Assembling and affixing the cooling system to the graphics card will be a straightforward procedure for those who have experience with installing a processor heatsink and fan. Although installation instructions are provided, a dry-run is recommended for those who may be unfamiliar with the procedure.
Note that the installation guide also contains a disclaimer in regards to silent mode operation and GPU power draw, which is covered in the cooling test results at the end of this page.
The cooling system is comprised of the components that appear in the photograph below. Note that in each cooling configuration, the height of the heatsink causes the graphics card to occupy two case slots. This setup is also referred to as a dual-slot cooling solution.
A dab of thermal paste, about the size of a pin-head, was applied to the GPU. The knurling nuts that secured the heatsink to the GPU via the mounting screws were then hand-tightened from the bottom of the graphics card.
Secure Heatsink to GPU
After securing the heatsink to the GPU, the fan shroud was re-attached to the heatsink using four screws, which completed the assembly. Inno3D refers to this configuration as the standard mode of operation.
Assembly Complete With Fan Shroud
In the overclocking mode of operation, only the heatsink and fan are affixed to the GPU.
Components without Fan Shroud
The photograph below shows the graphics card installed in overclocking mode.
In Case with Fan Shroud Removed
The silent mode of operation is achieved by removing the fan, which is held in place by two small screws. The fan rests on two narrow grooves that have been etched into the heatsink. After the screws were removed, the fan was removed by gently sliding it to the left.
Fan Removed For Silent Operation
COOLING TEST RESULTS
Cooling tests were conducted in a closed case with the room temperature at 74° F / 23° C and humidity at 55%. Load was placed on the GPU by executing the Real-Time High Dynamic Range Image Based Lighting (rthdribl) demo in an 800x600 window at default settings for five minutes.
Cooling Test Results
The ZEROtherm cooling solution was especially effective in the overclocking mode with the fan shroud removed. At load, the GPU reached a peak temperature of 51° C compared to the EVGA GeForce 9600 GT SSC, which recorded a peak temperature of 70° with stock cooling and fan running at 80% capacity. Although the fan speed of the Inno3D GeForce 9600 GT iChiLL Hurricane could not be controlled via NVIDIA's control panel applet, fan noise was hardly noticeable.
Note that the silent mode is not recommended as the GPU climbed to a temperature of 108° C just two minutes into the stress test. Inno3D provides the following disclaimer in the installation guide:
Silent mode is only applicable to graphics cards with TDP (Thermal Design Power) under 50W. We will not take responsibility for problems generated by applying silent mode to graphics cards with high heat radiation."
The GeForce 9600 GT has a maximum power draw of 95W.