Passive Cooling: XFX RX 460 Heatsink Edition Vs. Palit GTX 1050 Ti KalmX

Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX

Palit introduced its first passively-cooled board in the GeForce GTX 750 Ti KalmX and followed up with the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Nothing much has changed visually, other than the new substructure. But how effective is Palit’s passive implementation and what are its limits? After all, the 750 Ti was a 60W board, while 1050 Ti is rated at 75W.

A known limitation of this card is its relatively constrained clock, which starts at 1291 MHz and is rated for a GPU Boost frequency of 1392 MHz.

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Exterior

The card weighs 466g, only a bit more than XFX's board. Its 18.3cm length, 13.7cm height, and 3.6cm width are all manageable in a dual-slot form factor.

Palit dispenses with a backplate and overhanging rear fins, in contrast to its older passive coolers, preventing possible conflicts with CPU coolers in mini-ITX enclosures.

Palit again employs two nickel-plated heat pipes within a copper slug to dissipate thermal energy as effectively as possible. The sink, with its embedded aluminum fins, juts out the end and top edge of the PCB to capture circulating air. The fins are oriented vertically, similar to Palit's previous-gen design. Although this is better for natural convection, it benefits less from air flowing from the front of the case.

Vertically-oriented fins also benefit when the card is installed standing up, as you'd find in a cube-style case.

The display output bracket is limited to one DVI-D port, one HDMI 2.0 interface, and DisplayPort 1.4-capable connector. This leaves a lot of room for the many honeycomb-shaped air openings (though they seem fairly useless, given Palit's fin orientation).

Circuit Board Layout And Power Supply

Palit’s power target for this card is modest, as you might guess from the missing six-pin auxiliary connector. Similar to XFX, Palit also situates its voltage regulation circuitry near the output bracket, closer to the PCIe slot's relevant pins.

Although the PCB can accommodate three power phases for the GPU, only two are implemented.

In contrast to XFX, Palit uses memory modules from Micron, each with a capacity of 8Gb (32x256Mb). These operate at 1752 MHz and are not actively cooled, which creates a bit of an issue since Micron's memory runs somewhat hotter than Samsung's. Fortunately, we have the right tools to quantify the difference.

Back to the GPU's voltage regulation, which is controlled by a uPI Semiconductor uP9509. Each of the high-side GPU phases employs a 4C019 N-channel MOSFET, while the low side has two 4C024 N-channel MOSFETs. Standard ferrite coils, poured into cups, are manually fastened to the board.

The memory's power comes from a Richtek RT8128 synchronous buck PWM controller, as well as an On Semiconductor NTMFS4C024N single N-channel MOSFET for the high and low side.

Power Consumption

This card's power consumption is manageable, as it was for XFX's passively-cooled RX 460. The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX barely reaches 58W in our gaming loop, and slightly exceeds that figure during the stress test. Given a power target of 60W, this card simply can’t deliver much more.

Our peak measurement represents a brief moment in time; it can't be used to characterize the board's power consumption over longer periods.

So, both of the cards we're testing consume roughly the same amount of power, even though the GeForce's performance is expected to be appreciably higher.

The following graphs show two-minute runs in our gaming loop and stress test; they provide the basis for calculating average power consumption.

Now we get to look at our current measurements, which fall below the PCI-SIG's 5.5A limit for the 12V motherboard slot.

Cooler Assembly

Two 6mm nickel-plated copper alloy heat pipes are sandwiched between a small, yet beefy, copper sink and an aluminum block above it. The aluminum block supports the actual cooler assembly, while the pipes dissipate waste heat through the fin array.

Both vendors’ coolers differ in their fin orientations and resulting heat pipe structures. Palit at least also tries to establish thermal contact between the voltage regulation circuitry and cooler using thicker thermal pads. Do they help? Again, we have the tools to answer that.

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14 comments
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  • derekullo
    Watch Dogs 2
    1920 x 1080 Pixels
    "High Settings"
    FPS (Lower is better)

    Made me Laugh.
  • Briancurry
    Me too, I guess that means the XFX crash is the winner?
  • Rookie_MIB
    Wow. You know, they could fit a small incredibly slow fan in there somewhere that would generate zero noise and improve their results dramatically. I guess you could use the XFX in a server as the airflow scenario would allow cooling from the fans, but why would you use a GPU in a server anyhow?
  • Math Geek
    i can't think of a single scenario where this is needed. fanless gpu but you need multiple case fans to keep it cool and barely at that. why not just have the fans right on the card? double slot so you don't save any space that way, so those few cases that truly need a single slot card can't even be claimed as a market for this card.

    now that single slot slim fan design His showed off a while ago would be an awesome thing if it worked and was actually released.

    but i just don't see this filling any need at all in a gaming pc. in a non-gaming pc a regular gpu would likely stay cool enough for the passive mode to keep the fans totally off or barely moving. yet still be able to kick it up when needed for a bit of funtime distraction.
  • Pompompaihn
    Dumb products. If have to run system fans for them to work than what's the point of a completely fanless product? It's like saying my car gets infinite gas mileage as long as it's hooked to a tow truck...
  • RomeoReject
    Only situation where I can see them being worthwhile is in a mineral oil setup. The fan on the GPU I have in mine baaaaarely moves as is. More oil moves as a result of convection. So in that situation, it could be worth having the extra metal on there and relying on the convection effect rather than wasting that space on a fan.

