Inno3D GeForce 8600GT iChill - Fab OC'ed

Today we check out Inno3D's new 8600GT iChill card sporting a beefy cooling design and higher than stock clock speeds.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Sep 26 2007 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Inno3D

Introduction





The last time we saw a card from Inno3D we were extremely pleased with what exactly they had to offer. The iChill series has expanded since we looked at it last and the 8600 series has now entered it while a number of different coolers have also been added to the lineup.

It's really very important these days that graphics card companies venture out past the normal run of the mill coolers as sometimes this is all that differentiates the brands apart from each other.

Aftermarket coolers not only offer better cooling in most cases but also with less noise. Silent coolers are big these days thanks to how effective they are and the fact they create no noise, but active cooling still remains king and more often than not the increased clock speeds that are yielded from better active cooling give us the best improvement.

The particular card we're looking at today is an 8600GT which carries with it a very mean looking active cooling solution, with heat pipes and fins going everywhere we could be onto a clear winner.

The Package




Like the last iChill product we looked at from Inno3D we have a square box that has a number of holes on the front which let you kind of see through and get a peak at the card. It's very abstract and just generally looks quite modern and cool looking.



We can of course see across the bottom that the card is part of the iChill series and comes with a full version copy of Tomb Raider Anniversary. The left side of the box has a sticker that tells us the model along with the main specifications of the card.

There is also another sticker that says "iChill limited gift" and shows a picture of not only a cool looking keyring but also a pen. No doubt we will have to venture further into the package to investigate this one.



Turning the box over we have a little bit more information about the card along with the Nvidia table that shows us a bit of information on the 8000 series lineup and where their strengths and weaknesses are.



Moving inside the package we're greeted with a few things, we have the standard manual along with an installation kit that includes a quick start guide and driver CD. Also, like we saw on the front of the box we have a full version copy of Tomb Raider Anniversary.



The cable department brings with it a long S-Video to RCA connector, HDTV out component cable and a single DVI to VGA connector.



As mentioned on the front of the box we get a free limited gift which is a nice pen and key ring presented in a really professional box along with an Inno3D/iChill holographic sticker.

The package is absolutely brilliant and it's clear that Inno3D knew what they were doing when they laid it all out. Sure the pen and key ring aren't expensive but it's something not only extra but useful at the same time. Normally we would have accepted these gifts in exchange for the lack of a game but Inno3D have also chosen to include this making the overall package absolutely fantastic.

The Card




With the package out the way it's time to get onto the card and gladly it seems to look as professional as the bundle that comes with it.



It's a big 8600GT with a large heatsink that manages to take up two slots and has a fan seated smack bang in the middle of the whole contraption that is the HS/F. There is a plate that sits directly on top of the GPU, from there two copper heat pipes exit from the bottom and go up into a load of aluminum fins where the heat is dissipated. To help with the whole process we have a fan that keeps everything as cool as possible.





Across the top of the card we have a bracket that is designed to help prevent any bending of the PCB but does a better job of just looking cool with the iChill logo. We also have our single SLI connector. Being an 8600GT we don't have any power connectors.



We have a very cool black and gold I/O setup that continues on with the whole professional look and of course we have our standard two DVI connectors which support Dual Link connectivity along with our TV-Out port sitting up top.

Inno3D have really managed to get some pretty good clocks out of the card with this whole package. While the stock clocks on an 8600GT come in at 540MHz on the core and 1400MHz DDR on the memory Inno3D have really bumped this up giving us 620MHz on the core and 1800MHz on the memory.

Test System Setup and 3DMark05


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): ASUS Blitz Extreme (Supplied by ASUS)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Corsair XMS3 DDR-3 1066MHz 7-7-7-21 (Supplied by Corsair)
Hard Disk(s): Hitachi 80GB 7200RPM SATA-2
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista
Drivers: Catalyst 7.9 and Forceware 162.18

With the stock clocked Inno3D 8600GT in hand it was time to see what kind of performance jump the new overclocked iChill did for us. We have also thrown in the 8600GTS OC from BFG Tech for comparison sake to give you an idea of where this card sits on the market.

Along with our normal line up of Windows XP games we're continuing to use our new DX10 line up under Windows Vista. Let's not delay and see how the card stacks up against the competition.



3DMark05

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 130
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/
Buy It Here




3DMark05 is now the second latest version in the popular 3DMark "Gamers Benchmark" series. It includes a complete set of DX9 benchmarks which tests Shader Model 2.0 and above.

For more information on the 3DMark05 benchmark, we recommend you read our preview here.




We can see straight away that the overclocked iChill offers some big numbers compared to the standard clocked GT, we can see it's almost caught up to the overclocked 8600GTS offering from BFG.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




3DMark06 paints a similar picture with big gains, all we have to do now is hope that these gains are seen in our real world tests.

Benchmarks - Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)


Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest from Steam
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com
Product Homepage: http://www.half-life2.com
Buy It Here




By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism, responsiveness and new HDR technology, Half-Life 2 Episode One opens the door to a world where the player's presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors even the emotions of both friends and enemies.

We benchmark Half Life 2 Episode One with our own custom timedemos as to avoid possible driver optimizations using the "record demo_name" command and loading the timedemo with the "timedemo demo_name" command - For a full list of the commands, click here.




