I would like to add a graphic card to my HTPC which is built on i5 2500K processor, that i also use for light gaming, and some multimedia designing.
Not very satisfied with the intel' inbuilt GPU. Max budget 150 dollars, fan or fanless. I am not sure if i could get a better performing gpu for this price against the fanless module.
There are a couple of fanless GPU's in the market like the.
However the question is.. for the same price, if i could get a better performing GPU with a fan but minimal noise?? I realize Fanless GPU's also emit more heat than the ones that come with a fan. However i am not sure if its the same with the newer generation fanless gpu's i mentioned above.
How well you might do with a fanless graphics card is dependent on how good the airflow is in your case.
A fanless card depends on some airflow to dissipate heat.
Most HTPC cases will not be very good in that regard.
What case do you have?
I think you could still have a quiet HTPC with a more modern card with 28nm maqnufacturing.
The 7750 or 7770 would qualify.
Look for one with a largish fan that directs the heat out the back of the case.
Perhaps one like this sapphire 7750: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The card will simply emit the heat into your case, but then your case and/or CPU fans will have to speed up to get rid of it. It's more efficient to get rid of the heat directly at the source (your graphics card).
Fan noise varies even among the same models (like the HD6850) so you may wish to compare several versions (Gigabyte, Asus etc) if fan noise is an issue with you.
I suggest you look at the HD7000 or HD6000 series and compare benchmarks vs price. NCIX is a good store to start with, then Newegg etc.
If an HD7000 is CLOSE to a similarly priced HD6000 card, go with the HD7000 version. They use the new 28nm die and will run much cooler. They are also newer.
I looked at the benchmarks again. Part of the problem is that I don't know what you mean by "light gaming", but basically here's my recommend:
HD7770, HD6850 or GTX560
At NCIX, I saw the HD6850 on sale for $135 and the GTX560 for $177. The HD7770 was $160.
As I said, the HD7770 by far runs the coolest but noise also depends on how good the cooling solution is, something you'd have to investigate.
The HD7770 can match the HD6850 in some games but falls behind in others (newer games tend to utilize the HD7770's newer architecture better). The BEST performing is the GTX560.
*If you plan to play any of the modern games I strongly suggest the GTX560.
**I was going to build a HTPC however I went a different way with the Western Digital TV LIVE HUB (built-in 1TB hard drive). I use it for Netflix and all my (legally. cough.) ripped BluRay and anime movies/TV etc. Vorbis audio now works with the latest update.
$200 may seem steep but it's well worth it to me. It's also going to be far quieter than a PC and easier to use. I can also easily copy video from my computer to it (Windows Explorer-> Network-> ...)