Asus EN9400GT Silent Edition

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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS

These recordings were 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. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product 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 VGA test system without a video card installed, and then the actual product's noise at various levels. As this particular card did not add any noise the test system, we have provided only a recording of the test system with its system fan set to the levels tested. 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.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Gaming: Please check out the gaming-oriented reviews of the 9400 GT at Bjorn3D, and XSReviews, and techPowerUp. The general consensus is that the 9400 GT is a slow GPU, unsuitable for playing the majority of today's 3D PC gaming titles, though a few may be bearable if you don't mind low resolution and detail levels.

Video Playback: VC-1 playback was good; very power efficient for a discrete card. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, H.264 playback was more stressful on the system than is usual with most GPUs. We hope it was simply a software or driver bug, though it should be noted that the test system was still good enough to render H.264 smoothly, despite it being somewhat antiquated. This shouldn't be an issue unless you have a very slow CPU.

Cooling: As the 9400 GT uses very little power, it was not necessary to incorporate heatpipes or a fan in the heatsink design. Previous Asus passive cooler featured fins pointing every which way and attempts to direct air along guides and other eccentricities. This time around, Asus did not over-think design and went with something basic which was quite effective. GPU temperatures were excellent, even in a test system with very low airflow.

Power Consumption: By our estimates, the EN9400GT Silent requires approximately 11W when idle and up to 23W DC when stressed to the limit. The load figure is the lowest we've measured on a discrete graphics card, though it probably won't be reached for most users. 11W at idle is also fairly low, but it is still a long way from the efficiency of an integrated graphics chip.

Overall the EN9400GT Silent is a decent budget graphics card. It will result in no additional noise, little if any thermal impact, and a small increase in power consumption. We are unsure what this model will go for but other Asus variants of the 9400 GT are currently retailing for around $60. There are several affordable fanless budget graphics cards $40-$50 range, and those willing to pay a little more can get a lot more 3D performance by choosing an ATI HD 4650 / 4670, or even an nVidia 9500 GT.

Asus EN9400GT SILENT/DI/512MD2
PROS

* Completely silent and fairly cool
* Low power consumption
* Small size

CONS

* Severely lacking in 3D performance
* Possibly too expensive

Our thanks to ASUSTeK for the video card sample.

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Diamond Radeon HD4850

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