Passive AMD Radeon RX 6400 Mod Dwarfs Compact Graphics Card PCB

Passive cooled RX 6400 mod
(Image credit: revocases on reddit)

Silent PC enthusiast and redditor revocases has been showing off a very interesting AMD Radeon RX 6400 modification (h/t FanlessTech). The modification work meant chucking away the stock active cooler, precisely machining a 3 mm copper cold plate and mount (covering both GPU and memory), and then fixing on an Arctic Accelero S1 passive cooler (discontinued). In testing, the project was a resounding success, with the GPU running at just a smidgeon over 50 degrees Celsius under load – but we have to ask, is this passive solution overkill?

Passive PC systems have a strong following, as silence is golden. However, to cool higher performance PC components a passive cooler might sometimes start to dominate your build. We have seen this with some recent implementations of passive coolers and cases. To be fair, we wouldn’t put revocases' RX 6400 mod into this category, though.

The Radeon RX 6400 is a 54W graphics card, so doesn’t present a strenuous challenge for passive cooling technology. Instead we could say the low TGP makes the card a comfortable target for a modest passive cooling adaptation. In revocases’ shared images you can see that the passively cooled (ex)low-profile Radeon ran at a more than comfortable average GPU temperature of 54 degrees Celsius (hot spot 60) when under full load. Sadly, off-the-peg choices for passive GPU coolers are incredibly limited or we would suggest using a smaller one.

In the images, the RX 6400 PCB is absolutely dwarfed by the Arctic Accelero S1, and might look somewhat silly outside of the context of  a PC. However, in November last year we reported on the Intel Arc A380 (>75W) being cooled by the same Arctic Accelero S1. In the visual context of a complete passive build that card looked reasonable – it was installed next to a Noctua NH-P1 cooled CPU.

Considering things from another angle, a commercially produced passive card like the Palit GeForce GTX 1650 KalmX looks well proportioned at 138 x 178 x 38 mm, and the GPU will peek at around 80 degrees Celsius under load. The Palit isn’t a great amount smaller than the Arctic Accelero S1 cooler at 138 x 215 x 33 mm (but you have to add the card which will add further bulk).

We hope that the great efficiency gains touted for the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics architectures means that some more compact passive commercially available graphics cards hit the market. Graphics card makers could be attracted by the passive premium that silent PC enthusiasts might pay for something more performant than the likes of the RX 6400, Arc A380, or GTX 1650.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • TechieTwo
    People with too much time on their hands I would suggest.
  • Eximo
    I want to do something similar to an A380, though not the example they reference, way too tall.
  • King_V
    I mean, given the 1650 passive cooled model mentioned, I would imagine a 54W RX 6400 could have something similar done, and even smaller than that. Obviously, that would mean no fitting in a standard-type low-profile case, though.

    Hell, I had a Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 GDDR5 with a passive-cooling setup. I believe that card was rated at 67W TDP. It did the job pretty well, but, I was putting it in a Dell mid-tower.
  • neojack
    i still have two HD 6850 passive from powercolor, they equiped my gaming powerhouse in crossfire 10 years ago :)
    now they are just e-waste in a closet. maybe one day they will be needed for a retro gaming rig

    ahah just I found my post on from 11 years ago
    I think the reason why passive is not very popular is because most people doing eventualy progress to a WC loop lol

  • MeeLee
    Not worth it. A 12v fan running on 5v, consumes less than 0.25w, and allows for the fan to live for many decades.

    The area that contributes to cooling of a 50W gpu should be about a quarter the size.
  • gg83
    TechieTwo said:
    People with too much time on their hands I would suggest.
    No way! This stuff is awesome and people should keep doing things like this.