The dual slot videocard heatsink that MSI installed onto the NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC
looks a lot like Arctic Cooling's Silencer series. The large
heatsink mounts to the videocard via four points adjacent to the G84 graphics
core, and cools with both the core and four GDDR3 BGA memory modules quietly.
The GeForce 8600GTS core comes in contact with a copper heatspreader which is
soldered to a heatpipe that transfers heat to the larger aluminum heatsink.
The memory use a thick thermal pad and connect to a large aluminum heatspreader which
also comes in contact with the finned aluminum heatsink. Both the core
and memory are cooled with a temperature controlled Sunon Maglev 50mm fan.
The fan blows air across the finned aluminum heatsink then out of the case through the exhaust grill. This allows the videocard heatsink to act as an exhaust for the computer too, and it makes sense since you don't want that hot air from the videocard cycling inside the PC.
During operation under intense videocard load, the
custom cooler on the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC remained extremely quiet and when installed into a case will not be heard. Nice, this is the kind of extra attention we like to see from videocard manufacturers!
nVidia PureVideo High Definition
The MSI GeForce 8600GTS videocard supports HDCP over both DVI and HDMI,
although the latter connector is up to the manufacturers' discretion to
implement. HDMI is not included on the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC, though a
DVI-to-HDMI could be used here. The GeForce 8600GT may or may not have HDCP
support, that's up to the individual manufacturers.
With the release of the GeForce 8600GTS core, nVIDIA is
also updating its PureVideo technology. Dubbed PureVideo HD, the videocard can now handle the entire decoding process of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray movies. According to nVIDIA, 100% of high definition video decoding can be off loaded onto the videocard at speeds of up to 40Mb/s, rather than straddling the CPU with all of this extra work.
As it is PureVideo HD will be of benefit to Blu-Ray/HD-DVD type movies because
it does not boost WMV9 playback. That means high definition videos using the
Microsoft standard will only be accelerated to previous PureVideo levels.
Examining CPU Load with PureVideo HD
To test PureVideo's High Definition accelerating capabilities
on the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC, PCSTATS will playback a video downloaded
from Microsoft's WMV HD Content Showcase through Windows Media
Player 10. "The Discoverers" (IMAX) video is available in both 720P and 1080P
formats. AMD processor utilization will be monitored via Task Manager.
When running the 720P version of the
Discoverers video over the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC videocard, CPU usage
jumps between 18-20% which is quite low. THe MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC allows you
to watch High Definition videos while running tasks in the background.
CPU usage when the 1080P version of the video
is playing is even lower. In PCSTATS test the CPU usage dipped to 14%! That's
definitely very good and it's great to see how quickly nVIDIA has
adopted High Definition acceleration. Next up, overclocking tests on the MSI NX8600GTS-T2D256E-OC and a look
at power consumption from loaded and idle videocards.