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High End Silent Cooling For Graphics Cards 199

Posted by michael
from the look-ma-no-fans dept.
SpinnerBait writes "With all the competition these days in the 3D Accelerator market, Graphics Card OEMs are doing anything they can to differentiate their products in a sea of competitive solutions. Recently board designs are getting even more exotic, with brightly colored PCBs, high end heat sink and fan combinations and even flashing lights for the case modders out there. However, a relatively new trend is Quiet Computing. HotHardware has an article up that showcases two new Radeon 9600 Pro and 9800 Pro cards from Sapphire Tech, that have rather impressive fanless coolers on them that are virtually silent. Great stuff for those of you gaming in the library."
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High End Silent Cooling For Graphics Cards

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  • by amichalo (132545) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:32PM (#6545585)
    I must be the only one out there but instead of the fancy packaging, colored circuit bords, flashing lights, included CD's filled with shareware games, and ... as of this article ... cooling devices fit for the Red October, I would like a graphics card that ...

    IS IN EXPENSIVE!

    Imagine that graphics card marketing departments. Keep your fluff and give me a lower cost card!

    Of other note, a card shardard for laptops so I could upgrade my PowerBook G4 would be huge for me, expecially as laptops become the PC of choice for the younger, more mobile 20 somethings.
    • Last month when I was building my new computer I was able to get a GeForce 4 (4xAGP, 64MB DDR) for $20 after rebate from Tiger Direct [tigerdirect.com]. Granted, it's not the greatest card in the world, and I've never been much of a gamer, but it should be enough for all but the most hardcore of gamers.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        For $20 I am assuming it was a GF4-MX and not a GF4-TI. THe MX is nothing more than a faster clocked GF-2 and only has DX-7 support.
      • Last month when I was building my new computer I was able to get a GeForce 4 (4xAGP, 64MB DDR) for $20 after rebate from Tiger Direct. Granted, it's not the greatest card in the world, and I've never been much of a gamer, but it should be enough for all but the most hardcore of gamers.

        Why was this reply modded down to 0:Troll? The parent asked for cheap graphics cards; this guy explained where to get one. A question was asked and answered. How is that a troll?

        I also bought a GeForce 4 MX from Newe
    • $45 - RADEON 9200 64MB
      $69 - RADEON 9100 128MB
      $61 - RADEON 9100 64MB
      $74 - RADEON 9000 Pro 128MB
      $67 - RADEON 9000 Pro 64MB
      $46 - RADEON 9000
      $61 - RADEON 9000 128MB
      $46 - RADEON 9000 64MB
      $64 - RADEON 8500
      $40 - RADEON 7500
      $55 - RADEON 7500 128MB
      $30 - RADEON 7000
      $59 - RADEON 64MB DDR VIVO
      $30 - RADEON 32MB DDR
      The lameness filter thinks, I should add some more . But I think the list above about covers it. Apparently There's still more to type so here goes:
      • I
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:56PM (#6545725)
      Prices are never going to get cheaper. Lowest performing card(for gaming crowd) will be <$75(Radeon9200, GF4-MX) Entry-level cards will always be $75-125(Radeon9500, GF4-Ti4200). Highest end will always be $300-400(Radeon9800, GF-FX). (Will increase due to inflation obviously).

      Why? The chipset designers(ati/nV) try to create one entry for each segment without too much overlap WRT pricing and performace between segments. No one is going to produce cards with older technology when they can use that manufacturing capacity to build other, newer, more profitable cards. Once production has ramped up it never gets cheaper to produce the cards. It does not cost any more to produce a top end card today than it would be to build a Voodoo3.
    • They make those, only cost a couple dollars. Don't do 3d to well, but you get what you pay for. This is a product designed to fill a niche, people who want a good card thats quiet and are willing to pay for it. If you aren't willing to pay for it, go buy a cheaper, noisy card, or a really cheap completely silent card. If there isnt a suffecient market for this the product will fail. And I dont know what you complaining about cost anyway. I bought my first voodoo 2 for over $200. I bought a Geforce 4
    • Of other note, a card shardard for laptops so I could upgrade my PowerBook G4 would be huge for me, expecially as laptops become the PC of choice for the younger, more mobile 20 somethings

      ATI with the new ATI Mobility GPUs are pushing a standard interface for being upgradeable.

