I've got 8 days to reconfigure the setup I've ordered from an etailer and I'm having such a problem deciding on VGA.
Atm I've chosen an Asus 7900GTX card to go with my P5W DH, but I'm really keen on the 7950GX2. The problem is that I'm building a silent system and you can't put an aftermarket cooler on the 7950.
Therefore I'm asking all of you who have had any experience with the 7950:
How are the sound levels? Compared to other cards?
My future setup:
Intel Core2D E6600
Scythe Ninja +Papst fan
Asus P5W DH
2 Gb Corsair TWIN2X PC6400
2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320Gb
Seasonic S12 600W
Antec P180 w. Nexus Real Silent Case fans
Creative X-Fi Extreme music
Probable VGA Setup: Asus 7900 GTX 512Mb +Zalman VF900-Cu cooling
Asus 7950GX2 1 Gb
you are correct in the fact that it would be a major pain to take that fan off the 7950gx2. it can be done but as you know you would have to take the heatsink off with it.
god i could slap the engineers who came up with this crazy cooling solution. before i had my 6800GS i had an ATI 9800PRO , took the heatsink off and put a zalman heatpipe on it. it didn't require a fan.
i had a very quiet system.
all these new cards have a loud whine fan on it that is like chinese water torture.
Wait more than 9 months before replacing your card, however because you could feed a third-World village with that money for at least a year!
I would say that the 7900GTX card is still going to be a good card, even half-way through the lifespan of Microsoft's DX10 software. I reckon DX10 cards will be a lot more powerful but that power won't be fully utilised for a good long while, until which your 7900GTX will just be working harder and harder for you.
Go for the 7900GTX and you'll love it. The whole range of 7600GT, 7900GT and 7900GTX range cards are all superb right now and I don't think anyone's been complaining that they've been getting poor performance for their money.
Ebay your 7900GTX a little way down the line and it'll help fund your new card... the 10950?
But 3rd party cooler are quieter and usually more efficient (and also seem to come more often than not with better thermal interface). If you get a mediocre HSF, take it off, apply some better thermal compound like Arctic Ceramique, and then slap the HSF back on, it might help reduce the number of time the HSF spin up to the higher speeds.
Also see if you can't get an HSF that take the air out of your case for nV, because the standard cooler on the GTX splits the waste air 50% into your case, 50% out of your case, wherease the ATi stock design, and even better HIS' IceQ3 HSF remove almost all the heat from your system.
The HIS IceQ2 is pretty much the same as the reference design (which really just co-opts the same Arctic Cooling HSF.;
That's why sometimes the board mfrs find better coolersthat are wiser choices. The thing is I can't find any nV partners who add better HSFs than nV's stock, so someone else might need to help out if they know of anyone (eVGA and Gainward would be my usual first check because they don't just OC, but actually get custom solutions, but there's nothing I found for the GTX that ejects all the heat other than adding one yourself [don't see GF7900 support for an nV silencer, surprised Rev3 doesn't have GF7900 listed, but may be due to component placement).
Since the sound levels are unacceptable on BOTH the 7900GTX and the X1900XTX, I will be forced to put on an after market HSF no matter which one I choose. So then I'm not restricted to picking the nVidia card anymore.
Therefore I'll go for a standard Asus X1900XTX and slap on either an Accelero X2 or a Zalman VF900-Cu. Because I choose the ATI card, I could go xFire in the future in case of prices dropping to an agreeable level.
You guys are great, helps a lot to read your thoughts on the subject.