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Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5 (Rev. 3)
Aftermarket VGA Cooler
Arctic Cooling was one of the very first companies to offer an aftermarket
VGA cooler called, appropriately enough, the VGA
Silencer. The NV Silencer 5 is the successor of the VGA Silencer and, as
its name suggests, it is designed specifically for nVidia-based cards. In fact,
it's even more specific than that the "5" in its name is there
to distinguish it from the other five nVidia-based versions that Arctic Cooling
Cooling's product page has the complete details about which coolers go with
which graphics cards.
SPCR has reviewed the NV Silencer
5 before, so the product is not new to us. It was included in this round-up
for two reasons:
- It makes a good reference against which to judge the other coolers in the
- The original review was of the noisy first revision of the cooler; Arctic
Cooling released revision 2 with a quieter fan shortly after the review was
published. (Revision 3 was added to allow compatibility with the GeForce 7800
series and did not affect noise).
Plastic bubble packaging shows the main heatsink on the front with the bracket
and a secondary RAM heatsink on the back.
||218.5 × 100 ×
Rated Fan Speed
|Arctic Ceramic Bearing
The NV Silencer is more than just a big heatsink with a quiet fan. One of the
reasons why VGA cards are so difficult to cool is that in the mid-tower style cases still favored by diehard enthusiasts, the heatsink typically
hangs below the card where hot air gets trapped and recirculated several
times before being exhausted. The AC Silencer line is special in that the
hot air from the heatsink is largely blown out the back of the case so it cannot be
A double width cooler that exhausts hot air out the back.
This idea is no longer unique a number vidcard manufacturers use OEM variants of the Arctic Cooling cooler. The basic idea is excellent especially
if the rest of the system also runs hot. The down side of the design is its
size and weight. Like many VGA coolers, it is too thick to fit into a single
slot, meaning that whatever slot is below the graphics card is unusable. At
428g, it is also the heavier than any of the other coolers in the roundup by
more than 100g.
Hot exhaust air gets blown out the back of the case instead of allowing it
The GPU and the RAM chips on the front of the card are all cooled.
Because the NV Silencer 5 was designed for a limited range of cards, installing it is as simple
as peeling off the protective paper on the heat pads, threading the bolts through
the holes on the card, and screwing on the backplate. The entire process took
less than five minutes. (On the other hand, removing the stock cooler took a
good half hour.)
The fan is connected to two different headers that match the ones found on
the most common nVidia cards. However, Arctic Cooling notes that "Asus
is unfortunately not following ATIs/NVIDIAs solutions and therefore our plug
doesn't fit." They recommend removing the plugs and connecting the
wires directly in this case. Unlike the other coolers in this review, a motherboard-compatible
header is not provided.
A cross-shaped backplate holds the cooler securely in place.
The rubber mat prevents short-circuits and damage to the delicate electronics
The last step is optional but highly recommended: A separate aluminum plate
provides additional cooling for any RAM chips on the back side of the card.
It also draws some heat through the PCB, so it is useful even on cards without
rear-mounted RAM chips.
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