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Inno3D iChill 8600GTS XStriker3 Review - Page 2 of 6

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE 8600GTS XSTRIKER3

Opening the package and seeing the well-designed black box with the Inno3D logo and iChill series emblazoned in silver with what looked like air holes in the box's exterior was eye-catching. Off to a good start, now for a look at the hardware. As you can see from the photo of the bundle, the box contains the essentials, plus a full version of the game RACE. The card is really impressive with such a massive cooler on such a small card. Fortunately, the materials are mostly aluminum with just the GPU contact surfaces and heatpipes being copper so the weight is minimal and in my case size is no problem since the motherboard I will be using has ample room.

Inno3d iChill 8600GTS XStriker3 Bundle

What comes in the box:

  • Inno3d iChill 8600GTS XStriker3
  • HDTV cable
  • 6-pin power cable
  • S-Video cable
  • DVI to VGA/D-sub adapter
  • GeForce Driver CD v.10.3
  • RACE, The WTCC Game (Full Version)
  • User Manual

Inno3D iChill 8600GTS XStriker3

A relatively small card becomes imposing with the large cooling apparatus sporting dual heatpipes, oversized aluminum heatsink with fan on the G84 GPU, and individual aluminum heatsinks on the memory chips. Also, remember that the capacitors are solid which I found to be a plus when overclocking the NVIDIA 650i motherboards recently...or at least I think their presence helped the last two sporting the solid capacitors break the 3.7Ghz barrier on air cooling with all else being basically equal. Anyway, this trend of using quality solid capacitors is growing. I give a big thanks to Inno3D for bringing it to their video cards.

Side View

From this view you can see the dual heatpipes coming off the copper mounting plate on the GPU. The heatpipes bend back around through the aluminum cooling fins.

Comparison

This comparison has the iChill 8600GTS XStriker3 on the left with a reference design 8600 GTS on the right. The massive cooler does take up two slots, but the question is how well does it work in cooling? Note the gold-plated DVI connectors. Are these functional, or purely for aesthetics? My take is that Inno3D is presenting a quality product with quality components including: solid capacitors, a specialized cooling solution with heatpipes, fan and aluminum heatsink cooling fin arrangement. So why not add gold-plated connectors for that added quality touch?

Ready to Install

After removing the reference design GTS from the case, the Inno3D iChill 8600GTS XStriker3 is ready for installation and testing. It will have a hard act to follow as the former GTS card faired well, running the selected benchmarks and games in Vista without incident. The reference design GTS was not lightning fast, even overclocked. 1600x1200 was not its preferred resolution, but it did perform adequately in games for a mainstream card at a resolution of 1280x1024 in the selected games used in this review. Here again, you can visually see the significant physical size difference in the cooling application on the cards.

NVIDIA nTune

Speaking of cooling, how is 44C at idle? Not bad...initial tests right out of the box using nTune revealed the XStriker3's iChill cooling application has the capability of keeping temps in the lower 50C range in demanding games. Also note that nTune read the clocks as 705/1050.

NVIDIA nTune - Temperature @ Idle

By overclocking the GPU by 9%, enough heat should be generated to significantly increase temperatures on any card. I found that, according to nTune, the card was still idling at 44C. Now that is cool! XStriker3's iChill cooling application has the capability of keeping temps in the lower 50C range in demanding games. Note the Custom clocks frequencies read '761/1050.'

NVIDIA nTune - Temperature @ Idle

TEST SYSTEM

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 - 2.4GHz Conroe Core - 4MB L2 Cache @ *3.0GHz, 1333MHz*
  • EVGA nForce 650i Ultra Motherboard
  • Inno3D iChill 8600GTS XStriker3 Graphics Card, 702/1050
  • NVIDIA ForceWare UDA Driver v.158.43 (Beta)
  • 2GB Patriot PC2-6400 (4-4-4-12) DDR2 SDRAM @ 400MHz, (800 MHz)
  • Western Digital Raptor 74GB HDD, 10000RPM, 4.5ms Average Seek, 8MB Buffer, SATA, (2) Raid 0
  • Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB HDD, 7200RPM, 8.9ms Average Seek, 16MB Buffer, SATA 2
  • Antec TruePower480 Power Supply
  • Samsung SyncMaster 225BW LCD Monitor
  • 32-Bit Color / Vsync Disabled / 60Hz Refresh Rate
  • Windows Vista 32-bit

TEST APPLICATIONS

  • Aquamark 3 - v3.0
  • 3DMark2006 - v1.20
  • F.E.A.R. - v1.08
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl - v1.0003

NOTES

All benchmarks and game tests used at the time of this review contain the latest versions and/or patches available. Microsoft's Windows Vista was used as the operating system for this review. NVIDIA's ForceWare v.158.43 beta driver was selected as the video driver as I have found it to be fully stable and a solid performer in Vista so far, with only a few minor exceptions which will have no negative impact on this review.
* The test system used in this review is a gaming system project in development. The intent is to end up with a serious "mainstream" high performance gaming rig at a low as possible expenditure. The processor speed is 3.0GHz at 1333MHz FSB (QDR) with the peak overclock capability set to 3.712GHz. However, all testing performed in this review was performed at 3.0GHz with the compatible advertised 1333MHz FSB (QDR) ratings of the Intel E6600 Core2 Duo processor and EVGA eForce Ultra motherboard. Some of the components used may appear to be borderline to some, specifically the 480W power supply. It has proven to be more than adequate for use for graphic cards up through the 7950 GX2 in all games used in this review providing a solid 22A to the +12V rails and showing an average voltage reading of 11.87V to 12.06V, depending on the test setup (number of and types of drives, graphic cards, fans, and overclock). Since the 8600 GTS cards are slated for mainstream gaming users, this system is a likely candidate for reviewing this segment of cards.

Next Page: Synthetic Benchmarks

Last Updated on June 5, 2007


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