      It is up to the manufacturers to take advantage of using this interface though, so with Apple, cross your fingers.

      In the PC world, there are a couple of manufacturers that are already supporting the ATI GPU with the upgradeable in
    • I got my Gainward FX 5200 for around $89. It too is passively cooled, but 3D performance is just above GeForce 2 levels. FWIW, it supports DirectX 9.

      It also runs ok under Mandrake 9.1, though you have to use the text install.

      Note that the passively cooled is plain old FX 5200, not FX 5200 ultimate, which has a buzzy fan.

      Jon Acheson
    • All you have to do to get an inexpensive card is buy a few steps behind the state of the art. Look at last years "best" offerings and see if you can't realistically deal with 30-50% less performance than the bleeding edge for 10-30% of the price.

      Now if you want the bleeding edge to be cheap, well, you're in the wrong market. Modern PC graphics performance is largely driven by gaming enthusiasts with substantial disposable income. As in people who are quite willing to spend $500 on a video card every yea
    • Keep your fluff and give me a lower cost card!

      There are plenty of very low-cost cards... What is your problem?

      Just quickly browsing pricewatch, I find:
      1MB PCI generic card for $4
      8MB AGP S3 Savage card for $11
      Same as above with TV-out for $12
      4MB AGP SIS card for $13
      4MB PCI Matrox card for $5
      16MB PCI NVidia TNT2 for $20

      So why do you say videocards are too expensive? You want the top of the line but expect to get it for $20?
  • by whiteranger99x (235024) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:32PM (#6545589) Journal
    Now i noticed that the 9800 Pro is so big, considering the size of the heat sink to disperse the heat generated, users would have to give up the adjacent PCI slot.

    I always thought in some computers the AGP slot and the 1st PCI slot had a shared IRQ, so this wouldn't be an issue...unless im mistaken, of course :P
    • Many new motherboards have 5 pci slots with the same layout that the 6 pci version would have and the first slot is removed. Just for this kind of graphics cards.

      It's definately a must have for my mobo in the future.
    • Also, NVidia's first generation FX cards (I'm not sure about the ones out now, I'm happy with my gf2mx400 64mb pci) had a fan under it that was large enough to take up the top pci slot.
    • It hasn't been a good idea to put things in the first PCI slot for a long time now, even without the shared IRQ worries. Fans need a decent amount of air around them in order to move the necessary air; if you've got a PCI card jammed up against the GPU fan, even one that doesn't generate much heat, you are almost guaranteed to get higher temps.

      To echo other posters, though, who needs to use all the other PCI slots on their board? I have one for my SCSI RAID setup, one for my NIC, and that's it (I'm runnin

  • With games being so noisy these days eg Command and Conquer, Quake etc - the noise of a fan on the graphics card hardly makes a difference! It'd be less fun playing them in silence....
  • by worst_name_ever (633374) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:33PM (#6545598)
    I could already have told you that pipe technology greatly enhances enjoyment of the pretty colors and swirly lights so common in today's high-end games.
  • by nother_nix_hacker (596961) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:34PM (#6545599)
    ...because my graphics card is louder than my sound card at the moment! :)
    • PREDICTION: A forthcoming patch for linux to modulate the fan on your video card to produce sound. Now you just need your video/sound combo card for a new multimedia experience! ATI and NVida will then list the decible output as a line item.
  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:37PM (#6545614)
    The problem is that the heatsink is just dumping heat into the cavity of your case, and you will need some serious (and loud) fans to remove it from there. I hate to say it, but only Apple is in a position to make PCs that have wholistic quitet cooling systems installed.

    I think that NVidia were actually on the right track by blowing out the GPU heat into the outside air rather than into the case. Of course, their fan was a monster, but I imagine that this could be done better with a cooler GPU like ATI's.

