Review: ThermoIntelligence cooler
Today we bring you one of the best Geforce 8600GTS cards we had a chance to test, and the name is BFG Geforce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB GDDR3 PCI-E with ThermoIntelligence cooler. The card is run by the popular G84 GPU, better known as Geforce 8600GTS OC2. BFG cards are usually over-clocked and run faster than reference speeds, and this one is no exception. As usual, over-clocking results in greater power usage, higher core temperatures but also more frames.
Cooling a graphics processor has always been a problem, and while some stick to reference solutions BFG chose another path by introducing ThermoIntelligence, the new Geforce 8600GTS cooler.
We see the fan moved to the other part of the cooler, and that the name BFG really fit into the design. Besides looking good, it is important to note that Thermointelligence cools better than Nvidias reference cooler. By moving the fan as well as the copper part of the cooler that leans on the processor to the middle of the cooler, BFG really struck the chord, as the heat routing away from the core is much more efficient. Hot air is no longer being pushed into the dead air zone around the bracket, but to the inside of the CPU case where the case coolers can take care of it.
Although the fan is smaller than the reference ones, the loudness level is about the same. We couldn't quite measure it as we don't own a dB-meter, but BFG claims it's 39.2 dB (A) while the reference ones go up to 39.9 dB (A). ThermoIntelligence still takes up only one slot.
Core speed is 720MHz which is 45MHz more than reference speed of Geforce 8600GTS. With ThermoIntelligence cooler BFG is confident that your card will not overheat and so they offer life-time guarantee for these cards in the US, or ten years in EU. We don't know whether that's the case for non EU countries.
Shader speed is 1566MHz, compared to reference 1450MHz. Memory wasn't left unchanged either so BFG 8600GTS OC2 card shows 220MHz more than reference 2000MHz. Although the memory is fast, the fact that it uses 128bit interface is greatly inhibiting the graphics chips capabilities. The memory bandwidth is 36.2GB/sec.
While idle, the core temperature stuck around 48°C, and while testing it reached 68°C.
BFG claims that ThermoIntelligence cooling lowers the GPU temperature for about 5°C compared to reference cooling. In SLI, secondary card is cooler by 6°C, whereas the primary is cooler by 11°C.
We didn't try measuring the temperature in SLI, but we did replace the BFG cooler with the reference one and this is what we've seen.
While idle, the core temperature was 51°C, and while testing it reacher 75°C. It proves that ThermoIntelligence really does a good job. While idle, the temperature is 3°C less, but the real power of this cooler can be seen in 3D apps when the temperature is 7°C lower in comparison to the Nvidias reference cooler.
The contents of the box are usual. Inside you'll find: BFG Nvidia Geforce 8600 GTS OC2 256MB graphics card, User Manual, two DVI to VGA adapters, dual 4-pin Molex to single 6-pin PCI-Express power adapter, HDTV dongle. Both DVI connectors are Dual-Link DVI, and HDCP is supported too.