According to our tests the GeForce 8600 GTS consumes only 47W under load and does not require a sophisticated cooling system. It can do quite well with a single-slot cooler. The MSI card has higher GPU and memory frequencies than the reference card, but the frequency growth is small and the card can hardly generate more than 50 watts of heat, but the company targets this product at enthusiasts and overclockers and installs a rather advanced cooler on it.
The cooler blocks the neighboring slot as in faster G80-based solutions and has a similar design. Contacting with the GPU die through a layer of dark-gray thermal grease, its copper sole transfers the heat to the aluminum heatsink via a heat pipe. The heatsink is blown at by a 2.2W fan. The hot air is exhausted through slits in the card’s mounting bracket. As opposed to the reference card, the fan uses a 3-pin connection via an adapter.
The cooler has an aluminum base all of its elements are fastened on and the juts in this base have elastic pads for better contact with the memory chips. The whole arrangement is secured on the PCB by means of four threaded poles. A protective plastic bar is put on these poles on the reverse side of the PCB. There are also spring-loaded round nuts with slits for a flat-headed screwdriver there. You cannot tighten the nuts more than necessary as the screwdriver’s tip will press into the pole. Anyway, you should be very careful if you remove the cooler or mount it back again. The nuts are fragile and their heads may break off as they did on our sample of the MSI NX6800GT-T2D256E (for details see our article called MSI NX6800GT-T2D256E Graphics Card Review ).
The cooler’s casing does not touch the mounting bracket and some of the hot air will get into the system case. Anyway, this cooler should be more than enough to keep a GeForce 8600 GTS cool even at overclocked frequencies. We’ll now check out how noisy this cooling solution is.