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Quiet but Actively Cooled GPU, Oomph Prefered

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 9, 2011 1:37:38 PM

My basic question is: does anyone have a suggestion for a very quiet actively cooled video card? I'd like something comparable to my passively cooled ASUS 9600GT. (PCIE2, 512MB DDR3) This is a home studio recording PC (which means QUIET, acourse).

My CPU is a wolfdale 3.0 ghz core 2 duo. My case is a small Sonata so the space is cramped and although I have a secondary case fan installed (which is about the most I can do for cooling without getting an actively cooled video card), my CPU is quick to spike up near 70 C whenever I'm doing anything that places demand on the processor. Forget about anything like gaming - if I want the processor and the GPU to both be taxed, my BIOS alarms jangle right away. I picked my current video card in hopes that I'd be able to do a little solid gaming on the side, but this 9600GT is such a massive honking chunk of uncooled hotness... guessing I've just set my sites too high.

Does anyone have a suggestion on a good alternative?
a b U Graphics card
December 9, 2011 1:44:41 PM

I would've adviced my 6970/6950 with the DirectCUII cooler, that thing is inaudible.

Then again, I suppose any Asus card with a DirectCUII cooler is inaudible.

Personally my 6970 DirectCUII in my machine, when I play games, maxed out, with all my fans on the lowest setting of my case, it does not get any louder during gameplay. Seriously, Asus did a fracking good job with those coolers.

Try looking into the
Asus ENGTS 450 DirectCU/DI/1GD5
I would ask for what your budget is, but the truth is with that CPU any faster card is pointless. Hell even with that CPU this card might be slightly over the top, however, it's the cheapest card I could find at the blink of an eye with that cooler.
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a c 266 U Graphics card
December 9, 2011 2:04:48 PM

A comparable performing Nvidia card would be the GT240. It is newer tech, and the chip should run cooler.
A comparable amd gpu might be the 6570.
If you get a card with a dual slot direct exhaust cooler, it will help get the hot air out of the case. That keeps the gpu AND the cpu cooler.
Here is a HIS 6570 that has such a cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But, I think a better solution would be to change out your case.
That would solve both your cpu and gpu temperature issues.

One of my all time favorite cases was the Antec SOLO. It was very quiet, and the cooling was just OK with two 92mm intake fans.
It would not easily hold 10.5" graphics cards.

Those problems have been fixed with the SOLO II.
You now can have two 120mm intake fans which will give you adequate cooling.
Here is a review from spcr, a good site for quiet computing:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1218-page8.html

On newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 9, 2011 2:31:13 PM

If you're not worried about the looks of your computer insides (and your case being sonata i imagine its not see through or mesh) what you could do is remove the plastic shroud that comes with most GPUs and attach a 12cm cooler with simple rope around your GPU. Make it fit tight and attach the cooler to the GPU's own fan power supply if possible. Orient the fan to blow on the GPU. This will improve overall case cooling as well as the fan will help move air from bottom of the case to the top- the way air ought to be moving inside a case.

Alternatively you get a super quiet 12cm fan like noctua or xilence and just attach it directly to the PSU so they spin at max speed at all times. At worst, you get the same temp as you got with the default >6cm cooler, but at near silent operation.

Most times you get way better cooling and near silent operation. I've been doing it to my computers, and my friend's computers for years. It wont win you any cosmetic awards, but it will give you peace and quiet along with really good cooling.

Best part? Its really really cheap.
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December 9, 2011 3:00:15 PM

The DirectCUII can get loud under load, I own the 6970 Lightening, and Under heavy load and a 70 F room temp, it is never audible. If you want to go on the safe side, go for the 6950 hawk, its a bit slower than the 6970, but they are same cards basically... so youll save a bit more on temp, and with volume.
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December 9, 2011 3:11:26 PM

thespieler said:
The DirectCUII can get loud under load, I own the 6970 Lightening, and Under heavy load and a 70 F room temp, it is never audible. If you want to go on the safe side, go for the 6950 hawk, its a bit slower than the 6970, but they are same cards basically... so youll save a bit more on temp, and with volume.


I don't think he sees any difference between a 6950 and a 6970 on a 3ghz non OCed wolfdale dualcore.
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December 9, 2011 3:23:37 PM



My case is a small Sonata so the space is cramped and although I have a secondary case fan installed (which is about the most I can do for cooling without getting an actively cooled video card), my CPU is quick to spike up near 70 C whenever I'm doing anything that places demand on the processor. Forget about anything like gaming




You have just pointed a fat finger at the problem, and then are wanting to spend money on a video card. Fix your case issue first- Then worry about a new card.
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December 9, 2011 3:28:57 PM

justme1977 said:
I don't think he sees any difference between a 6950 and a 6970 on a 3ghz non OCed wolfdale dualcore.



yeah, your right on that one!
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December 9, 2011 3:58:56 PM

PNY's 560 Ti XLR8 is very quiet even at full load. In terms of performance/noise ratio it doesn't really get much better than that, unless you get into more expensive liquid-cooling solutions.
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December 10, 2011 7:54:59 PM

Thanks all.

