Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Please help me choose a "fanless" video card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
Share
March 1, 2007 12:59:11 AM

I have a Dell Optiplex GX280. I want to buy a video card that is
fanless (IE: Silent) and draws low power. My Dell Mini Tower has
a smallish power supply but I have read that a G-Force 6800OC
works just fine but I want something fanless. (PCI Express)

I tried a cheap OEM ATI X600 off Ebay for $20 but when I look at
text, it is not as sharp as the slower integrated video port on the
motherboard so I took it out.

I only play games from MAME so my Video performance needs are
extremely modest. I just need Fanless, Low-Power, and Super Sharp
text. The integrated video port seems just a Tad too slow for games.
Since I don't need a lot of speed, I was hoping to spend $50-$99.
Don't care if it's ATI or Nvidia. Just whatever is the best deal that
matches my stated needs.. fast/fanless/sharp/cheap/LowPowerDraw

BTW: There is a huge difference in text "sharpness" with video cards.
I bought a Saphire brand AGP card for my Dad's computer and the
text was not nearly as sharp as the Retail ATI BRAND AGP model I
bought for almost 2x the price from CC. They were the
same speed but the ATI Retail brand was sharper with better colors..

Please help...
Thanks so much.
March 1, 2007 1:17:50 AM

I just purchased a Gigabyte 7600GS for my system and the text is sharper and cleaner than it was. Games run a lot better also. There is no fan and the minimum power requirements are a 300W power supply. No crap about amps on 12V rails. This card is SLI ready also. Bought at newegg for $111 including 3day shipping. There is a 15 Mail in rebate.
March 1, 2007 1:21:43 AM

xfx 7950 GT
this is not a low power supply but its not a high power one - i am not sure but its probably too high for you.

7300LE or 6200LE any of the low end cards come in fanless designs
Related resources
March 1, 2007 1:35:13 AM

Yes I need to be careful about my power draw. The GX280 has a 250W
Power Supply but I have been told Dell under-rates there power supplies
and that is more like a 300W unit. Never the less I already have:

3.6 GHZ P4 CPU
2 GB PC4200 RAM
Liteon DVD-RW Drive
74 GB WD Raptor 10,000RPM Sata
500 GB WD 7200 RPM Sata
Built-in Floppy Drive

So I suspect I don't have much room for power draw. The X600
ran just fine in addition to all this but the text was blurry compared
to the integrated video port. I just read a post saying that ATI is always
shaper for text than Nvidia based cards but I don't know if this is true
or not..
March 1, 2007 1:46:38 AM

Why the HECK are you recommending a card (7950GT) that clearly doesn't fit his requirements too well?

Edited for clarity.
March 1, 2007 1:48:45 AM

The card Scorch suggested looks really good, it's PCI-e though. Do you have a PCI-e board, or AGP?

The 7600 series has adequate power for most of today's games and is usually pretty easy on power draw. I've got a 7600GT PCI-e and it gets all it needs from the connector slot, no extra cables needed.

EDIT: Also keep in mind that your monitor might need minor adjustment with a new video card. (Different driver characteristics, minor hardware differences, etc.) This may have been the cause of the fuzzyness you saw in text when changing to the X600. Maybe the monitor focus got thrown off.

Edit2: Doh! Apparently my reading skills aren't up to par tonight. I see that you mentioned AGP. Look for something around an AGP 7600 with no fan. That's my suggestion. Anyone please feel free to refute. Gotta get home now.
March 1, 2007 1:49:21 AM

I have used both ati and nvidia cards and I can tell you that I've never seen a difference in text quality/sharpness. As far as that x600 goes, that should be more than enough if you are only interested in mame, but did you play around with the driver settings at all to see if you could fine-tune the text issue? might be time-consuming but if you can get it to work I'd say it's worth it.

If not then just keep in mind that for your video needs you really shouldn't buy anything above $100, but it will severly hamper your ability to do much else with it. Here's a start:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Good Luck!

-The String
March 1, 2007 1:55:09 AM

Like Scorch, I have a fanless 7600GS from Newegg. It's an MSI whereas his is a Gigabyte. Probably not much difference. It runs Oblivion at high settings at 1024 x 768 with HDR at anywhere from 17-30 fps in the outdoors and 40-60 fps indoors and in dungeons. It runs Heroes of Might and Magic 5 at very high settings at 1280 x 1024 too.

Edited to link to AGP version from Gigabyte:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

One note, if you have a Dell, you often have to get Dell specific drivers instead of using the usual ones from Nvidia or ATI. Check with Dell to see if they have drivers for your X600 or if you need their drivers for a new fanless card. That could be the cause of your problems.

Quote:
I just read a post saying that ATI is always
shaper for text than Nvidia based cards but I don't know if this is true
or not..


