ASUS

We start our silent card roundup by looking at some cards by ASUS, a company that has impressed us with its quality in the past. For this roundup, ASUS has submitted four silent NVIDIA cards and a silent ATI card.



First we have the ASUS NVIDIA GeForce EN7800 GT Top Silent, a powerful card considering its silent design. As its name implies, the EN7800GT uses NVIDIA's 7800 GT GPU. This is an interesting card because, aside from its high performance GPU, its heatsink is designed with an arm extending from the side of the card that has the ability to swivel out 90 degrees so that air being pulled from the CPU fan can provide extra cooling. The arm can also remain closed if space is an issue, and the card still works fine. This is also the most powerful silent card we have for this review, and it comes with a slightly higher factory clock than a standard 7800 GT (420MHz/1.24GHz).


Second, we have the ASUS NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS Silent 512. As the name suggests, this card has 512 MB memory instead of the standard 256 MB and is based on NVIDIA's 7600 GS GPU. However, the memory clock speed is set significantly lower than the standard 256 MB 7600 GS (540MHz vs. the standard 800MHz). This card as well as the 256 MB version have metal heat sinks that cover the front of the card, and curl over the top and down the back about an inch.


The ASUS NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS Silent is the 256MB version of the above card. It's factory clocked the same as a standard 7600 GS, with a 400MHz core and an 800MHz memory clock speed. Both the 512 MB and 256 MB versions of this card look exactly the same. It is possible that when Windows Vista becomes available, the added memory of the 512MB version will prove useful, but at present there's little reason to recommend having additional RAM at a slower clock speed.


The ASUS EN6600 GT Silencer is very similar in design to the EN7800 GT Top Silent, with a rotating-arm heat sink that extends from the side of the card. The EN6600 GT's heat sink is a bit smaller and lighter than the EN7800 GT, which makes sense given the 6600's smaller size. Also similarly to the EN7800 GT Top Silent, this is the only card of its kind (6600 GT) in this review. On the NVIDIA side, our main focus will be on 7600 and 7300 cards, and for ATI the X1300 and X1600 offerings.


And lastly, we have an ATI offering by ASUS: the Radeon EAX1600 XT Silent. This is our most powerful ATI card for this review, and this particular X1600 XT has an interesting heat sink design. There is a small black heat sink on the face of the card just covering the processor, and two metal heatpipes extend around the end and to the back of the card, which holds a much larger heat sink. We will list the current prices for these as well as the rest of our cards in the "Cards Summary and Prices" section later on.

Index Gigabyte
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  • TheInternal - Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - link

    It's wonderful to see Anandtech take the time to review silent products. I've really been trying to quiet down my PC, and seeing this review gave me some further encouragement. With rumors of ASUS acquiring XFX, it will be interesting to see if Anandtech decides to review the passively colled XFX 7950 GT with heat pipes that look awfully reminescent of the ones from the ASUS 7800 you reviewed.
    I'm also curious to see if any 7900 GS cards become available with passive cooling soon.
    Reply
  • Richey02hg - Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - link

    I was just curious if any of these cards are AGP? or they all PCI Express only? and also, its hard to tell since an x800xt all in one wonder isnt in there. But would any of these be an upgrade over that? Because I have to admit, just seeing that word "silent" makes me happy cause my GPU is insanely loud Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - link

    All are PCIe. I'm not sure if there are any silent AGP cards out there other than very low end components. As for the X800 XT, that is roughly equivalent to the 7800 GS in performance, albeit without SM 3.0 support. 7600 GT would also be pretty similar in performance I think. I would recommend holding onto your current system as long as you can, and when he can no longer stand the performance it offers do a wholesale upgrade to PCI-E GPU and motherboard, and probably a new CPU and RAM is well. At that point, you might as well just go ahead and buy a completely new system -- you could even try selling off your current system to recoup some of the cost. Reply
  • Richey02hg - Thursday, September 07, 2006 - link

    thanks for the advice, Im actually planning to get a laptop in 2006 and thanks to your review im definetly waiting for that second wave (forget the name) of the core 2 duos for laptops :) Reply
  • Eddie Lin - Thursday, August 31, 2006 - link

    Gigabyte seems don't need reserve SLI bridge seems 7300GS only go with S/W SLI and don't need bridge. Is really good heatsink design on this card Reply
  • DerekWilson - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Thanks Eddie --

    We have added this information to the article.
    Reply
  • yacoub - Thursday, August 31, 2006 - link

    It's an absolute joke that Asus and Gigabyte don't have silently-cooled 7900GTs out yet. The card requires less power and runs cooler than the 7800GT did. It's a shoe-in to get a silent version. wtf.

    This is practically a roundup of grandfathers and retirees when you include a 7800GT. ;P
    Reply
  • nullpointerus - Friday, September 01, 2006 - link

    Maybe they are trying to get rid of old cards without dropping the price too much? Reply
  • yyrkoon - Thursday, August 31, 2006 - link

    Alot of people that would consider buying a fanless GPU wouldnt even care if it DID make tons of noise, some of us live in deserts, where its extremely dusty. There is nothing like owning an air compressor or two, just for 'dusting' you house, shops, and PC / electronics innards.

    I guess I'm one of the few people who actually enjoy having a fan or two on while I'm sleeping for background noise, but less moving parts means longer part life here in the Nevada desert. However, I own a eVGA 7600GT KO, that has a fan on it, and you know what, I have a really hard time hearing it from 6 feet away. In fact, the 120mm low RPM fans that came with my Lian Li case make more noise, and they dont make much noise themselves.

    I think its a great idea that these manufactuers are making products like this, but at the same time, for me personally its not really an option. I only buy parts from a compnay with a good reputation, and offer excellent customer support, and hence I'm very picky about who I buy from. At the same time, I know what I want, and if something passive isnt availible on say a 7600GT (which is what I wanted for this current system), and at the same time, from a company I would normally buy parts from, then I wont bother. I would think it a better option to buy the part you wanted for a video card, then buy an aftermarket passive cooler if it comes down to that (which would probably void your warranty, so again, for some of us, not really an option).

    So basicly, what it boils down to, is that I have to buy a graphics card with a fan to get what I want, and if problems later ensue, its a good thing I have a can of miracle oil around, and a few saringes . . .
    Reply
  • Josh Venning - Thursday, August 31, 2006 - link

    These are some good points; it's true that with less moving parts you would theoretically see longer life and resistence to dust and dirt, something that could be a plus. And while it's true that a normal graphics card (with a fan on it) will be pretty hard to hear from a little ways away inside your computer case, the idea is that some people need that extra bit of silence for whatever reason, and every extra fan adds to the noise level on the system. For myself, when recording sound/music with a computer, getting things as quiet as possible is very important, so this is one case where eliminating even a couple of dbs is worth buying a silent gpu for. (especially if, like myself, your recording computer is one you also want to be able to play games on.) Reply

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