    • nvidia was on the wrong track. they HAD to blow the air out of the case because it was so damn hot it would overheat (but that was just due to ridiculous overclocking to compete with ATI). and blowing air will always be noisy, especially if blowing it through small holes.

      the key imo is watercooling for high-end cards, and generating less heat for the mid/low-end cards. AFAIK some .13 micron ATI cards only need passive heatsinks.
      • The real future (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Gossy (130782) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @03:48PM (#6546022)
        This is where it's really at.

        http://www.directron.com/fanless.html

        It's a Zalman case that is coming soon. It will cost a lot - but the entire case acts as a big heatsink. They claim it can easily cool the hottest GPU & CPU's out there, assuming your PC room isn't a furnace, I presume. :)

        Here's a japanese link verifying Zalman as the people behind it. http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/akiba/hotline/20030 712/etc_tnn500a.html

        This is the holy grail for silent computing enthusiasts!

        • Re:The real future (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Go to Zalman's forums. They say it will be available in the US in September for $900 to $1100.
        • Apple has already done this with their iMac flat panels. The entire inside of an iMac is a big metal heatsync. Through heat tubing, the heat is channeled off the proc to meet up and be disippated through the whole case. One fan sucks air from the bottom vents to blow the heat out. Very elegant.
        • It looks very interesting, but for the price, I think I'd rather make a hush box for a standard case. Also, I don't see any provisions for removable media.

          I am fine with my current arrangement, I have a relatively quiet computer, sitting on some carpet, under a desk with accoustical panels behind it.

          I don't have a graphics card with a fan on it though.
    • The Radeon ships with a heatsink/fan combo which generates just as much case heat, heat being a function of the work the video card does and nothing else. Why would this replacement cooler require additional case fans? Answer: it only does if you're hyping Apple.
    • The problem is that the heatsink is just dumping heat into the cavity of your case


      Umm, yea, and that's what most cards DO!

      Nvidia may have been on the right track, but then their card produces MASSIVE quantities of heat. ATI doesn't get that hot (comparitivly speaking)

    • Of course, their fan was a monster, but I imagine that this could be done better with a cooler GPU like ATI's.

      Or better case design. Take for example Apple's new G5 [apple.com]. Apple made sure that the case has multiple zones with independent temperature controlled fans than can spin at lower RPM's depending upon the heat load. Of course this means you have more fans, but overall the system is much quieter.

    • The problem is that the heatsink is just dumping heat into the cavity of your case

      As compared to a fan, which blows magic pixie dust on the heat to make it go away. :) Seriously, though, if the card isn't overheating without a fan, then the fan is basically just generating more heat.

      Notice, by the way, where that heat pipe sends some of the heat from the GPU. It transfers it to the large heatsink on the "bottom" of the card. In a standard case, the "bottom" of the AGP video card is closer to the rear
  • Virtually silent? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chabotc (22496) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ctobahc}> on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:38PM (#6545622) Homepage
    ..fanless coolers on them that are virtually silent..

    Care to explain how graphic cards with no fans, no moving parts at all are virtually silent? The cooling solution is totally passive, and thus makes no noice at all.. if it does, something went very, very wrong and it's probably the sound of the heavy cooling solution breaking your motherboard or graphic card ;-)
    • Re:Virtually silent? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Inductors hum, capacitors explode, resistors melts, ICs whine, etc... Both of my electric razors and my fast ethernet switch have power supplies that make a quiet twittering noise.
    • This is a perfectly valid question. How is it Offtopic?

      I too am left wondering what sort of noise this card generates. I had expected a heatsink without a fan to be completely silent. Why is this "virtually silent"?
  • Does anyone know how long the typical lifespan of such a heatsink is? Would it survive longer than a typical fan-based heatsink?
    I run my boxes 24x7 and it seems that in a dusty environment - such as my appartment - all fans need to be replaced every year or so.
    This liquid-in-a-pipe concept seems like it might be a solution for my problem.
    • Re:Typical lifespan? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Simon (815) * <simon AT simonzone DOT com> on Sunday July 27, 2003 @03:57PM (#6546089) Homepage
      Does anyone know how long the typical lifespan of such a heatsink is? Would it survive longer than a typical fan-based heatsink? I run my boxes 24x7 and it seems that in a dusty environment - such as my appartment - all fans need to be replaced every year or so.

      I think you just answered your own question. :-) In my experiance fans are _the_ most unreliable components in my systems. I'm using quality fans now and I've replace all fans on my GFX cards with heatsinks.