Your notes on the inadequacy of my case are well taken. Specifically, I use a Sonata II. I liked geofelts's input, but to be clear: my Sonata II has two 120mm fans in it already. The SOLO II's benefit over my current case is more internal space to promote air flow, a top vent to help the power supply stay cool (don't know if that's a problem for me as it stands), and a speed control on the case's stock fan (which my case doesn't have, so, good).

So, with the SOLO II I'd have more space for airflow. Could I realize a positive cooling difference with a moderate increase in space, and nothing more? An actively cooled video card may still be necessary at that point, and Blacksci's point is also well-taken: a fan on my video card would probably do a lot more good if I give the air more room to circulate.
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a c 266 U Graphics card
December 10, 2011 8:27:41 PM

To assess you case cooling, remove the side panel from your case, and direct a house fan at the innards. If your cooling improves significantly, you have confirmed that it is a case cooling problem.

I really think the card needs at least some airflow to get the heat out of the pc.

If you leave the cpu duct in place, you reduce the airflow exit area to that of the rear 120mm fan.

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December 10, 2011 10:28:27 PM

Thanks for the tip - I'll give this a try. Question: when you say "if you leave the cpu duct in place" - what is meant by CPU duct?
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a c 266 U Graphics card
December 11, 2011 1:17:06 AM

Aiwin said:
Thanks for the tip - I'll give this a try. Question: when you say "if you leave the cpu duct in place" - what is meant by CPU duct?


Some cases, and I thought your Antec sonata had one, there is a plastic duct that was intended to bring cool air in from the rear of the case and direct it to the cpu.
It was a good idea that did not usually work. Perhaps you do not have one. Perhaps a link to your case would be good.
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December 11, 2011 1:36:36 AM

Geofelt, I know what you're talking about. No, my case doesn't have one, but I do have an older Dell PC that has one of these CPU ducts.

This picture shows my case and this machine's setup looks the same as mine, though the CPU has a heat sink on it which is not present in my setup - only intel's stock fan for mine.

http://www.madshrimps.be/files/images/articles/Heatsink...
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December 11, 2011 2:33:54 AM

Try a 6850, or a 550ti. I know from experience that dual cores will bottleneck anything bigger, such as a 560 or a 6870.
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December 27, 2011 6:11:57 PM

Thanks for the help everyone. I tested by opening my CPU case and aiming a fan at the inside, but cooling did not improve at all. I removed the stock cpu fan/heatsink... I noted that it seemed a bit loose before I removed it, and the crappy plastic prongs looked weirdly bent. Perhaps I didn't mount it well the first time, but now I cannot remount it properly (which I think is because the crappy plastic prongs are hopelessly bent, somehow).

I decided that a better heatsink/fan solution was called for anyway so I purchased this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's big but I think I will have room. Techpowerup (and various users) review it as very cool and quiet. Silent PC Review lists its big brother, the NH-D14 120mm, as highly recommended... but doesn't review this model. Hopefully this solves the problem. I will post my results here for anyone who might be interested.
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a c 266 U Graphics card
December 27, 2011 9:42:44 PM

Aiwin said:
Thanks for the help everyone. I tested by opening my CPU case and aiming a fan at the inside, but cooling did not improve at all. I removed the stock cpu fan/heatsink... I noted that it seemed a bit loose before I removed it, and the crappy plastic prongs looked weirdly bent. Perhaps I didn't mount it well the first time, but now I cannot remount it properly (which I think is because the crappy plastic prongs are hopelessly bent, somehow).

I decided that a better heatsink/fan solution was called for anyway so I purchased this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's big but I think I will have room. Techpowerup (and various users) review it as very cool and quiet. Silent PC Review lists its big brother, the NH-D14 120mm, as highly recommended... but doesn't review this model. Hopefully this solves the problem. I will post my results here for anyone who might be interested.


Good purchase. I have used one before, and they work well and are easy to install. They are actually rather small, so fit should not be an issue.
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January 26, 2012 9:20:45 PM

Success!

The Noctua fan/heatsink combo runs beautifully. It seems to have been just what I needed, and installation wasn't difficult (considering I knew that the mobo would have to be removed prior to my purchase). I've pushed my CPU hard and, without being able to offer any hard technical details yet, my Tcase temp hasn't spiked above 60C.

Thanks all.
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