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Silent, But Deadly: Build Your Own Gaming-Ready 0 dB PC

Building A Passive Nvidia GeForce GTX 650

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 650, Cooled Passively

The GeForce GTX 650 offers similar performance and power consumption as AMD's Radeon HD 7750. In theory, that'd make it a candidate for passive cooling. We weren't able to find a GTX 650 without a fan, though. So, we used Arctic's Accelero Xtreme III in place of the stock cooler. Nobody’s going to buy an expensive part like this to cool a mainstream graphics card, but it serves as a placeholder for similar coolers.

Installation is straightforward enough. The cooler's weight isn’t a problem because the graphics card is plugged in horizontally, with the cooler on top. So, the I/O bracket and PCB support its heft.

The same things we said about AMD's Radeon HD 7750 apply here as well. A system with a discrete graphics card benefits from an Intel CPU, which is going to run cooler and tolerate higher maximum core temperatures. So long as you use mainstream GPUs, though, neither a Pentium nor an A10 should limit your graphics performance.

Graphics Benchmarks

Bottom Line So Far

A passively-cooled GeForce GTX 650 comes close to the performance of a Radeon HD 7750, also with no active cooling. Again, this is to say that gaming performance is acceptable so long as you dial down your settings. It's too bad that there don't seem to be any add-in board partners selling GTX 650s with passive cooling.