BFG unveils passively cooled GeForce 9800 GT

Modern graphics cards sport a wealth of custom and stock cooling devices, but very few of them do away with fans altogether—unless you’re shopping at the bottom of the bargain bin, that is. BFG Tech apparently wants to mix things up a little, because it’s introduced a passively cooled version of Nvidia’s popular GeForce 9800 GT.

BFG’s GeForce 9800 GT 512MB with ThermoIntelligence Passive Cooling Solution (a.k.a. BFGE98512GTHE) has the same specifications as all stock 9800 GTs: 112 stream processors, a 600MHz core speed, a 256-bit memory interface, and 512MB of GDDR3 memory ticking at 900MHz. However, the only cooling device visible at the front of the card is a little block covering the GPU with heat pipes poking out the top. Those heat pipes hook up to a large, passive heatsink that covers much of the back area.

The card presumably uses a 55nm graphics processor, so assuming it ends up in a well-ventilated machine, passive cooling probably isn’t such an impractical idea. Besides, BFG covers this puppy with a lifetime or 10-year warranty if you register within 30 days of your purchase.

BFG’s new card has already popped up on Newegg, and it looks like there’s a hefty premium associated with it. Newegg charges $159.99, even though some 9800 GTs are available for as little as $110. Incidentally, $160 is more than what many speedier Radeon HD 4850s cost. (Thanks to Fudzilla for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • PRIME1
    • 10 years ago

    l[<$160 is more than what many speedier Radeon HD 4850s cost<]l Passively cooled Radeon 4850s?

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 10 years ago

    I got the passive ECS 9600GT a good while back for like $100. It didn’t really cost any more than the other 9600GTs.

    There was a 9800GT with the EXACT same heatsink, and it was also $50+ more than the rest, making it almost $200 at the time, which was completely ridiculous, considering that there’s no real difference in their performance.

    The Gigabyte passive 4850 also had/has quite a price premium. I guess they have no competitor, but still.

    It amazes me that there are so few passive cards, and that whenever it’s for something over the $100 price range, they sometimes command a 50% price premium, despite the fact that many average priced cards have nearly equally over the top heatsinks, but with a fan.

    • SonicSilicon
    • 10 years ago

    Passive cooling and a Molex connector seems to be at odds with each other.

      • Firestarter
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, no kidding. How is something that burns more than PCIe spec power going to stay cool without some forced aircooling?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        I had a 4850 with a passive Accelero S2 and it cooled it much better than the stock cooler. Case airflow was pretty minimal too, just an 800 RPM Scythe Slipstream intake and a 500RPM Slipstream+PSU exhaust.

        • sluggo
        • 10 years ago

        PCIe bus power is limited by /[

    • thebluebumblebee
    • 10 years ago

    But, will it Fold 24/7??????

      • Kulith
      • 10 years ago

      the fan wont die

    • edh
    • 10 years ago

    I think the Gigabyte GV-R485MC-1GH and new variant 1GI — Radeon HD 4850 w/ 1GB GDDR3 — are currently the most powerful, passively-cooled video cards. Mine, running two 24″ wide-screen monitors, seems to perform flawlessly with temps that seldom venture above 50 degrees C in my Lian Li PC-V1000Z case (which includes a 140cm exhaust fan mounted over the expansion card slot area).

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    This should’ve appeared over half a year ago.

      • sluggo
      • 10 years ago

      It did, sort of. At least, I did it a year ago. You can do it now for a lot less money. Just buy a stock 9800GT for $100 and add an AC Accels2 for $22. Works a treat.

        • jackaroon
        • 10 years ago

        I agree that they ought do the good cooling right from the starting gate. It’s not like you have to start from scratch with each new chip. People have been cooling the hot and quieting the loud graphics cards for quite a while.

    • SecretMaster
    • 10 years ago

    That heatsink looks identical to the HR-03 I strapped on my X1900XTX. It did a damn good job of cooling it.

    • gtoulouzas
    • 10 years ago

    Well, there’s already a passively cooled Gigabyte 4850 making the rounds for 180 euros around my parts of the world (http://www.e-shop.gr/show_per.phtml?id=PER.516194), so I can’t say I’m all that impressed.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 10 years ago

    Cool. I vote for more of these. I wonder if it can automatically drop clock-speeds/voltage if the card gets too hot.

    • eitje
    • 10 years ago

    q[

    • ludi
    • 10 years ago

    $110 for a conventional card, $30-40 for a passive heatsink getup, a prayer to ensure that the sink is actually suitable for passive cooling on this card, an hour to install it, and a spare bullet in case you overtorque the video card and destroy $110.

    The price isn’t that unreasonable.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      I agree it’s reasonable. This looks like a Thermalright heatsink? Maybe an HR-03 Rev A which runs about $45 on its own and provides very good cooling with a little case airflow.

    • Gerbil Jedidiah
    • 10 years ago

    I honestly wonder how a lot of these videocard manufacturers make money. There are so many options. I think it would be interesting to see a graph showing how many cards are sold across several different brands and models.

      • Farting Bob
      • 10 years ago

      BFG generally have 2 versions of each nivida card: A ref clocked board and an OC one. Some of the higher end ones will have 1GB versions as well as 512. They can do this easily because they all use the same basic chip and depending on its quality will either be ref or OC’ed, so it doesnt really cost them much more to offer different versions.

    • ub3r
    • 10 years ago

    Garbage…

      • porov
      • 10 years ago

      So is your face.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Yeah, how about no?

    Might be good for HTPCs where games are played, but that’s gotta be a small market.

      • jap0nes
      • 10 years ago

      Might be good for all those lazy people (like me) who dont want:
      -noise
      -dust
      -clean the dust
      -noise associated to the dust

        • Lazier_Said
        • 10 years ago

        Dust doesn’t come from a one slot (ie. non-exhaust) video fan stirring air within the case, it comes from case fans drawing external air – and dust – through the case.

        Going without a video fan requires better through-case airflow, ergo more dust.

          • ludi
          • 10 years ago

          Yeah, but a local fan tends to pack it into the heatsink fins and create more of a maintenance headache.

        • Vasilyfav
        • 10 years ago

        Noise associated with the dust?.. I’ve tried to understand what that could have possibly meant, but I just don’t see it.
        If you mean that dust gets into the fan mechanism which then fails which then causes noise then…yeah…ok… Never seen or heard about it before, but I guess it’s possible.

          • jap0nes
          • 10 years ago

          Unless you live inside a datacenter or some kind of clean room, dust WILL get into the fan, and it WILL stop or do some kind of annoying noise.

      • eitje
      • 10 years ago

      the silent PC enthusiast is also a target for this card.

        • khands
        • 10 years ago

        Yeah, my dad like’s as few fans as possible in his machines. He’s currently running a 9600GT, may like to know about the available upgrade.

        • jpostel
        • 10 years ago

        I’m not totally anal, but I don’t want fan noise if I can help it. CPU and GPU fans tend to be whinier than bigger slower case fans.

        I don’t overclock, so passive cooling is my preference.

      • Voldenuit
      • 10 years ago

      My Radeon 4850 is cooled with an Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 (aftermarket).

      The BFG looks like it is using a Thermalright HR-03, which should be more than sufficient for a 9800GT (and even a 55nm GTX260).

      If they can drop the price a little, this will be very popular with the silent computing crowd.

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