Asus EN8600GT Silent/HTDP/512M Graphics Card

Graphics Cards
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This 8600GT is essentially identical electronically to the OC Gear version we reviewed previously, except the amount of video memory has been doubled and the heatsink replaced with a passive solution. The core and memory run at the same frequencies.

The EN8600GT Silent edition. A plastic shroud covers the rear portion of the body direct airflow to/from the rear vent.

The heatsink's fins are very thick and spaced widely apart. A shroud helps focus air current over the heatsink. It's doubtful this will be useful without appreciable airflow. It's notable that unlike some other passively cooled graphics cards from Asus, (such as the EN7600GT SILENT, or the EN8600GTS SILENT) the heatsink does not extend to the backside of the board. Presumably, this has to do with the actual cooling requirements of the different GPUs on these graphics cards.

The cooler is mounted via four screws on the back of the card.

The heatsink viewed from the side.

The bulk of the cooler appears to be comprised of aluminum but a different story emerges when viewed from the side. The actual GPU core contacts a thin copper base plate. Just above it, a single solitary copper heatpipe curves out the opposite side and transfers heat to the rest of the heatsink. A small section of the heatpipe is visible on the top side of the cooler — the shroud obscures the rest from view.

The fin layout of the heatsink.

The fin layout of the heatsink is puzzling. Instead of a symmetrical array, the fins are broken into sections. The middle portion is curved and the section at the top of the PCB is arranged at a steep angle.

The rear grill.

From the design it appears that Asus intends warm air to exit via the vent and out of the case, but we're not sure exactly how this can be accomplished without any direct airflow. Ultimately whether air enters or exits this grill will be determined by the internal case pressure. The "dorsal" fins (on the left side of the above picture) are almost perpendicular to the center fins. It seems all they do is get in the way of any air that may be flowing down the length of the PCB. A more uniform design with a higher quantity of thinner fins to maximize the amount of surface area exposed would serve better in a low airflow environment.

The EN8600GT Silent installed in our test system.

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