      I imagine that a heat pipe would last much much longer than any fan. For a start they have almost no moving parts (well, no fiction really), and most of all no _exposed_ moving parts. (The pipe contains a liquid that moves/pumps heat by changing to a gas and back again.)

      --
      Simon

      • all fans need to be replaced every year or so.

        That's odd. Maybe you need to look for better fans? My case (through 2 upgrades since its original 500Mhz installation) still has the original fans and only now one of them is starting to rattle (just add oil). I smoke, and live quite a filthy lifestyle where vacuuming and dusting was a fad. It's probably been 3 or more years and they still work just fine, after removing the wads of dusty from the fan grill. I might suspect maybe the stability of the power fe
  • by bahamat (187909) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:41PM (#6545643) Homepage
    No big news. All they did was take a Zalman [zalman.co.kr] vga cooler and package it with the card.

    The only thing that really makes this significant, is that if it comes with the card you can't void your warranty by placing something "too heavy" on it.
  • by gagy (675425) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:42PM (#6545647) Homepage Journal
    I've been sleeping next to noisy computers for most of my life. Back in the BBS era I'd have things download overnight, so I'm rather used to to all the noise. But if I was overly concerned with the noise, I wouldn't really care about the vid. card. There are much noisier components in a system, mainly the powersupply and some hard drives can be quite loud. People are now installing two or three case fans as well, adding to the cunundrum. I really don't think that adding one more noisy object to the mix would change things.

    I know that some people spend their fortunes on quiet powersupplies and sound insulation and these cards might be what they're looking for, but for the most part they're a small nieche market.
    • High-end video cards are pretty noisy these days, actually. One of the GeForceFX cards has a fan that many reviewers have likened to a leaf-blower.
    • I recently upgraded my box with 'quiet' components and it wasn't too difficult or expensive. I took off the stock AMD Athlon heatsink/fan combo and installed a ThermalRight SLK-800 ($40) [plycon.com] heatsink and an Pabst 8412N ($17) [siliconacoustics.com] 80 mm fan. I also took off the rear 80 mm fan on my case and replaced it with a Pabst (another $17). For the power supply, I put in a Nexus NX-3000 ($75) [siliconacoustics.com].

      For around $150 total, the improvement was pretty dramatic. The only sound I hear from my box now is the hard drive, and if that ev

    • I wouldn't really care about the vid. card. There are much noisier components in a system, mainly the powersupply and some hard drives can be quite loud

      HD's these days are amazingly quiet. PSU's don't tend to be that loud. CPU's and GPU's are the two hottest components in most systems, and GPU's tend to be squeezed into very tight areas, meaning their fans are often rather powerful to offset the small heatsink. Consequently, GPU coolers on modern GFX cards can be one of, if not THE loudest parts of a sy

    • I just recently replaced the heat-sink on my wife's computer with a much larger heat-sink that uses a 120MM fan to move air over the heat-sink at low RPMs. After doing this, I spent two minutes trying to figure out where the fan noise was coming from. Turns out it was the graphics card, with a little tiny fan right on the GPU that makes an amazing amount of noise given its size. It is the loudest fan in her computer now. By far.

    • I've been sleeping next to noisy computers for most of my life.

      I've slept near some noisy computers for a long time, but I'm a very deep sleeper, and even I am now incredibly annoyed by the sound of a PC. After a few years, even the most plesant sound can get on your nerves. But more than that, I'm getting annoyed because new computers produce an order of magnitude more heat than older computers, meaning much much louder cooling solutions. To make things worse, cheaper cooling products are much louder t

  • Enough! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:42PM (#6545650)
    Slashdotters love to make fun of soccer moms driving big, fuel wasting SUVs, then these same people go out and get monster graphics cards that need crazy cooling nonsense. In all honesty, maybe we've crossed the line here? The little benefit these cards are resulting in (remember, 98% of all games still aren't making use of pixel shaders) is not worth all of the energy waste, not to mention all the wasted materials that go into heat sinks and heat pipes and all of that.
    • Re:Enough! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gearheadsmp (569823)
      remember, 98% of all games still aren't making use of pixel shaders

      Ah, but what you're forgetting is that a vast majority of the games published any given day are crap. Just ask you're nearest game reviewer (ie PC Gamer, Gamespy, etc).
    • 98% of all games still aren't making use of pixel shaders

      And 80% of games are in 2 dimensions. What's your point?
      I realize this statistic is fictitious and was hastily pulled from my ass; so was yours.

