Asus ENGTX260: A Quiet Graphics Card for Gamers?

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Asus ENGTX260: A Quiet Card for Gamers?

September 23, 2008 by Lawrence Lee

Asus ENGTX260/HTDP/896M
PCI-E Video Card
Street Price

As PC game technology advances, GPU manufacturers have done well to keep up. It seems every few months or so, a new batch of graphics cards are unveiled by ATI or nVidia with performance shaming predecessors barely a year old. As you can expect, the amount of power needed to drive these cards scale up as well; it doesn't help that some are now even equipped with two processors. They have also become very large physically, that it is has become necessary to check dimensions against the case prior to purchase. Nobody blinks when they see a graphics card equipped with loud dual slot coolers — in fact, it is the hallmark of a powerful GPU.

But is it possible to have an excellent gaming system, and have it quiet, or better yet silent as well? With extensive modifications, of course, but what about straight out of the box? For those obsessed with silent computing, adding a high-end graphics card without some kind of quiet, third party cooler, is propesterous. Many of us assume that the stock cooler will be woefully inadequate and most of the time, we're right.

Asus has a line of "silent" graphics card, though the ENGTX260 we'll be looking at today is not marketed as such and just by looking at it, our gut says it's just another loud, angry card. Anecdotal evidence however says it is in fact a pretty quiet card, but is it? And more importantly, is it SPCR quiet?

ENGTX260 box: Completely out of place on the cover art is a fetching Asian archer... the kind of girl who would dig anyone with an Asus graphics card?

A parade of packaging.

We have always chided Asus for their excess packaging, but this particular box was ridiculous. There's a box to hold the accesories, a box to hold the card, and two hollow filler-boxes to keep everything from firmly in place because the outside box is larger than necessary.

Asus ENGTX260/HTDP/896M: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Graphics Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260
Bus Standard PCI Express 2.0
Video Memory DDR3 896MB
BUS PCI Express x16
Engine Clock 576 MHz
Shader Clock 1.242 GHz
Memory Clock 1.998 GHz ( 999 MHz DDR3 )
Memory Interface 448-bit
CRT Max Resolution 2048 x 1536
DVI Max Resolution 2560 x 1600
D-Sub Output Yes x 1 (via DVI to D-Sub adaptor x 1 )
DVI Output Yes x 2 (DVI-I)
HDTV Output (YPbPr) Yes
HDCP Support Yes
TV Output Yes (YPbPr to S-Video and Composite)
Adapter/Cable Bundled 1 x DVI to D-Sub adaptor
1 x HDTV-out cable
1 x Power cable
Software Bundled ASUS Utilities & Driver
Notes Special bundled: 1. CD Leather Wallet 2. Leather Mouse Pad

The card size is 4.376 inches x 10.5 inches

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