VGA Coolers: Single-Slot Whisper Cooler
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also got us to play around with another graphics card. We recently reviewed Afox's Radeon HD 6850 low-profile card on our German site. In that story, we used two 80 mm fans to improve cooling versus the OEM ones. Here, we want to up the ante in terms of performance and noise. The result is a completely usable low-profile card that doesn't generate much noise at full load. Once again, we dipped into the Tom's Hardware parts bin for a couple of spare fans.
Conversion in Two Stages
In the original review, we used a pair of Enermax T.B. Silence fans, which protrude slightly. Since the cooler is merely an inexpensive extruded aluminum slab, protruding fans do not offer any advantage. To the contrary, the fans do not live up to their potential and the lid of the graphics card doesn't fit properly.
Thus, we dug around once more and found two 60 mm Scythe Mini Kaze fans:
Updated Results and a Chilly Surprise
Two 60 mm fans are good enough to cool this card quietly and effectively. As the fans are uncontrolled, the noise level stays the same regardless of the graphics workload.
Our do-it-yourself experiment got the manufacturer thinking about a new revision of this card, which would replace its two cheapo and loud fans. If the missing power plug also makes a comeback, this card could be among the few price/performance leaders for HTPCs. Cost of the 60 mm fans: less than $20.