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Best quiet video card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 9, 2009 5:01:16 AM

What is the most powerful but quiet video card? This is for a desktop machine, but I do want to play games, however very rarely. I don't want to go with a fanless card as I think they get too hot.

What is the most powerful card that has a quiet fan? I triad a Sapphire HD 3870 and it is horribly loud! I'm returning it, but for what?

I should mention, my budget is $100 to $200, but < $150 would be nice. I see this card is supposed to be quiet, though near the top of my budget:
XFX GX260NADBF GeForce GTX 260 Black Edition Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is another potential quiet card:
HIS H387QS512NP Radeon HD 3870 512MB 256-bit GDDR4 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported IceQ3 Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Funny thing is it is slightly more expensive than the 4830:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The 4830 doesn't have as many reviews, so I'm not sure if it is quiet. I've read some reviews of similar cards with a slot cooler, and many say they are ridiculous loud at 100%, and some say their video card fan hits 100% easily.

Someone suggested this card was quiet:
DIAMOND 4770PE5512 Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2009 5:03:59 AM

3870 ~/< 4830 or 9800GT < 4770 < 4850 or 9800GTX+ < GTX260 or 4870

GTX260 will own any of those cards. You can always just get a new case or something that muffles the noise inside the case. The GTX260 won't be too loud if you don't run the fan at high speeds (if you have good airflow).
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July 9, 2009 5:31:58 AM

Thanks BlueScreenDeath. This is the first time a BSOD has been helpful. ;) 

The most populate GTX260 seems to be this:
EVGA 896-P3-1255-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is that the one to buy? You think it is a better buy than the 4770 (linked above) in terms of quietness? Are you sure the fan won't kick into high gear while browsing or programming?
July 9, 2009 5:33:48 AM

Thanks gkay09. The reviews for that one say it gets super hot. I have an Antec P180 case and have nice air flow, though there wouldn't be a fan pointing directly at the GPU sink. If they can make a fanless, they should make one with a quiet fan!
July 9, 2009 5:49:16 AM

The fan on the Vapor-X cards from Sapphire is amazingly quiet. I can't tell the difference over my case fans.
July 9, 2009 6:40:36 AM

Fanless cards are awsome
a c 192 U Graphics card
July 9, 2009 3:43:51 PM

The HIS "IceQ4 Turbo" coolers work well and are quiet. I don't even hear mine unless I manually force the fan to high RPMs AND listen for it.
Avoid Diamond like the plague, unless you want poopy drivers (and ATI ones may not recognize the card) and utterly worthless tech support.
a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2009 4:46:59 PM

^+1 for the IceQ. My friend uses one and you cn't hear it above the case/CPU fans.
July 10, 2009 12:36:18 AM

Thanks for all the feedback. I went back and forth looking for the right buy.

On the cheap end, the HIS 4670 IceQ is ~$70 and it runs cool and has a quiet slot cooler. This card is slightly less powerful than a 8800 GTS and less than half as powerful as a 4850.

Honestly the 4670 meets my needs, but I feel bad spending $70 when a little more can buy a lot more performance. So I tried to find a quiet card in the $150 range.

The 4850 is in this range, but consumes a lot of power at idle, which means higher temps. I got a lot of conflicting reports about noise. Some people said it is quiet at idle, some said loud. Everyone agrees it sounds like a truck at load.

The GTX 260 is ~$170 and slightly more powerful than the 4850. I got similar reports, it is either quiet or loud at idle and loud at load. Not very helpful! It consumes less power at idle than the 4850 so I would guess in general the 260 should be quieter at idle. It consumes more at load though.

At this point I almost went for a GTX 260. This machine is on 24/7 so I figured the efficiency at idle is better. I had trouble committing to a model though, since I couldn't find one where there was a consensus on quietness.

Eventually I found the EVGA GTX 275 and everyone seems to agree that this card is quiet at idle and also quiet at load. Impressive! I ended up buying this card for $220. I know I blew my budget of $100 to $200, but at least I know I will get something quiet, and I won't feel bad for spending money on a slow card. The 275 is about 20% faster than the 260 and 50% faster than a 4850.
August 28, 2009 9:22:55 PM

I bought the HIS 4670 IceQ a few months ago. The card fails every 2-10 days. I have two fans in the case plus the one on the card. The RMA requirements from the company to get it replaced makes it totally worthless.
April 21, 2013 8:52:20 AM

ive been using the HIS hd 4670 for more than 2 years. its quieter than any other card i've put in my pc and runs all the games i want to play, just not at the highest level of detail. I haven't had any issues with it. if you want a near silent pc, this card is a steal for 70 bucks.
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