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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  • Seer - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    I'm not sure where I saw it, but I saw one review of these cards in SLI. Try searching for 7800GT Top Silent Sli. Reply
  • Tiamat - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    Probably could cook a hotdog on that heatsink no problem. Where was this temperature measured and how was it measured? Thermalcouple? Onboard sensor? Was this the core temp or temperature of a certain part of the heatsink? This included the CPU fan's forced convection to aid in the GPU heatsink's cooling? Reply
  • toyota - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    i wonder why they didnt even mention that it runs hot as hell. those are pretty extreme temps. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Monday, May 15, 2006 - link

    The temps may be high, but many of us have cases with a rear 120mm fan directly in the path of the 7800's heatsink. For those that do, this would almost certainly serve to take care of that issue. Reply
  • Cerb - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    Yes, but still well below the level that nVidia thinks is hot enough to throttle for safety. Sacrifices must be made, and cool temperatures are one. I've now gotten used to anything under three digits being OK. Reply
  • Clauzii - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    For someone not on a budget, the 7800GT looks like a good card for silent operation. This could be a card for me - if I were not an ATI fan :)

    No really, it looks nice this 7800GT...
    Reply
  • bldckstark - Friday, May 12, 2006 - link

    That's the whole idea of these cards, they have no fan! Reply
  • thesix - Saturday, May 13, 2006 - link

    LOL, good one! Reply
  • Clauzii - Saturday, May 13, 2006 - link

    Kicked all air out of me :) Reply

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