performance advantages when overclocking, mean it's worth sticking to the regular EN8600GT instead
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 2 stores)
When it comes to graphics cards, choosing one card over another is usually determined by price. However, ASUS wants to make you think about that decision a little longer. Its EN8600GT OC Gear card ships with a separate module that allows you to play with some of the card's features manually. By that, we mean that it lets you overclock the clock speed of the card, and adjust the fan speed, by physically turning a knob.
This module is called OC Gear, and it's designed to sit in a free 5.25in drive bay. It connects to an internal USB pin-header on the motherboard and requires ASUS' Gamer OSD and SmartDoctor software packages to be installed. Once up and running, the OC Gear will light up to expose speed, frames per second (fps), temperature, fan speed and volume indicators. Unfortunately, only the fps figure is an actual read-out, the speed, fan, volume and temperature are all represented by incremental bars that light up in different intensities to let you know how fast and hot the card is running. Also, the memory speed can't be controlled via the module, only via SmartDoctor.
The graphics card itself is based on the NVIDIA 8600GT graphics processing unit (GPU), and has 256MB of GGD3 RAM as well as two DVI ports (with HDCP compliance). The default clock speed of the GPU is 540MHz, while the memory runs at 1400MHz. In 3DMark06, and running on an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700-based system with 1GB of RAM, the card scored 4601, which is a relatively high score. However, it's not a card that can be used to play the latest games at the highest resolutions, so if you have a large LCD monitor, such as a 22in, or even a 19in, playing the most recent titles at the native resolutions of those monitors will lead to sluggish frame rates. Indeed, in the FEAR test, the card scored 32fps at a resolution of 1280x960, with 4x antialiasing (AA) and 16x anisotropic filtering (AF). Even without AA, it scored 33fps. Turning down the resolution to 1024x768, the card recorded a much smoother 47fps.
Using OC Gear, we were able to change the GPU speed of the card from an in-game environment. At this point, we got a little overzealous and maxed out the speed, which in turn, crashed our PC. We were able to get stable performance from the card when running the GPU speed at 600MHz. It scored 4838 in 3DMark06 at this setting. The fastest result from FEAR was 34fps, at 1280x920 with 4x AA, and this was with the GPU clock at 700MHz, so it's not a noticeable boost. ASUS claims that the OC Gear module can be used with other ASUS cards, as long as SmartDoctor and Gamer OSD are installed, and this is true as we used it with an ASUS 8800GTS. Physically, the graphics card has quiet fan and a heat sink cooling the chip, and it doesn't require a supplemental power connector.
Overall, the EN8600GT, with the OC Gear module, offers a convenient way to overclock and monitor your card's performance, but it costs $50 more than ASUS' regular EN8600GT graphics card. The extra cost, and only very slight performance advantages when overclocking, mean it's worth sticking to the regular EN8600GT instead.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) review: Raising the bar
- 2 Xiaomi Mi4 review: Xiaomi's best yet
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Note Edge review: Lightly flawed, Undeniably special
- 4 Sony Xperia Z3 review: The no-frills flagship
- 5 Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- VPN providers play 'cat-and-mouse' with China's growing censorship
- Canon PIXMA MG7560 All-In-One Cloud printer
- Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced II wireless modem review
- Facebook tests delivering tips about your location
- How three small credit card transactions could reveal your identity
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.