Need a silent video card

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Need a silent video card

Postposted on Fri Nov 11, 2011 5:21 pm

Budget: $180

So, I want to get a near silent video card. As near to silent as possible. I'm pretty much out of gaming, but there's some small dark corner of my mind that still warns me that I may not be *totally* done with gaming.

So, my choices are to get a totally passive video card or get one with a superbly quiet fan. In terms of silent, my choices seem to be:

GT 520 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814500213
GTS 430 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814500222
GTS 450 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814187129
HD 6770 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814125386
HD 6850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814131442

The passively cooled HD 6850 is kinda out of my price range - it's 199.

As for the choices in the Superbly Quiet Fan category - I really don't know what they are - which video cards out there are superbly quiet - and I'm talking in Linux too or even without any drivers loaded (this is where my previous 5770 failed - very quiet once I entered Windows but in any environment other than fully booted into Windows it was pretty annoyingly audible).
Last edited by flip-mode on Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Gerbil Khan
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:41 pm

I believe you might want the MSI N460GTX Cyclone, conveniently priced at $180 up front, or $160 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814127510

I won this card from a TR contest about a year ago and have been using it in my main system ever since. It works great. Does need the space of two slot bays, though.
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ludi
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:54 pm

That thing is pretty silent eh? Funny thing is that my brother has that exact card, but the rest of his computer is so loud I can't tell if the card is quiet or not :lol:
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:40 pm

My 4770 has an Accelero L2 Pro slapped on in it making it effectively silent. The cooler will support a range of cards.

By coincidence will be visiting the Cincinnati area next week.
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:53 am

Hmm... well, I have to say that I'm pretty bummed. It's been more than a year since the 6850 launched at $180 and prices have dropped an unexciting $35 since then. Something about the GPU market has changed over the last couple of years - like some kind of truce has been called in price competition. Granted, $145 isn't a bad price at all for a 6850, but that's the lowest priced option and prices go up from there. The median price seems to be above $160. That stinks. And it's the same story for other GPUs.

Hmm... maybe I should wait a while and get by on this integrated 785G graphics until I actually get around to wanting to play a game... dunno. Going to ponder this...

One thing for sure is that the market for passively cooled graphics cards could stand to receive a lot more attention. Graphics cards seem to be a stubborn hold out in terms of the progress of quiet computing - at least sort of. The 5770 was decent but only in Microsoft Windows and only after the drivers loaded.
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:03 am

With the 28nm process shrink, you should expect GPU power consumption to decrease significantly. That will make it possible to get more performance with less heat and noise.

GPUs have been stuck on the 40nm process since Radeon HD4770 was introduced in April of 2009. All Radeon HD5xxx GPUs, all Radeon HD6xxx GPUs, all but one evilly re-re-re-named GeForce GT 3xx GPU, all GeForce GT/GTX 4xx GPUs and all GeForce GT/GTX 5xx GPUs have been fabricated on TSMC's 40nm process.
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:20 pm

What is your usage model? Didn't think there was much gaming etc on Linux? Even 3D desktops can run on integrated graphics.

My thoughts on the silent cards is that the execution of these kinds of heat sinks is often marginal and does not have the kind attention to detail and will result in throttling etc if the case ventilation is not excellent. So I prefer an aftermarket product designed for silence after the card has shown it does not need an immediate RMA. The exception is when on of the manufacturers adopts a sink designed by someone like Arctic Cooling or Thermalright.

You have to be cautious though, I have been caught by a card with a non-standard fan connector.

Have a look at the VGA forum on spcr, it's always worth a look to find out what is current.
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:28 pm

There's no gaming on Linux but I do dual boot and the 5770's fan does not run as quietly on Linux as Windows.

Checking out the SPCR forum sounds like a good idea. I'm in no rush to decide and it might be best to wait for the next gen of cards and see what kind of price drops that brings to older cards.
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:33 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:With the 28nm process shrink, you should expect GPU power consumption to decrease significantly. That will make it possible to get more performance with less heat and noise.


Or they could just throw more transistors at the problem and create the same amount of heat and noise for more performance, that's never happened right?
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:16 am

The MSI 6850 has a dip switch with silent and performance fan settings, seems very quiet from the review.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/ ... on/27.html
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Re: Need a silent video card

Postposted on Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:43 am

anotherengineer wrote:The MSI 6850 has a dip switch with silent and performance fan settings, seems very quiet from the review.

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/ ... on/27.html

Wow, nice. That one goes on the short list. I was wondering yesterday why there is no MSI Cyclone 6870...
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