Test System Specs & Notes

As mentioned earlier, Inno3D only supplies a driver CD with this graphics card and no extra software bundle for overclocking purposes. Considering this is a high-end water-cooled graphics card that is barely overclocked, we were hoping for more. Clearly users will want to push further, but none of the software we typically use would allow us to overclock the GTX 480 iChill Black Series, this included the MSI AfterBurner and EVGA Precision.

Thankfully Nvidia just updated their "System Tools" software, which did allow us to easily overclock the board. However unlike software provided by Inno3D's rivals, we were unable to adjust the card's voltage, which hampered the overclocking potential.

With standard voltages we managed to increase the graphics clock speed for fixed function units from Inno3D's 720MHz to 850MHz, an 18% frequency increase. The memory was also boosted from the 950MHz overclock Inno3D put in place to 1010MHz. This was a smaller 6% increase.

Now, I must admit it's been some time since I have played around with water-cooling, so I didn't have anything seriously impressive to test the GTX 480 iChill Black Series with. Instead I dug out the Thermaltake Bigwater 760i, which is a basic self-contained water-cooling unit, and connected it directly to the graphics card without any other components in the loop.

The 120mm fan was set to 2400 RPM, which is kind of loud in general, but whisper quiet in comparison to the standard GeForce GTX 480 air cooler. The operating temperatures were surprisingly good, which you will see towards the end of this review. With a more impressive water-cooling system we suspect even better results could be achieved.

Core i5 Test System Specs
- Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition (Overclocked @ 3.70GHz)
- x3 2GB G.Skill DDR3 PC3-12800 (CAS 9-9-9-24)
- Asus P6T (Intel X58)
- OCZ GameXStream (700 watt)
- Seagate 500GB 7200-RPM (Serial ATA300)
- MSI R5870 Lightning (1GB) 1000/5400MHz
- Radeon HD 5870 (1GB) Crossfire
- Radeon HD 5970 (2GB)
- Radeon HD 5870 (1GB)
- Radeon HD 5850 (1GB)
- Radeon HD 4890 (1GB)
- Radeon HD 4870 X2 (2GB)
- Inno3D GTX 480 i-Chill Black Series (1536MB) 850/4040MHz
- Inno3D GTX 480 i-Chill Black Series (1536MB) 720/3800MHz
- GeForce GTX 480 (1536MB)
- GeForce GTX 295 (1792MB)
- GeForce GTX 285 (1GB)
- Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
- Nvidia Forceware 197.45
- Nvidia Forceware 197.75
- ATI Catalyst 10.4