Asus EN3650 Silent Graphics Card

Graphics Cards
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FINAL THOUGHTS

For a sense of how well the HD 3650 performs in games, check out the reviews at X-bit Labs, Legit Reviews and Digital Daily. The general consensus is that the HD 3650 is a entry level graphics card with performance close to, but not quite matching the Geforce 8600GT and Radeon HD2600XT. It is not a good choice for the most recent 3D games except at lower resolutions with little or no extra image quality options enabled. The EAH3650 Silent may be slightly worse as the memory speed is 100Mhz slower than the reference specifications.

Video Playback: Video playback was good, as the HD 3650 uses the same UVD chip as the products higher up in ATI's product line.

HDMI: The video signal worked fine, but the audio did not work on our standard video test system. Apparently, the problem is not isolated to just our sample. A member of the SPCR forum wrote: "The EAH3650 is confirmed in many places to have broken HDMI audio. Only Catalyst 8.2 works, and my understanding is that no newer drivers will ever work."

Cooling: The stock cooler did an excellent job — the card's GPU was cooled more than adequately without generating any noise. Even with very limited airflow, the V-Cool heatsink was more than up to the task. The temperatures seen here were far lower than with the nVidia 9600GT GPU on the Asus EN9600GT graphics card, which uses a variant of the same heatsink.

Power Consumption: For whatever reason (possibly the audio functionality), the EAH3650 Silent seemed to consume more power than it's big brother, the HD 3850, when idle and during video playback. It may be that there was simply something wrong with our sample. Despite this, it is still a more efficient choice than nVidia's offerings.

The Asus EAH3650 Silent is an excellent choice for a silent PC. Its passive heatsink did an exceptional job cooling the GPU, even in our arduous test system with very limited airflow. We wish all entry level graphics cards would come with fanless coolers — it really isn't that hard to keep them cool. The EAH3650 Silent doesn't have the horsepower for "serious" gaming — an odd juxtaposition of terms — but it can do in a pinch at lower resolutions, and with older games. It is not for anyone wanting to use the card with HDMI for a home theater PC. However, this does not stop you from getting audio out to the TV or monitor... albeit, in a less convenient way.

Asus EAH3650 SILENT/HTDI/512M
PROS

* Good high definition video playback
* Excellent, fanless heatsink
* Low load power consumption

CONS

* Lacklustre gaming performance
* Higher idle & 2D power consumption than HD 3850
* Could not get HDMI audio working

Our thanks to ASUSTeK for the video card sample.

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Articles of Related Interest
Asus EN9600GT Silent Edition Graphics Card
ATI HD3850 & HD3870: Improved Acoustics & Power Efficiency
Arctic Cooling Accelero S2 VGA Cooler + Turbo Module
Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 VGA Cooler
Updated VGA Card/Cooler Test Platform
Asus EN8600GT Silent/HTDP/512M Graphics Card

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Discuss this article in the SPCR forums.



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