The thing I loved about HIS 9600 XT was the cooling. HIS own iCooler is really effective keeping the X600 XT cool. HIS states that the noise level is below 24 dBA and I really can't argue with that. With Intel's boxed cooler humming next to the card I really can't say that I can notice any additional noise coming from the video card. I don't mean that you need to have a noisy CPU cooler to mask the noise of the video card but just to give you some perspective on real life performance.
All of the eight memory modules are passively cooled with shiny aluminum heatsinks. With all this metal, HIS makes sure that you will be getting most out of your purchase and allow you to get some pretty impressive overclocking results in the process. The heatsinks are epoxied to the chips and we weren't able to pry them off. While the specs state that the card uses memory with 740 MHz, our sample however was happily running with 758 MHz stock.
As with the 9600 XT, HIS used silvery paste to ensure good transfer of heat from VPU to the heatsink. Paste was evenly spread and manufacturer had used a right amount of it. On the lower right corner is the core of the VPU wiped clean so you can see what we are dealing with. HIS have definitely made a right move by developing the iCooler. Compared to other solutions, it provides very good overclocking results and all this with very little noise.
So the stock settings for the VPU was 500 MHz and for the memory 758 MHz. Good experiences from our 9600 XT review and the iCooler on that card gave us high hopes for a good overclocking result. We used Rage3D Tweak 3.9c that allows separate control over the core and memory clock speeds. It didn't take too long to find the stable settings; 565 MHZ for the core and 914 MHZ for the memory. Combined this ~15% improvement will most definitely show in benchmarking results and all this was gained simply by adjusting two small sliders with a mouse.
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