Quiet Graphics Cards

Happy Camper

Spaceman
Hey there you guys!

I'm going to buy a graphics card sometime soon, and I want one that's quiet. I was thinking of going for the Radeon 9800SE AGP edition, only trouble is, I think the fan is noisy. My dad has a Radeon 9500Pro, which is very quiet, but I'm after something a little faster than that, and I'm on a tight budget (no more than £70). Does anyone own a quiet graphics card that isn't too expensive that they feel is good value for money?
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
A 9800SE will definitely be less than £70. I'd recommend something a bit more powerful to keep it from getting outdated too fast. Price for performance, it's not bad, but I really wouldn't consider noise much in the equation. Regular hard drives/case fans/power supplies are going to be producing more noise than the graphics cards in your price range.
 

Happy Camper

Spaceman
I've got quiet case fans and CPU fans, and my firends GeForce 5500 makes a bloody racket, although, nvidia do make noisy cards. The reason I ask is because I do a lot of music work on my P.C. and so like to have it quiet. Having a noisy fan is very distracting. After I waved a piece of plastic tubing around various fans, (thanks to my dad) I found that the fan on my ancient geforce3 was the noisiest, so I'm unsure as to how loud that fan may be as it is also cheap. Thanks for the advice though.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
I think it is less the chipset (ATI or Nvidia) but more the manufacturer. Either get one with a passive heatsink OR one with a massive one (double slot, those are normally considerably less noisy). The smaller the fan the more noise.
 

Happy Camper

Spaceman
Thanks for all your advice, what I was really wondering (as I stated in my original post) was that if anyone owned a quiet graphics card that they would care to recommend?
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
My bedroom sounds like an airport runway, so I really wouldn't be able to help one way or another. Last night my internet was acting up, so I shut my computer off for the first time in like a year. It was so eeriely quiet I couldn't stand it.
 

Claymore

Rear Admiral
Truthfully the loudest thing on a pc is the powersupply fan. I got an off brand powersupply/case. And that thing is loud. I have cool master fans. Those are quiet.

Anyway I can recommend the ati X600 for PCI express and a ati X700 AGP. Both of those cards are built by ATI (not just powered by). The X700 will run you 200 bucks and you could probably only find it at best buy. And you really cant find the X600. But seriously if you have a submarine quiet pc and need a ultra quiet card grab one that just has a heat sink/heat spreader thing. You can tell this by looking at the back through the plastic window.

My aunts XFx MX 4000 is quiet because it doesnt have a fan but it's really low end.
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
Noise level on a PC is the least of my considerations. I'v worked right next to the main servers of my university and didn't mind the fan noise at all. So I am really not the guy to give specific advice here.

However if I would build a super silent PC I'd rather consider to put some noise absorbing inner plating into the PC then to search for cards that are one or two decibels more silent.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Yeah, or a water-cooling system. There's all sorts of weird and expensive solutions if the noise bothers you more than an empty wallet :p.
 

Happy Camper

Spaceman
Thanks for all your tips, I had considered getting one of those massive Zalman heatsinks but have now settled on a HIS Radeon 9600XT which will emit no more than 22db under full load and is faster than a radeon 9800se according to www.extremeoverclocking.com. It also has more cooling than most 9600 series cards have and so will overclock quite nicely when I feel the need.
 

yoyoyojo

Rear Admiral
Fan noise

Ya I have one of teh ATI RAdeon 9XXX's (cant rememebr which one) and the fan on that f*cker is loud! I do music work too and it is annoying. It's most annoying at night cause the house and neighborhood are generally quite, so I tend to turn down the volume, but then I really notice the fan. The fans can be replaced.

On thing I noticed is that the Dells at work are super super quite, of course they do no have any sort of usable video cards. But I do know Dell makes it a point to keep their systems quite for various reasons (libraries, military, schools etc). So I wonder if I got a Dell with a good video card upgrade (sold with the system) will it still be as quiet.

