Cooling and Power Consumption
The cooling system which is housed on the FireGL V8600 is simply massive. ATI equips this card with a (seemingly) military-grade cooling system which uses copper heatpipes, copper thin-fins, a centrifugal blower, and a series of heavy-duty aluminum rods to cool the power conversion modules. The cooling system makes the card extremely heavy compared to most other graphics cards on the market, which is likely part of the reason why the card is equipped with a plastic holding bracket on the right side, which can provide additional support from compatible cases and decrease the weight load on the I/O shield and PCI Express connector.
Cooling System Extends To The Back
Blower Fan and Power Module Cooling
Sadly, ATI has not tweaked or improved the cooling system for the V8600 release from the prior V8650 release, as it still suffers from the same trouble spots which we ran into with the V8650. With such a hot-running GPU, the cooling system has to work fairly hard to keep thermals in check. Even when idling, our GPU was running at over 65°C (149°F), which also means a lot of power is being used, even when idling. During non-intensive tasks, the cooling system is not whisper silent, but is certainly tolerable for sitting next to on a daily basis.
However, once you start to put load on the GPU, the fan speed kicks up and immediately becomes noticeable. Again, we’re not saying that the noise level is intolerable, but it makes its presence known and can be slightly distracting if you’re trying to focus on the task at hand. The cooling system also takes far longer to spin-down after an intensive task to idle mode compared to all the members of the QuadroFX lineup we’ve seen thus far. It looks like ATI has addressed these issues with the new FireGL V7700 product, which uses a newer cooling system and a lighter heat producing GPU, but for their high-end products like the V8600 and V8650, you simply have to get used to a bit of noise. Sad, but true. We will say, however, that the raw weight and complexity of ATI’s cooling system is quite impressive, and we would have faith that this cooling system can handle un-friendly thermal environments with ease.
Idle Clocks and Temperatures
Full GPU Load Clocks and Temperatures
The FireGL V8600 is not extremely friendly in terms of power consumption, as seen by our charts. This card somehow managed to test slightly higher compared to the FireGL V8650 in terms of overall power consumption, outpacing all of the other cards in our test. Keep in mind, this card is competing against the QuadroFX 3700 which consumes far less power. Under load, the 3700 is consuming about 100 watts less than the V8600 card, which is nothing to scoff at. The FireGL V8600 even needs more power than NVIDIA’s monstrous G80-based QuadroFX 5600 1.5GB card.