To properly test a graphics card you don’t know its true performance unless you overclock it, so that’s exactly what we did. While it did take a while for me to find some overclocking software that works (nothing officially supports the 8600 yet), I eventually settled on ATI Tool (I tried RivaTuner and Ntune as well). With a little tweaking and fiddling I was able to crank the 8600 up to 640mhz on the core and 835mhz on the memory; not too shabby.
All tests were run with the card in stock and overclocked states to ascertain the performance gained from overclocking as well as showing what the card is capable of doing with factory settings.
NB. The card was capable of holding this overclock without the aide of any active cooling. However, I placed a single 120mm fan above the card to play safe.