But yes we all will be dealign with the issue more and more. I heard they have reached some sort of limit with the current technology, speed is no longer a barrier as much as the heat generated by the processing.

One time I was messing around with I believe a PII or maybe it was a P4, the heat sink and fan were removed from the CPU and the case was open. I fired up the PC to see if a component powered up. Right as I switch the power on I realised I did not have a sink or fan on the processor. The processor had been dead cold (first time on all day). The PC was pwered for no more than about 3 seconds, woudl you believe when I touched the CPU it was hot enough to burn my finger. We're dealing with seriosu heat here.

Oh on an aside loss of hearing does nto just happen with one sudden loud noise. It is a function of the amount of noise you hear over time. So even if it's just teh hum of your fans, all that noise if listened to long enough can damage your ears.

So think twice about leavign the PC on 24/7.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
If you're building a "quiet" PC here are a few cases that I can easily recommend.

http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15139
This one: http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=15138 has a smaller, yet better power supply. The rubber mounts for the HDs are neat and the tray feature is great for installing the drives. My fan came with silicone plugs instead of screws so the large 120mm fan doesnt vibrate against the case either. With a athlon64 3400+ and a sapphire radeon x800xt I have no heat issues with just the one case fan. (If I overclock I'll add the second 120 mm fan in the front) The sound from my Vid card is negligable and I got a (thermaltake?) large copper heatsink fan combo that is designed to run at low RPMs as well. The sound sitting next to the machine is no louder than a whisper... untill my CD-writer spins up. My DVD writer is not bad.

In comparison to my PC, my dad's Dell sounds like a helicopter.

If you have money to burn, check out this bad boy:
http://www.zalmanusa.com/usa/product/view.asp?idx=64&code=020
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=13791&vpn=TNN500A&manufacture=ZALMAN TECH
The entire case is a heatsink so there are no fans. The only noise comes from the parts you put in it.

As per the topic, You can use this system to connect your Video card to the heatpipes sans fans.... No noise from your Graphics card whatsoever!
 

cff

Kilk'dymga'qith laq Ik'vikvi
yoyoyojo said:
One time I was messing around with I believe a PII or maybe it was a P4, the heat sink and fan were removed from the CPU and the case was open. I fired up the PC to see if a component powered up. Right as I switch the power on I realised I did not have a sink or fan on the processor. The processor had been dead cold (first time on all day). The PC was pwered for no more than about 3 seconds, woudl you believe when I touched the CPU it was hot enough to burn my finger. We're dealing with seriosu heat here.

I am pretty sure that it was a P2. A current CPU will most likely be fried if you try that (unless it shuts down before).

PS: Regarding noise - For about ANY PC I know, the harddisk was the loudest part, not any fans.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
cff said:
PS: Regarding noise - For about ANY PC I know, the harddisk was the loudest part, not any fans.

I have two SATA drives in a raid array. With them mounted in the drive trays using screws through rubber grommets, I never, repeat, never hear the Harddisks ever. My Dads PC clicks away like morse code but seriously I cant tell if my PC is reading/writing to the HDs unless I'm looking at the lights on the front. My fans are most certainly louder.. and even they arent bad. If the monitor shuts off, I cant even tell the PC is on standing only six feet away unless I look at the power light. Sitting next to it, the machine is only negligibly louder with the videocard that I have as opposed to with the old card I had been using while I was saving up that had no fan, just a heatsink.
 

Happy Camper

Spaceman
The graphics card fan on my P.C. is by far the loudest component. This was confirmed when my Dad suggested a got a piece of plastic tubing, put one end in my ear and the other near each fan and hard disk in my P.C. The graphics card fan was the loudest closely followed by the CPU fan, the the hard disk, followed by the PSU and case fans (which are virtually silent). I may consider getting some rubber mounts for my hard disks as I don't have any free 5.25" drive bays so I can't get a hard disk cooler/silencer.
 
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