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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Passive Cooling Mod

The Right Case & Placement

There needs to be at least 34cm of horizontal space available in whichever case you choose. After test-fitting the card’s positioning during installation, it is clear that, due to the cooler's extreme length, any chassis with a motherboard mounted horizontally is going to be impractical. Just to be sure we're covering our bases, we'll measure how the modified card/cooler behaves with and without plenty of airflow inside the case.

In our first run-through, we installed the card in a workstation. Its case fans were all disabled, except for two 240mm radiator fans that spin at 300 RPM. In addition to a slight under-pressure condition caused by those fans pulling air upward, the card enjoys plenty of room inside the chassis, which is ideal for the passive sink's convection-based heat dissipation.

For the second test, we pulled out our build from 2013, which employs passive cooling exclusively, including the CPU. We also armed it with a temperature-controlled fan setup as backup. Our GeForce GTX 650 project needed the extra cooling on and off. Can the GTX 1050 do without it, and deliver better performance in the process? We're excited to quantify the improvement in efficiency over the past three years.

Compared to the GTX 650 and GTX 1050 Ti, our passively-cooled 750 Ti had to make do with an aftermarket Sapphire heat sink that we modified to fit since the card's screw holes wouldn't allow for anything larger.

SummaryMounting the card/cooler combination horizontally allows for optimal cooling via convection. Vertical mounting would be less efficient.A large amount of free space in the case is advantageous for any passive cooling experiment.The card/cooler’s own convection process should not be impacted by other hardware in the case, if possible.

  • bloodroses
    That giant cooler is so funny looking on that little card. :)
    Reply
  • FormatC
    The smallest guys have the biggest cars ;)
    Reply
  • sephirotic
    Full passive is pointless, semi passive is the way to go.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    Thank you for the really nice article Igor. It was an unexpected surprise and a pleasure to read. :-) Very interesting to read.
    Reply
  • Poozle
    you know setting the fans to even minimal (20-30%) where you cant detect an audible difference would be safer and nearly as quiet... but I digress
    Reply
  • FormatC
    The problem is, that the marketing is telling us that it works. I ordered an original passive card directly from a manufacturer and will check it in a short follow-up. Without any airflow in the case this must fail ;)
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA
    19136703 said:
    That giant cooler is so funny looking on that little card. :)
    It immediately reminded me of Sapphire's R9 Fury Tri-X:


    Reply
  • FormatC
    Same principle, but the used cooler is 4 years old.
    It seems that Sapphire copied the idea ;)
    Reply
  • thor220
    It looks like the large tail of that Cooler isn't even doing anything. No point in making a passive cooler that big if it can't transfer the heat.

    I would much rather see a passive water cooled setup with no fans, only the pump.
    Reply
  • TJ Hooker
    19139141 said:
    It looks like the large tail of that Cooler isn't even doing anything. No point in making a passive cooler that big if it can't transfer the heat.
    What makes you say that? The heat pipes extend the length of the cooler, even the fins at the end should be absorbing and dissipating some of the heat.
    Reply