ZOTAC GeForce GT 640 ZONE Edition Fanless GPU

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MP3 Sound Recording

This recording was made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. It's intended to give you an idea of how our test system sounds in actual use — one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware that very quiet subjects may not be audible — if we couldn't hear it from one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!

The recording starts with 5~10 seconds of room ambiance, followed by 5~10 seconds of the GPU test system with its case fans at various speeds. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again.


The ZOTAC GeForce GT 640 ZONE Edition is a fairly unremarkable fanless video card. The cooler is nothing special, not overly large or particularly clever or effective. It requires a good amount of airflow to keep the GPU adequately cool, barely managing a core load temperature under 100°C in our torture test with two case fans running at quiet levels. Like most low-end models, the board itself is quite small but two expansion slots are required because of the girth of the heatsink and for breathing room; it also takes up a bit of extra space on the trace side of the PCB as the cooler partially wraps around the edge of the card.

As a gaming card, the GT 640 is a real let-down, possibly because it's saddled with a whopping 2GB of slow DDR3 memory rather than a more pragmatic amount of faster GDDR5. In our tests, it was capable of producing playable frame rates in various games at 1440x900 and 1680x1050 resolution with vary degrees of detail but struggled to keep up with the Radeon HD 6570 and was soundly beaten by the GeForce GTS 450. Keep in mind GT 640's start at US$90, similar to the GTS 450, while the HD 6570 is about $20 cheaper. The ZONE edition isn't widely available at the time of writing but we did find it on one website for a whopping US$120. At that price, the Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate offers substantially more value with far superior performance and a larger, more capable heatsink. As it stands, the GT 640 is too expensive and the ZONE Edition only compounds the problem.

The only area in where the GT 640 stands out is energy efficiency. It was one of the most frugal cards we've tested, consuming about 9W when idle and only 4~6W more when playing high definition video. That being said, it's a bit overpowered to be used as a simple HTPC card; there are plenty of more affordable, lower rung GeForce and Radeon models that can do just as well in this regard.

Our thanks to ZOTAC for the GeForce GT 640 ZONE Edition video card sample.

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Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme Plus GPU Cooler

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