Several years ago, having a loud system seemed to be the in thing for an enthusiast, the louder the better. I remember picking up a Swiftech heat sink and an insane 80mm Delta “screamer” EHE model fan. This beast moved 80cfm of air and burned your ear drums at 52 decibels. This was all to overclock my AMD Thunderbird AYHJA 1.33GHz to a then screaming 1.6GHz. A few years down the line and Nvidia introduces the ?dust buster,? better known as the FX 5800 Ultra. This card produced sound levels of 60 decibels while running in 3d mode. This card offered average performance at the cost of having to put up with nearly unbearable noise. The thought of making a silent video card was by no means being mentioned at ATI or nVidia.
Fast forward 3 years to today, we find that extremely powerful CPU?s can now be very quiet and even silent due to the advances made in PC cooling technology. Technologies like AMD?s Cool N Quiet and Intel?s Speed Step allow processors to run at much lower speeds which require lower voltages, thus creating less heat. Passive cooling isn?t anything new for video cards as most all low end cards are passively cooled. Asus has decided to apply some advanced cooling technology to a couple of great performers, the NVIDIA 6600GT and the Nvidia 7800GT.
While not top of the line, the 6600GT plays today?s games with no problems and still fits in the budget of most gamers. Asus also doubled the video memory from 128MB up to 256MB allowing for even better performance than a standard 6600GT.
The EN7800GT is the standard fair 7800GT clocked at 720MHz core and 1240MHz memory and is a great candidate for silent cooling. The fans on the standard cards can be quite loud in a near-silent system. Those of you looking for a little more horsepower than the 6600GT should take a look here. Although we didn’t have one for our testing today you can rest assured that a silent version would perform the same as a “loud” one.
Let?s take a closer look at what it takes to passively cool the 6600GT. No need to talk loud or insert ear plugs for this review as the ASUS N6600GT Silencer makes no noise (0dba)!