Check into the Dell specific driver issue. That, or another setting with the Catalyst control center could be your problem
March 1, 2007 2:07:02 AM

Wow that dell driver thing is new to me. Ill have to watch for that .
EDIT: The clearer text thing may be with that setting in IE 7 that I activated. But even in scanned images with text it does seem sharper. Mabye its just me.
a b U Graphics card
March 1, 2007 5:03:26 AM

Why in the world would he need a Dell driver when buying a new card like a retail 7600GS? It's not like running an oem Dell add-in card.

I was a bit peeved when I bought an Audigy 2 from computergeeks.com and it ended up being an OEM Gateway model that couldn't use Creative drivers. And Gateway never updated the drivers for it so if you have an issue, tough luck. :x
March 1, 2007 5:26:42 AM

I have PCI Express not AGP. I used AGP for an example of when I have
seen differences in Color & Sharpness between ATI and OEM cards.

So.. I am in need of a PCI Express card. It looks like Nvidea cards
draw less power than ATI cards of the same speed. I will look for
a fanless Nvidia based card. Is there a specific brand that has better
overall quality? BFG, MSI, EVGA, Gigabyte, Leadtek.. There have to
be 30 different brand names on Newegg..
March 1, 2007 6:01:23 AM

Quote:
Why in the world would he need a Dell driver when buying a new card like a retail 7600GS? It's not like running an oem Dell add-in card.

I was a bit peeved when I bought an Audigy 2 from computergeeks.com and it ended up being an OEM Gateway model that couldn't use Creative drivers. And Gateway never updated the drivers for it so if you have an issue, tough luck. :x


I've heard about some incompatibilities over the years, but I don't own a Dell and never really dealt with the issue. You'd think it would just be OEM cards from Dell, but a quick search pulled this comment up from a Newegg customer review of the 7800GS AGP:

Quote:

Pros: I can't say anything about the performance of this card yet, But many people that own a Dell Dimension Desktop w/ AGP may find what i have to say very interesting.

Cons: Would not work out the box on my pc AT ALL. Supposably BFG can make it work with my pc. I had to mail the card to BFG and they will change the Card BIOS to work with "MY" DELL. I was told by BFG tech that I should first update my system BIOS, it didn't work...

Other Thoughts: I am running a four year old Dimension 8200 2.0GHz. 512MB PC800 ram. Antec 430 watt psu. 1-80Gb HDD. 1-160 Gb HDD.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/CustratingReview.asp?item...

So, I'm just saying that all sorts of issues could happen involving retail card's drivers and bios in a very proprietary system like a Dell. I simply advise him to research it, and e-mail Dell about it; as well as the manufacturer of a new card before he buys.

BFG often factory overclocks, but you wouldn't want a fanless factory overclock. Overall, I haven't noticed any real difference in manufacturers other than some issues reported about Sapphire cards of late, and I think that was only certain models. Finding reviews and comparisons through googling tech sites helps.

The PCIe fanless 7600GS that I could find was MSI. It's caused me no problems at all. It runs at about 54C and I'd get a warning from the Nvidia Control Center software if it went over 125 C. It hasn't, not even running Oblivion for four hours at high settings.
March 1, 2007 6:38:31 AM

I have a Gainward GeForce 7600GT 256MB (Golden Sample, Silent FX)

I'm happy with it, and it might be a good option for you IMO.

I don't know how much power it draws, you will have to check reviews for 7600GT's, but it does not require an external power adapter so it can't be that much...
March 1, 2007 8:03:22 AM

Quote:
BTW: There is a huge difference in text "sharpness" with video cards. I bought a Saphire brand AGP card for my Dad's computer and the text was not nearly as sharp as the Retail ATI BRAND AGP model I bought for almost 2x the price from CC. They were the
same speed but the ATI Retail brand was sharper with better colors..


I would like to know more about this sharpness issue. The last 3 cards I had have been Sapphire branded, not that I am a fanboy, just worked out that way. I love the free games and Zalman cooler on my new one.

Do you know what was causing the Sapphire to look worse? Were they both connected using analogue cables? Did you take a screen grab rendered on one card and view it on the other? Were you using a CRT or LCD? Were the drivers up to date on both?

Please let me know because I very interested in image quality. Has anyone else encountered this?
March 2, 2007 12:07:24 AM

Quote:
Please let me know because I very interested in image quality. Has anyone else encountered this?


I'd always thought the only difference was in the clock speed of the GPU and memory plus the type of memory used. I'd always thought that image quality would be essentially the same for both OEMs and ATI.

The 7600GS is the first OEM card I've gotten in years, but all Nvidia cards are OEM since they don't make their own. I've gone through several ATI All in Wonder cards, and no one but ATI makes those.

I'm curious too. I really suspect this image quality thing is a driver issue and not due to the card being Sapphire, Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI or whoever.
!