Core Clock: 705MHz Shader Clock: 1450MHz Memory Clock: 2100MHz Warranty: Three years (parts and labour)
Toward the end of last year Inno3D introduced its iChiLL series, a new line of premium graphics cards that offered some differentiation from what most other Nvidia board partners were offering on the market. The cards feature aftermarket cooling solutions as standard from the likes of Arctic Cooling and Zalman, amongst others.
To me at least, it’s a sign that maybe graphics cards aren’t all the same because since the hard-launch strategy started to become the norm, we started to notice that differentiation was falling by the wayside to an extent. This was simply because partners didn’t have the time to differentiate their products from their competitors. Often when I’m reviewing graphics cards, the old “once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” saying comes to mind and yes, I do often feel under-privileged when I’m looking at yet another reference design.
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Many would argue that the hard launch strategy is good for consumers, because there’s no lead time between product announcement and widespread availability. However, it’s not really that healthy for add-in board partners because the one with the lowest price always wins as there isn’t any difference between the same model from a slew of different board partners.
On one front, you could argue that hard launch strategies have essentially levelled the playing field a little, as those with almost no resources can arguably compete with those with more manufacturing resources than you can shake a stick at. All that’s required to compete nowadays is a team of people talented enough to apply a sticker, right?
Thankfully, Inno3D doesn’t believe so as this is where the iChiLL line-up comes into play. It’s not alone when it comes to product differentiation, but in a market where there are an increasing number of products that simply look the same as one another, differentiation is a blessing in our eyes. So without further ado, let’s have a look at what makes Inno3D’s GeForce 8600 GTS iChiLL Xstriker3 different from other cards on the market.
Box and Bundle:
Although Inno3D has recently redesigned its boxes for most of its range of graphics cards, the iChiLL series continues to use the same box design as the one used when the company first introduced the new line at the start of the year. It’s a glossy black design with silver lettering and several holes perforated into the front of the box so that you can see what’s inside.
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The design is pretty sleek and classy in our opinion, at least where graphics card packaging is concerned – it’s sometimes hard to get excited about a box, but this one almost manages to fill us with glee (and yes, the emphasis is intended). It’s without doubt a break away from the flashy colours and fantasy warriors (or women) that we often see adorning graphics card boxes.
Toward the left of the front of the box, there’s a sticker that details things like the model number, warranty term, cooling solution and other vital information about the card inside. Speaking of the card inside, it’s secured tightly inside a plastic camshell that helps to ensure that the card will not get damaged during shipping.
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To the right of the information label, there’s also another sticker on the front of the box that informs you that this particular card comes complete with a limited edition gift. It’s nothing special – just a pen, an iChiLL keyring and a hologram case sticker, but it’s a nice touch. Despite this, it’s obviously not something that is going to make you buy this card over any other – it’s going to have to do more than supply a few extras.
On top of the limited edition gift, you should get a decent selection of cables, including component and composite out, a six pin PCI-Express power adapter and a single DVI-to-VGA converter. The bundle is rounded off with a user manual, a driver CD and a copy of Race: The WTCC Game.