Cooling is paramount to making transistors switch faster. When a well designed GPU thermal solution is just not enough, we turn to CPU coolers for a little more kick-in-the-posterior. We dug out a battered Noctua NH-U12 and put it on the 8800GTS with the help of Thermalright HR03’s supplied mounting bracket. For the purpose of today’s article, let us just blame the craziness on the paint vapours inhaled at our newly renovated test labs. =P

noctuaset XFX 8800GTS Alpha Dog Overclocking Adventure

Nice and cosy with a Nidec TA450DC 9.6W.

The extra cooling put the core temperatures under 40 degrees Celsius during load, and allowed us to scaled another notch up on core speeds, giving an eventual 810/2052/1080. Shader clocks have to rise in tandem with core clocks to scale upwards. Thankfully, RivaTuner allows unlinked clocking of the core and shader components. Notable is the poor granularity between clock jumps, which can be verified by opening the Monitoring window.

noctua2 XFX 8800GTS Alpha Dog Overclocking Adventure

noctua XFX 8800GTS Alpha Dog Overclocking Adventure

With extra clocks available, 3DMark06 went a wee bit higher. What cooling alone does is limited, hence we show you new tricks on the next page.