      Most PC applications don't require much more than a 300 MHz CPU and 96 MB of system RAM. What's your point?

      HDTV is being pushed as a standard but most people don't even have S-Video inputs on their televisions. What's your point?

      Some people like technology. Some people like quality better, speed faster, a
    • Re:Enough! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by freeweed (309734)
      Amazingly enough, not every one of the hundreds of thousands of people that visit Slashdot think the exact same thing on a particular subject. Some of us even drive SUVs.

      Wow! Individual thought! Whod'a thunk it?
    • You can't even remotely compare the small ammount of heat given off by a videocard to the pollution given off by an SUV... That's ridiculous!

      You might as well say that cigarette smokers don't have any right to complain about pollution...

      But, besides the point, I happen to HATE hot computer components... Only a small part of that is environmental (appropriate, since they only do a small bit, if any, environmental damage) and I don't buy any videocards that run so hot they need a fan... Hey, guess what,
  • What about... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enigma1625 (544974) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:44PM (#6545662) Homepage
    water cooling? It is becoming more popular and I can only imagine prices will start to become more reasonable. Completely silent, and more effective than fans/heatsinks; what more could you ask for?
    • what more could you ask for?

      A dry computer?
    • Is water cooling convection powered? I thought that the water cooling method needed a water pump and a fan. With that, I don't understand how it is completely silent.
    • Thermaltake Aquarius II [thermaltake.com], £60 for an all-included watercooling kit. Reasonable enough for you?

      Not completely silent, but 29dBA isn't that far off.
  • by steronz (307926) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:46PM (#6545676) Homepage
    It should be noted that the same coolers have been available from Zalman for some time. That they're now packaged from the factory with this cards should hardly be newsworthy.
  • First of all the GPU cooler in use is similar in technology to the heat sink used in Shuttle systems. Furthmore while this GPU cooler has low noise levels it takes up a lot of space it seems, blocking at least one PCI slot. This was a problem for a lot of people who saw the GeForce FX series of heat sinks for the first time. So I find it funny if ATI card holders did not care or something. But yeah the worst thing you have to worry about as far as noise is your power supply. My Asus FX card is damn near unr
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @02:53PM (#6545705)
    When I was a kid my mother used to tell me that silence is golden. I hated to hear those words then. Now I know that she was right.

    I am bloody sick of loud ass hard drives and fans and everything else. The fans are no big deal but the hard drives are the real problem.
    I've yet to see a hard drive that doesn't scream like a small dog in pain. That noise goes through your head like a bayonet.

    I'm building a huge cabinet to put *ALL* of my equipment in made out of an old soda water cooler from a drive in store. It's sound proof and thermally it will keep the heat in so I can duct it out through the ceiling, thus keeping the computer room cool and saving money on the AC cooling bill. It gets damn hot with all the PC's and laserjets and stuff running..

    Let's get some quiet hard drives too folks..
    I'm really sick of noisy machines. I'd even like to have a silent fridge if they make one..

    • ...yet to see a hard drive that doesn't scream like a small dog in pain...

      Western Digital 800 (80GB) special ed is silent. I cannot hear it at all.

      On a related note, congratulations on the superpower. Let me be the first to dub you "Sight For Sore Ears Man."
    • by Simon (815) * <simon AT simonzone DOT com> on Sunday July 27, 2003 @03:49PM (#6546029) Homepage
      Have you tried suspending your drives? [silentpcreview.com] It can be done cheaply and makes a big difference.

      There are some good drives these days that are very quiet. Seagate Barracuda series drives are legendary among the Quiet PC crowd. Although other manufacturers are also bringing out quiet drives.

      If you really want a silent computer you might as well get some information:

      How to Quiet the Thing [7volts.com]
      Silent PC Review [silentpcreview.com]

      --
      Simon

    • by Cordath (581672) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:13PM (#6546557)
      Or...

