I have been going through video cards like a graphics junky looking for his next fix. It all started with an actively cooled Nvidia 6600-noisey but still very nice, then a passively cooled beautiful 7600GS then a 7600GT that was even faster! -Interesting thing about each of these upgrades was not only where they faster they were same price or cheaper than the one before it! -too good to be true? No but it was too good to last.
So when i went into my old friends at MSY and saw the 8600GT was the same price as my 7600GT i knew i needed another hit for my graphics habit...Atypically i hesitated and called Scott Barnes (our resident gamer) and asked him "Are the 8600GT cards faster than of the 7600GT?" his anwer was "Of course it is a bigger number" Cocooned in my ignorance i went home dropped in the card and anxiousely waited the Windows Experience Index to be updated from the lowly 5.3 for Gaming index it was curently sitting at....
So when it finished with a Windows Experience Index of 4.7 i "knew" it must be broken and got on the to the net to see what was going on....only to find out to my horror that the 8600GT despite having a larger number is quite a bit slower - argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So just like any other junky that gets a bad hit what do i do? Quite and go back to my old card? - yeah Right! Nope, I drove the 60 minutes back to MSY and spent another $100 for the 8600GTS. At least physically this was a beefier card and looked a lot *nicer than the 8600GT....
So was the 8600GTS faster than the 7600GT - yes, marginally. Was it $100 better? -NO way. My Windows Experience Index for gaming is now up 5.6.
Just to make myself feel a little better about the expense I am running Windows Vista with two Video cards - the 7600GT to drive my 19" and the 8600GTS to drive my 21" (yes, i realize there really isn't any benefit to this)
Oh yeah one of the reasons for this "upgrade" was a game called Civilization IV which on Windows Vista 64 bit was not displaying correctly (the little people in the cities werent' being drawn)...Turns out my new video card had the same problem but a patch from Fraxis fixed it!
*As if the esthetics of a video card that is enclosed in a computer case matters!