    But that is so incredibly niche, I agree with you all: These are products searching for a purpose.
  • 80-watt Hamster
    1786133 said:
    now that single slot slim fan design His showed off a while ago would be an awesome thing if it worked and was actually released.


    Are you talking about something like this?
  • Math Geek
    1781251 said:
    1786133 said:
    now that single slot slim fan design His showed off a while ago would be an awesome thing if it worked and was actually released.
    Are you talking about something like this?


    not the exact one but that's the idea. i did not know XFX had finally released it, must have missed that announcement. This article also pointed out that XFX bought HiS which i did not know. so i expect that this is the design HiS teased a while ago with XFX colors on it. this was the one they teased a while ago that seems to also have been relased http://www.hisdigital.com/gb/product2-940.shtml
  • FormatC
    XFX bought nobody. XFX is a brand from the mother company Pine and Pine bought HIS as brand, not as single company. So are both vendors at the end only a brand from Pine and must share a lot of ressources and production lines. I saw, that they are using similar PCB layouts, only the cooling and design is a little bit different.

    XFX seems a real poor company. I got the card a few days for the review but I had to send it back on my own costs (because they had no more samples to rotate and no money for carriers). So it is impossible to answer on questions that requires a re-test or second look at the product.
  • RomeoReject
    482859 said:
    XFX bought nobody. XFX is a brand from the mother company Pine and Pine bought HIS as brand, not as single company. So are both vendors at the end only a brand from Pine and must share a lot of ressources and production lines. I saw, that they are using similar PCB layouts, only the cooling and design is a little bit different. XFX seems a real poor company. I got the card a few days for the review but I had to send it back on my own costs (because they had no more samples to rotate and no money for carriers). So it is impossible to answer on questions that requires a re-test or second look at the product.

    Surprised XFX has fallen so far.

    I know with both of my XFX R9 280X cards I had from them, they're both in great condition, and currently overclocked a wee bit (It's cold where I live). XFX also says that they'll maintain warranty despite overclocks (Below a certain power threshold) which is why I picked them in the first place.

    Sad that they seem to be more dirt-baggish these days.
  • FormatC
    Wait for the RX480 roundup... I measured on the HIS card (similar to the GTR Black Edition from XFX) over 7A on the PCIe-Slot! This are 30% over the specs! I know from the German distributor, that they got some negative feedback from customers about non-stable cards and SI-PCs. I tried to get in a closer contact and I sent XFX all my data - no answer or interest.
  • Math Geek
    Thank for clearing it up. i've shared my HiS issues in the past so i won't revisit them, but they are not a company i will ever buy again. interesting that Pine bought that company and i'd hope they would get a boost in customer service and positive business practices as a result. never had anything negative to say about XFX personally and know many stand behind the brand as well. but if XFX is also slowly going the wrong way themselves, i would have little hope of HiS getting a boost from the parent company, if they are letting XFX brand slip as well.

    i'll stay tuned to see what the future brings from XFX cards in the next generation
  • FormatC
    It plays no role, HIS, XFX or whoever - it depends also a lot from the distributors and their local handling. The support is mostly a mirror of the local branch office or distribution and may very different from country to country. I see it negative for HIS, that Pine bought the brand name for their own products. Only a few faces left, the others were all fired. HIS is more or less not more existent as an own company. It looks like XFX, but as a cheaper version. XFX light :D
  • Math Geek
    that's interesting as well. HiS was the last AMD cards i bought for my house, but i have been favoring Saphire and Asus for a while now. i like the designs and the few times i have had to contact support, i mostly got what i needed.

    XFX, though respected for the most part, never really took off for me and mine. i'll probably stay with Saphire and Asus for now until another brand steps up to lure me away. HiS left such a bad taste in my mouth when i strayed, that i can't go there again. even with a new parent company, i just won't go there again. and it's too bad as i noted before, the card itself is actually pretty good. i have a 270, 270x and 280 from HiS and they are solid cards that run cool and quiet. but the business practices overshadowed this too much for me.

    nice review either way on these cards. though, they serve no purpose, the review was still all it needed to be to prove that.