      You could save a lot of effort and just build a quiet PC. In my experience it's a lot cheaper and easier to eliminate noise by the careful selection of noise generating components rather than building large enclosures. Enclosures you might think would block noise can often actually *amplify* it by acting like a horn or resonator.

      Anyways... Here are my current picks for a quiet PC:

      Overclocking: Don't

      CPU Heatsink: Heatsinks change so fast that giving you specific models is pointless. However, as a general rule, if it comes with it's own fan, chances are it's too freakin' loud. Stock HSF combo's from Intel and AMD are right out. Look for a hefty heatsink with a lot of surface area made out of a conductive metal like copper. You can find heat dissipation spec's for most heatsinks online. Odds are you will have to spend 50 bucks or so here, but it's one place not to cheap out. Don't forget to use thermal paste when you install it!

      CPU Fan: If you have a good heatsink installed properly you won't need a freakin' hoover to keep your CPU running cool. The minimum ammount of airflow you'll need is going to depend on how much heat your CPU generates and how well your heatsink dissipates heat. I've found that even a 20CFM (cubic feet per minute) fan will do well even on a high end athlon if you have the right heatsink. For comparison, some stock fans do upwards of 120CFM.

      Graphics Card Cooling: Go passive. Buy a card with a passive cooler or replace the fan. Those little wussy fans they put on graphics card may look innocuous, but many are cheap pieces of crap that will develop a high-pitched and loud whine in short order. Cheap fans, no matter how small, are the bane of silent computing.

      Motherboard Cooling: Ditto. If it has a fan, replace it with a heatsink or don't buy it in the first place. The latter is my personal choice.

      Hard-Drives: Once I would have written pages on suspension techniques, enclosures, network booting, etc. to tell you how to avoid noisy hard-drives. Now I can just tell you to buy Seagate Barracuda's. While other manufacturers are closing the gap, these suckers still have a hefty 6dB lead on anything WD has, and a wider lead for any other manufacturer.

      Case Fans: Guess what. 20CFM fans are all you need here too. I usually have one blow into the case over the hard-drives and another blow out of the case by the CPU cooler, but there are other configurations you can use. The key thing here it to pick high-quality quiet fans. I swear by 20CFM Panaflo's. Three of them (2 case fans, 1 CPU fan) will not be audible over even a very quiet PSU. These fans are about $15 CAD, so aren't bank breakers either. You can get fans that move more air, but don't bother unless you find you need that extra airflow. If you do, add more low-CFM fans to work in parallel rather than installing high-CFM fans. Note that Panaflo makes other 80mm fans with more airflow, but they are much louder. Stick with the 20CFM fanss.

      Power Supply Units: If you've built the rest of your machine properly, the fans in your PSU will be the *only* thing you normally hear. I consider PSU's to be the one item that is lagging behind the rest out there. You can pay a fortune for a fanless PSU such as those TK Power makes, or you can buy a PSU with too much fan noise. Things are getting better though. Antec's Truepower PSU's are high-quality units that are pretty quiet and are also very affordable. They're lightyears ahead of anything Enermax makes anyways. I'd try one of them out first and see if it's too loud for you before resorting to more extreme measures. After that, you can try opening up the PSU and modding the fans to run on lower voltage or use different fans. If all else fails, you can go fanless, but it will cost you bigtime!

      Water-cooling: Since the PSU in a system built under these guidelines is all you'll hear, if you aren't willing to watercool your PSU then there's no point to it at all. Watercooled PSU's have yet to go mainstream, so this is heavy modding territory. I have encountered many watercooling systems where the water-pump alone is noisier than three of my systems. Watercooling isn't where it's at... yet. It may be the future though.
    • I've yet to see a hard drive that doesn't scream like a small dog in pain

      Western Digital hard drives seem to be significantly quieter than the same generation Maxtor hard drives.

      Also, the newer the hard drive, the quieter they seem to be... My old 6.4 GB Maxtor HDD sounds like a small tin chainsaw... Meanwhile, my 100GB Western Digital harddrive is very very quiet.

      Also, you can do quite a bit about the noise as well, other than improving the components. What I do is to place towers on the floor, under

  • They are using a heatsink?

    Um... yeah.

