With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).
There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.
The passive cooled 8500GT gets HOT! While our system doesn't have any active cooling over it, when installed in a case and fans are pushing air around the temperatures should be a lot more desirable. The 8600GT sits at a pretty standard temperature for a mid-range active cooled graphics card.
Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.
After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).
With the 8500GT being a passive cooled graphics card its noise level is of course 0, while we see that the 8600GT sits at a pretty moderate mid 60dB.