BFG Tech's GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 graphics card
NVIDIA'S GEFORCE 8600 GTS
has proven so potent that AMD hasn't introduced a mid-range Radeon HD graphics card to compete directly with it. In fact, AMD actually lowered the price of its Radeon HD 2600 XT prior to the card's launch to avoid a direct face-off with the GTS. That alone speaks volumes about the mix of performance and features that the 8600 GTS brings to the table.
If you're in the market for an 8600 GTS, there are plenty to choose from, including BFG Tech's new OC2 model. As one might expect, this card comes factory "overclocked," boasting respective core and memory speeds of 720MHz and 1110MHz. Those clock speeds are higher than any other 8600-series card we've tested, which is an achievement in itself. The OC2 has another ace up its sleeve, though: BFG's new ThermoIntelligence cooler.
Designed new from the ground up, this single-slot cooler aims to strike a nice balance between superior cooling and acceptable noise levels. Nvidia's mid-range reference coolers have generally been pretty marginal, so there's certainly room for improvement. But other manufacturers have their own cooling solutions, too, and ThermoIntelligence already has plenty of competition. Read on to see how the GeForce 8600 GTS OC2 fares against that competition and whether ThermoIntelligence is a smart choice for your next mid-range graphics card.