I'm going from a P4/3GHz with an AGP GeForce 7300 GT to an i7 system. I'm looking for a passively cooled card.
The only thing that concerns me about the HIS card is the 128-bit memory bus. I don't know enough about the newer cards to know which fan-based card I can get, throw on an aftermarket passive cooler, and have it run without issues.
Including PS and CPU fans, the system will have nine total fans, all running on fan controllers at the minimum speed possible, including one 120mm fan on the side panel that will essentially blow directly over the video card. I don't want a wind tunnel sitting next to my desk and I don't want a video card that kicks its own fan into high-gear without me being in control of it. I think I've got enough case room (CM Centurion 590) to run one of those gigantic passive heat sinks, just not sure which video card/HS combo would work best.
Not looking to spend a whole lot as 3D performance is not my top priority, but I would like something that won't need to be upgraded for a few years, but won't die under passive cooling after blowing itself up.
I do plan to overclock the i7 a bit, not sure what that will do to the graphics bus...
I also noticed this fanless 4850. While its a bit more before the rebate ($130), its only $10 more after the rebate comes back. The 4850 is a significantly better card, so if you can swing it you probably should. In either case if you've last as long as you have with a 7300GT, all of these cards will seem like an upgrade.
You can also buy a card with a fan and controll the fan speed with their respective programs. For example, you can controll how fast an AMD card will spin its fan with ATItraytools. I think Nvidia uses Rivatuner. Do some digging on this, as fan cards are cheaper.
Dual monitors (on one card and one more on another), web surfing, video streaming, GIS mapping, google earth, GeoTracker, some graphics work (2D), etc. Not a whole lot of gaming going on on my desktop.