Albatron GeForce 8600 GTS
Although this is officially our first time to take a look at an Albatron graphics card in a roundup, they’ve been in the graphics business since 2002 – about the same amount of time as BFG. In that time they’ve put together some interesting products. Their WiseFan technology propelled cards in the GeForce 6800 generation to new heights – Albatron’s PC6800Q took home our best low noise design award at Computex 2005.
WiseFan was designed not only to deliver low noise, but also increased reliability. Albatron’s WiseFan cooler consisted of three fans; two fans actively cooled the GPU while a third fan could kick in if one of the fans failed. In practice, the system worked quite well and was integrated onto a wide range of GeForce 6 cards. Ultimately the design was copied by a few other card manufacturers.
Another innovation from Albatron developed around the same time as WiseFan was known as ATOP. With Albatron’s ATOP (AGP-to-PCI Express) bridge card, end users could upgrade to a PCI Express motherboard without having to purchase a new PCI Express graphics card. Say for instance you already had an AGP GeForce 6800 GT or Ultra and didn’t want to purchase another graphics card. With ATOP, simply plug your existing AGP graphics card into the ATOP card and you’re good to go.
Based on this spirit of innovation from Albatron, we’ve been eager to take a look at one of their cards. When the opportunity presented itself for this roundup, we jumped at the chance.
Unfortunately however, for their GeForce 8600 GTS GPU Albatron has decided to stick with NVIDIA’s reference board design. From end to end the card is a carbon copy of the GeForce 8600 GTS reference board.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. NVIDIA’s reference cooling is actually quite good. At the heart of the stock cooler is a copper base plate, which rests directly above the GPU. Heat from the GPU is absorbed by this plate and then transferred to an aluminum heatsink. NVIDIA’s heatsink is single slot and is composed of numerous fins to increase its performance. From there the cooler is paired to a small variable speed fan. The fan varies its RPMs based on temperature, and even under load generates very little noise. It’s not quite as quiet as NVIDIA’s cooler used on the GeForce 8800 GTX, but it gets the job done quite well.
Like all GeForce 8600 GTS cards, the Albatron GeForce 8600 GTS is built with two dual-link DVI outputs and supports HDCP. Albatron also sticks with the stock GeForce 8600 GTS clock speeds – no factory overclocking here.
Software and accessories
Albatron ships their card with a fairly standard array of hardware accessories and software. Albatron ships the card sans game bundle, instead opting to include the basic drivers you’ll need to get the card up and running. No additional software shipped with the card beyond the driver CD. Hardware accessories bundled with the card included a DVI adapter and component video cable. The card shipped without a second DVI adapter as well as a PCIe power cable.