Introduction

Every so often we come across graphics solutions that are somewhat specialized and are designed differently than the average card. These are often times made to fit a certain niche within the hardware community, such as space-saving designs or alternative cooling methods. We like looking at these because these cards often yield very different or interesting results from your average graphics card.

Though the average gamer might not care about how cool their GPU runs or how much power the card draws from his system, there are those out there who are interested in such topics, and they want to find a graphics card to fit a certain need. One good example of this would be people looking for cooler-running GPUs to use in hot or desert climates. In these areas, the outside temperatures can cause computer hardware to run excessively hot, and cards with greater-than-usual cooling methods are needed.

One of the most popular and useful design types we've looked at in graphics cards before are those modified for silent or near-silent operation. Quiet systems would be important to many users, for example those who use their computer for audio recording in a home or commercial studio. In the past, we've looked at cards like the NVIDIA 6600 GT Silent, which while modest in performance, had a brilliant and completely silent heat sink design. Today we will be looking at two NVIDIA cards with silent heat sink designs, the ASUS EN7800 GT TOP Silent, and the ASUS 7600 GS Silent.

In one of our more recent video articles, we looked at a water-cooled solution from Sapphire (Blizzard X1900 XTX) which was very intricate and somewhat bulky, but performed on par with the other X1900 XTXs with slightly lower noise. With these two completely silent NVIDIA cards from ASUS, however, the designs are much more simple and effective at reducing noise while still saving space in your computer case. Of course, these two cards aren't looking to offer the same performance as the Blizzard X1900 XTX.

We've not looked much at overclocking silent cards before, but we will be for this article, as well as our usual performance breakdowns for these cards. With some of the recent monster GPUs from ATI and NVIDIA making so much racket, it's refreshing to see cards that make no noise at all, especially with the kind of performance you get with a 7800 GT. Now without further ado, let's take a look at the cards.

The Cards
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  • Josh Venning - Saturday, May 13, 2006 - link

    Thanks Jarred.

    Yes the Splinter Cell graphs were wrong for most of the EN7600 GS Silent results. I went back and changed them so the graphs are now accurate. Sorry for the confusion here.
    Reply
  • poohbear - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    lol wow jared u actually answered the jerk's post in a professional manner. some teenager rants and raves in the manner befitting a 15 year old, and u answer him like he's an adult. gj mate. Reply
  • Griswold - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    Asus needs to bring us a 7900GT with that cooling solution. It should be much better than the 7800 in terms of heat output. Reply
  • nullpointerus - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    It would be better to get a 7900GT ($290) and an Accelero X1 ($35). There is almost no discernable difference between silent and nearly silent, but the thermal difference is going to be HUGE. A large (i.e. 120mm) fan will thoroughly trounce the stock coolers while producing next to zero noise. Why pay $400 for a passively cooled 7800GT? Reply
  • nullpointerus - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    Oops, slight error. The Accelero series won't have a 7900GT-compatible model until June, so you'd have to use a 7800GT instead. Reply
  • yacoub - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    Friggin' 7800GT TOP-SILENT came out a year ago. Time for a 7900GT TOP-SILENT already, WTF!! >:[ Reply
  • Griswold - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    Not quite. It first popped up on Asus' website in november or december of last year.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Monday, May 15, 2006 - link

    way to miss the point: IT'S OLD. IT'S LAST-GEN HARDWARE. oh and IT RUNS WAY TOO HOT. Reply
  • BurntKooshie - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    If I understand the article correctly, this means the CPU fan is drawing in hotter air (because the air has pass over the extended heatsink). If correct, why didn't you test to see the effect of the newly obstructed and hotter airflow upon CPU temperature? Reply
  • rowcroft - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    I've been looking at an SLI setup for 4 DVI ports, would the GT TOP work in SLI? I'd be concerned about where the second rotating heatsink would go. Reply

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