In our first real world test we see that the gains are carried over with performance coming within a few percent of the 8600GTS.

Benchmarks - Prey


Prey

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: HardwareOC Custom Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.humanhead.com
Product Homepage: http://www.prey.com
Buy It Here




Prey is one of the newest games to be added to our benchmark line-up. It is based off the Doom 3 engine and offers stunning graphics passing what we've seen in Quake 4 and does put quite a lot of strain on our test systems.




Prey also sees some big gains across the board.

Benchmarks - F.E.A.R.


F.E.A.R.

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.vugames.com
Product Homepage: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/
Buy It Here




F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is an intense combat experience with rich atmosphere and a deeply intense paranormal storyline presented entirely in first person. Be the hero in your own spine-tingling epic of action, tension, and terror...and discover the true meaning of F.E.A.R.





F.E.A.R. performance is also up considerably with it only just being behind the 8600GTS.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.






Company of Heroes performance is also up across the board. We can see that the overclock gives big gains when compared to the stock clocked 8600GT.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict (DX9)

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.





While World in Conflicts sees gains the performance isn't quite as visible as some of the other benchmarks we have run.

High Quality AA and AF




Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

3DMark 06



Turning on AA and AF sees the iChill offering power on with 20% performance gains when compared to the standard 8600GT.

Half Life 2 (Episode One HDR)



The performance again carries on to Episode One.

Prey



Prey performance also continues to be up but we can see that it's a fair bit further behind the 8600GTS in this case.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 06 - Vista


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here




3DMark06 is the very latest version of the "Gamers Benchmark" from FutureMark. The newest version of 3DMark expands on the tests in 3DMark05 by adding graphical effects using Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range lighting) which will push even the best DX9 graphics cards to the extremes.

3DMark06 also focuses on not just the GPU but the CPU using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library to effectively test single and Dual Core processors.




We see when moving to Vista the big gains are carried on.

Benchmarks - Call of Juarez (DX10) - Vista


Call of Juarez (DX10)

Version and / or Patch Used: DX10 Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.techland.pl/en/
Product Homepage: http://www.coj-game.com
Buy It Here



Call of Juarez is a Western-themed FPS from Techland. The North America release was one of the first games to utilize DX10.

Call of Juarez is loosely based on a number of Western movie hits from the last four decades, particularly the Spaghetti Westerns that became popular in the sixties and early seventies. The game features two different characters: Billy "Candle", a young fugitive accused of murder and the Reverend Ray, an ex-outlaw who turned to religion, believing that God Himself has chosen Ray to be the instrument of His wrath.






We again see the iChill 8600GT gaining on the 8600GTS, but it's just not quite able to get there.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet (DX10) - Vista


Lost Planet: Extreme Condition

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com
Product Homepage: http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_lostplanet_home.html




Driven to the brink of extinction on ice-covered wastelands, humankind fights to survive. From extreme conditions and insurgent Snow Pirates to hostile gargantuan alien Akrid, all that you can trust are your instincts.

Combining a gripping single player campaign and intense multiplayer modes with support for up to 16 players online, Lost Planet is an epic gaming masterpiece. Enormous world maps unfold as players' battle across vast snow fields and deserted cities either on foot or in armed, robotic Vital Suits.



Lost Planet manages to see some decent gains at the lower resolution, as we get higher the gains aren't as big.

Benchmarks - Company of Heroes (DX10) - Vista


Company of Heroes

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.7
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.relic.com
Product Homepage: http://www.companyofheroesgame.com
Buy It Here




Company of Heroes, or COH as we're calling it, is one of the latest World War II games to be released and also one of the newest in our lineup of benchmarks. It is a super realistic real-time strategy (RTS) with plenty of cinematic detail and great effects. Because of its detail, it will help stress out even the most impressive computer systems with the best graphics cards - especially when you turn up all the detail. We use the built-in test to measure the frame rates.




We again see the gains in Company of Heroes under Vista with it just nipping at the heels of the 8600GTS.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



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.




We can see that the cooler design clearly works with big temperature drops for the iChill offering.


Sound Tests



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).




While it's also the loudest cooler, the few dB difference is almost unnoticed.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.




Power consumption is up on the card with maximum draw actually just sneaking ahead of the 8600GTS.

Final Thoughts




The iChill series from Inno3D continues to impress, and for good reason. Not only does this particular model absolutely kill a stock clocked 8600GT but it manages to be nipping at the heels of an overclocked 8600GTS too.

Pricing is actually quite similar to that of an 8600GTS so you do have a few things to way up - the cards that are priced only slightly more than the iChill 8600GT come with a stock heatsink/fan that is generally louder and not as nice to look at, though at the same time they do offer overclocking head room.

If push came to shove and you had to decide between a very stock, very boring 8600GTS or this pimped out 8600GT we would probably opt for this one, especially if you're not really going to be overclocking.

We did venture into overclocking but had no real joy - this is kind of to be expected as we often find ourselves limited to an extra overclock on these heavily overclocked models.

The card literally is packing everything, an awesome bundle, excellent build quality, fantastic cooling, a great overclock and probably a few other things we have missed - all in all one of the best valued mid-range graphics cards on the market.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.
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