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Silent VGA for games, best possible

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
November 5, 2009 11:16:21 AM


I'm always stumbling on Tom's hardware when looking for knowledge to qualify new hardware purchases. This time I'll try asking:

I'm looking for the strongest possible VGA with passive cooling. At the moment I have a fan-cooled Nvidia 7900 GS.

I'm looking at the ASUS 9600GS silent as the most promising card, I've found so far, but am confused that the 8800 series may be stronger than the 9*** cards ?!?

I'm aware that completely passively cooled vgas will never be the latest and strongest ones, but if I just get a significant preformance increase from my present 7900 gs, i'll be quite happy?

In short, my question is: Can anybody point me in the direction of something even stronger, yet still passively cooled vga than the 9600GS for gaming?

Best regards,

Asger, Denmark

More about : silent vga games

a c 140 U Graphics card
November 5, 2009 9:20:25 PM

Not sure if you'll be able to find one in your country, but the HD 4850 is probably the best fanless GPU on the market today.

-Wolf sends
November 5, 2009 9:42:47 PM

Thank you, Wolfshadw;

A very helpful reply from you. I made a quick surf and immediately found a review at TweakTown.

The HD 4850 is indeed better at an overall view. But the differences look slight; I am still unsure if it's so much better than the ASUS 9600 GT that I would prefer locating it at an international webshop (which I'll happily do if necessary) over buying the ASUS in Denmark (which will after all will be easier and safer option - but not at a significant cost of quality). Any comment on this matter - how significant is the difference between these two cards? - will be most welcome.

I'll wait for a few more answersand suggestions, and meanwhile look for comparisons between the ATI and the Nvidia.

I think it only fair that I keep others update on whatever I find; I initiated this thread because the latest I could find with the same topic was from 2007, and an updated thread may be helpful to others too, so I'll be back. Further comments from you will also be much appreciated, Wolfshadw :) 

Best regards,

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a b U Graphics card
November 5, 2009 9:58:40 PM

Get the HD4850, it is 2.xx faster in real world and it has Dx10. 1 HD4850 should be cheaper than 2x 9600gt and the 4850 will use less power than 2x9600gt. Single GPU is always better than multi-gpus if performance is the same. So 1 HD4850~>2X9600GT(Yes Two 9600gts in SLI).
a b U Graphics card
November 5, 2009 11:08:28 PM

5750 went passive today, with a rather large powercolor heatsink...

It's not cheap, but it is the best currently available passively cooled graphics card.

And looking at it again, that is the mother and father of all heatsinks.
a c 358 U Graphics card
November 5, 2009 11:14:12 PM

AsgerHarlung said:

A very helpful reply from you. I made a quick surf and immediately found a review at TweakTown.

The HD 4850 is indeed better at an overall view. But the differences look slight; I am still unsure if it's so much better than the ASUS 9600 GT that I would prefer locating it at an international webshop....


The 9600GT's main competitor is the HD 4670, not the HD 4850.

The HD 4850 is indeed the more powerful card, the higher the resolution the more apparent it becomes. See below link:

The 9600GT is no slouch, I have a passively cooled version by EliteGroup with an Accelero S2 heatsink.
November 5, 2009 11:15:10 PM


Wow, wonderful how useful replies are rushing in. Whenever I look for hardware, I am usually surfing for days in order to find the specs I want. This is so much better :) 

As far as I can see, the 9600 gt also supports Directx 10, but speed in gaming graphics is the important issue here, and the Silent 9600 gt version from ASUS does take up space equal to two PCI slots.

Strangely, the review on TweakTown had a comparison with a 9600 GTS, which is of cours not exactly the same, but the 9600 GTS seemed to perform better at the highest resolutions, while the HD4850 had the best overall performance.

Do you have a direct comparison, or links for reviews of the that will make it easier for me to see and compare the performance differences?

Also, just for the sake of curiosity (or vain hope), I've been searching for a silent version of something in the GTX league, but found no result. Guess nobody has found a way to cool such a card sufficiently without a fan yet - ?

In any case your advise is duly noted, I've also been looking further into reviews, and the HD4850 is by now my top candidate.

For reference, I have already found the exact model in DK, and it's price is actually about 50% more than the ASUS 9600 GT (app. $ 300 instead of $ 200), but that's not going to scare me off. After all, a new VGA will be an investment meant to please for some time.

Before any final decision I'll see thatever new comments may provide further knowledge, about the two cards here, new models due for release, or others. This has proven a wonderful source of knowledge.

Wolfshadw and Elie3000; thank you for great help!

I'll be back tomorrow, night has fallen here :sleep: 

a c 358 U Graphics card
November 5, 2009 11:17:17 PM

jennyh said:
5750 went passive today, with a rather large powercolor heatsink...


Might be a replacement card for my 9600GT if I decide to game on my HTPC. However, I would prefer a passively cooled HD 5770 if that was the case.
November 5, 2009 11:19:57 PM

jennyh and jaguarskx;

Than you, too. Your messages went in while I was writing my previous post. The HD 5750 looks like exciting news, and hearing that I haven't been entirely on a fool's errand with the 9600 GT was very nice.

Turning in now; be back tomorrow
November 6, 2009 10:17:07 AM

Hello All,

Summary so far:

ASUS 9600 Gt - certainly a good card. The best hit I could find by surfing a couple of times for silent VGAs using different keywords.

HD 4850 - Clearly an even better card.

HD 4870 - Even better that HD4850. From the link posted by jaguarskx, it surpasses Nvidia Geforce 9800 GTX cards.
But I've only found a Sapphire 'Silent' version with fan cooling. ?robably interesting to some. Does anybody know of a passively cooled version?

PowerColor passive Radeon HD 5750. Scheduled for market release on November 20. From the specifications linked by JennyH, it should surpass the previous cards, and it also seems to be the first passive DirectX 11 card. And it seems it will even be cheaper than the cards above. (Thats strange - should one worry about its gaming performance because of that? The specs look fine, could there be a catch? Well, answering my own question, cheap construction could be a catch, but test reviews should show).

Since I'm in no rush, my own plan from here is pretty straightforward:

I will still enjoy hearing more suggestions, especially if anyone knows of a silent HD 4870, or if other new passive cards come along. If none do, I'll wait for test reviews of the HD 5750. With any luck it will keep the promises, in which case it'll be the winning choice.

I'll keep following the posts here, and if the thread is not closed by a moderator before such a time, I'll finalize it with my own choice and conclusion and the reasons for same.

Thank you for your help, everybody. :hello: 

Best regards and happy gaming,