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.

  • ASHISH65
    great article !!!
  • azathoth
    I was disappointed there wasn't actual stress test temperature results of the APU for the passive cooling solution.

    But otherwise it's a neat article, personally I would sacrifice dead silence to use a cheaper HDD and perhaps more of those silent fans if I were to build one myself.
  • mayankleoboy1
    Great article! Much more DIY than the usual articles on Toms.
    Much appreciated.
  • _Pez_
    Great PC !, but if it was mine I would be scared... "no fan noise .. is it burning?"
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    As someone that also uses a semi-passive PC (fan only turns on when needed), I'm disappointed that you guys left out a few big things:

    1. undervolting the CPU and GPU

    2. underclocking and farther undervolting the GPU for 2D mode

    3. hybrid cooling setup for GPUs where the fan only turns on at a high temperature (may require GPU BIOS editing depending on GPU model)

    OPTIONAL (due to risk): removal of CPU IHS
  • dudewitbow
    no love for sapphire's passive ultimate HD 7770?
  • Madn3ss795
    Pentium G2120 + Sapphire Ultimate HD7750 would have been a better choice. And you can pay extra for a low-power Core i5 instead since it's not that expensive compared to the rest of this build.
  • ivyanev
    When i hear gaming from the TH I really expect to see something in the realm of 500$ SBM machine or at least something close. What I see here is realy nice office pc.
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    10589934 said:
    When i hear gaming from the TH I really expect to see something in the realm of 500$ SBM machine or at least something close. What I see here is realy nice office pc.
    The main issue is the GPU, and that would require a hybrid passive-active cooling solution much like was done for the CPU, but for some reason they didn't even try such a thing...
  • twelve25
    I wonder about an i5 or i7 S or T model and crossfire 7750's. You might need a bigger case and a longer motherboard that allows gaps between cards.