    I'm going back to bed, wake me if anything worth knowing happens.
  • I dig the loud PC. I start the thing up and it sounds like one of those backpack leaf blowers.
  • by johnny6vasquez (688226) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @03:03PM (#6545774)
    The sound was driving me crazy one day so I got out the hacksaw.

    Just take any old stock AMD or P4 heatsink and chop it in half. I didn't have proper heatsink fasteners on my card so drilled it out and zip tied it down. The bottom is still smooth and the paste was properly applied.

    The only problem was getting the stock fan off as it was glued on. I put my card in a ziplock bag
    and chucked it in the freezer for half an hour. Then I used a screwdriver to pry off the fan assembly (with an old library card to protect the pcb).

    Check it out (it's not a swiss watch but it gets the job done).

    Pic 1: http://fullcircletraining.com/images/quiet1.jpg [fullcircletraining.com]

    Pic 2: http://fullcircletraining.com/images/quiet2.jpg [fullcircletraining.com]

    You can see I did the same thing to the northbridge on the motherboard.

    happy modding.
    j.
  • virtually silent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by verbatim_verbose (411803) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @03:08PM (#6545798)
    Huh... virtually silent? Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how a large block of aluminum can be anything more than completely silent. ;)
    • You mean you can't hear the sounds of electrons whizzing around an Aluminum nucleus? Or the ever-annoying ping of cosmic rays bouncing off nuclei??
    • Huh... virtually silent? Maybe it's just me, but I don't see how a large block of aluminum can be anything more than completely silent. ;)

      It's not just a large block of aluminium: There's liquid in parts of the cooler. I sure hope it is also completely silent, too. What really matters is that there are no mechanical pieces involved, so your point remains valid.
  • Fan reliability (Score:5, Informative)

    by BWJones (18351) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @03:13PM (#6545823) Homepage Journal
    The other issue we are going to be having is fan reliability. In servers, we can tell if fans go bad through notification. However, when the fan on my GeForceTi gave up the ghost last week, I only knew about it because I was in the case adding a card. With the proliferation of fans in computers, I would like to see either 1) built in software checks to identify fan status, or 2) more efficient passive cooling techniques that don't require fans. Having a truly silent PC on your desk is pretty nice as illustrated by the Apple Cube connected to a flat panel. Totally silent as opposed to my other workstations (Apple included).

    • Re:Fan reliability (Score:3, Informative)

      by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)
      Two things:

      1: The G4 cube is nowhere near "totally silent" for one reason: hard drive noise. The only reason we don't hear the spinning in most PCs is because of the fans.

      2: HDD noise will decrease over time; I have two Samsung Spinpoint P40 drives which have a DSP designed to reduce seek noise. So the objective should be to make fan noise less loud than the HDD spin noise. Many of the HP Compaq workstations accomplish this with quiet, thermally managed fans.

      So, completely passive cooling is nice. Heck,
  • When are these things going to require something like water or peltier cooling? The Radeon9700/9800 and GF-FX5800/5900 already exceed the AGP3.0 spec for power consumption and require a direct connection from the power supply. Radeon 9700: 54W, GF-FX 5800: 74W.

    The FX-5900 must use less power since they were able to ditch the giant cooler.

    Any idea on the type of power consumption that would mandate something beyond air cooling?
  • ...for the Apple trendwhores, right? Because nothing says style and performance like a purple neon card inside your computer. WTF?

    I wonder what these casemodders are going to do for lifestyle status symbolism when personal computing devices finally shrink out of sight over the next decade? Paint their smartcards with glow-in-the-dark paint? Have the OLED display woven into the back of their shirt display the SETI@Home screensaver with a message like "345,000 work units complete, beeyatches!"?

    --

  • When my system is running hot, I'll toss a couple of ice cubes onto my video card.

    Totally silent.

    Usually then my system crashes and goes down for a day or so and during that time it almost never overheats.

    Pretty efficient if you ask me.
  • It was like 10 years ago when we all had fun with "prince of persia" in the all mighty's XT @8mHz...

    I mean the whole computer world has evolved, into GPU's that are faster than CPU's 12 months old, using big smart busses (128, 256 even 512 bits), using DDR3 technology...

