So i want to buy an HD3870 card. And one that is as quiet as possible.
I know there's this Ultimate model from Sapphire that offers a passive cooled card. But it's a bit more expensive than the "fanned" one (around 40€). But for this difference i could as well buy a cooling fan for the board that is more efficient than the stock fan.
Comparing the three scenarios (stock fan, new cooler, passive version), can the passive version keep up with the low temperatures compared to the others (especially the one with the new fan), and can one affirm that with the right fan (stock or not), the non-passive version can as barely audible (or fully silent, except for the so called "coil whine") as the passive?
My options are the Sapphires (ultimate and normal) and the Gigabytes (zalman and stock cooler versions). I am more or less limited by these brans cause where i live, they're the most easier and cheaper to find (as well as asus, but that one's more expensive).
to answer your passive/active cooling question I have 2 MSI Overclocked Radeon HD 3870s. Both came with the stock cooler and both were running > 80 degrees C when loaded. When I tried to overclock CCC would crash very soon after launching game.
I determined with GPU-Z that one card was getting to 90 C!!! So I did a little research and bought 2 of Arctic Cooling's Accelero S1 Revision 2 Passive GPU coolers.
They were relatively easy to install and they work so well it's amazing.
I have not seen GPU go over 60C on 100% load yet.
Both use heatpipes and create NO NOISE :-)) They idle around 40-50C depending on card and what I'm running.
IMHO you should buy cheap stock 3870 and put an accelero on it. You don't even have to take the memory or voltage heat sinks off :-).
Take a look at the reviews you will see what I mean.
Many thanks, that's a terrific advice!
Which is precisely what i'm going to do!
Thank you so much! I was actually nearly picking the Asus board cause it had a big fan that was supposedly quieter and more effective, but i see i am going to go for a cheaper and then buy the Rev 2. Only 20 euro!