    I had a XT, and i spent almost the same daily hours playing that i currently spend today... is just me or is the same but bigger, faster and stronger?
  • You might also want to check out the Leadtek A300TD [leadtek.com] (pictures are unfortunately not working). It's a GF FX with a different cooling design. Basically they wrapped the entire video card in an aluminum box, then stuck two angled fans in the housing. I read all the FX reviews like everyone else and got nervous about the fan noise, but I can't hear this card at all over my power supply fan. (I was actually worried that the fans might not be working, but the card stays a relatively cool 62C. The cutoff is 1
  • by Chymaera (607989) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @04:12PM (#6546198)
    Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com] also has a review [tomshardware.com] of this Zalman heatsink and the Sapphire Atlantis Radeon 9700 PRO Ultimate Edition.
  • by E1v!$ (267945) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @04:32PM (#6546320) Homepage
    These cards are just standard card's running Zalman's ZM80 [zalman.co.kr] cooler.

    I bought one of these for my GF3 and found the kit well made, and easy to install. Overall a good setup.

    I later bought a Sapphire 9700 Pro Ultimate Edition with a ZM80 pre-installed (just like the cards above). The heat synch was improperly aligned, the conduction tube was bent away from the sync and almost NO thermal compound was evident between the tube and the heat sync plates. (Zalman's install instructions stress the importance of maximizing contact area between the plates and the tube)

    I WOULD buy another ZM80, but I wouldn't buy another sapphire card with one pre installed. :(

    IMO stay away from these cards. buy a regular version, and install a passive cooler yourself.
  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @05:36PM (#6546684)
    With all the competition these days in the 3D Accelerator market

    The vast majority of consumer PCs ship with one of the following:

    1. Intel Extreme Graphics 2 (a motherboard chipset roughly equivalent to a TNT2).
    2. GeForce 4 MX (essentially GeForce 2 with more fillrate, but without programmable shaders).

    The little bit of competition is all at rather small high-end of the market, with nVidia and ATI out diddling each other by a few percent every couple of months. Hardware fanboys excepted, this is uninteresting.
    • The vast majority of consumer PCs ship with one of the following:

      1. Intel Extreme Graphics 2 (a motherboard chipset roughly equivalent to a TNT2).
      2. GeForce 4 MX (essentially GeForce 2 with more fillrate, but without programmable shaders).


      Latest Mercury numbers indicate that Intel has under 30% graphics market share, and nVidia's integrated solution adds another 9% (half of the total AMD market). Vast majority? It's not even majority!

      Look around for data to confirm things you hear from others before you
      • Latest Mercury numbers indicate that Intel has under 30% graphics market share, and nVidia's integrated solution adds another 9% (half of the total AMD market). Vast majority? It's not even majority!

        The GeForce 4 MX is not "nVidia's integrated solution." Sorry. It's the bottom-end card from nVidia that's the default in almost all machines from Dell.
  • by luekj (692478) on Sunday July 27, 2003 @08:59PM (#6547690) Journal
    I recently purchased a Sapphire 9700;

    It may have not come with a fancy heavy heat sink, but it sure heated up to the point of automatic self-destruction pretty well without much prompting from myself. Needless to say, it was pretty dissapointing.

    When I got the replacement in the mail I had to cool it with a smaller house fan until I went out and purchased a pci fan and placed it RIGHT NEXT to it.

    So, no wonder they're pushing these big cooling rigs.......

    • Be smart, don't give in to the computer heat-ocracy. I go out of my way to buy videocards that don't have fans on them... That's how I know it doesn't run very hot.

      If they want to push anything, they should push devices that run a LOT cooler (even if they are more expensive). Forget about global warming, I'm concerned with home warming... I don't want my house to be 150F degrees just because I leave my computer running.

      No wonder Apple is doing so well.

  • I love my "silent" computer. It isn't totally silent but the fans in the TV entertainment systems are louder than it.

    The mainstay was getting a silent case(Antec Sonata-Highly recomended) and powersupply. The case has some sound reducing material in the front and a quiet power supply. Using a large heat sink on the processor and a low RPM fan i keep my CPU very cool. I put the Zalman VGA cooler on my 9500 pro and it not only runs great, but actually it also runs cooler.

    The only case fan i have is a larg

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