John Peterson wrote:
I don't know about that. I assume if it's a "stock cooler" the controls and performance are going to be similar, if not identical.
Perhaps, or perhaps not. I could use more information about the fan control chip. The first thing I want to know is if I can turn down the fan a lot. Because then I can be fairly certain that there is no idle noise during regular office work.
Do you have any other fans? I don't think anyone can tell you whether you will hear any noise from your GPU if they don't know if you have any other fans.
I don't know what else to tell you; I don't have a table of NVidia card manufacturers and their GPU BIOS controls / fan characteristics.
From my research, it seemed that if the GPU cooler LOOKED like the stock cooler, it almost certainly was. My EVGA even seems to be a "bad egg" with its slight whine, and I find it quite acceptably quiet at 25% (~750rpm).
Yes but it seems like a lot of work to get it right. To get all the chips and VRMs covered. And not break anything in the process. Would it be possible to only replace the fan on a regular encapsulated sideways-blowing cooler where the fan is next to the heat sink? Are there silent replacements for the sideways-blowing fans that are meant to be placed next to the heat sink? What dimension are they?
Well, you ARE looking for perfection, after all--some work or perhaps a lot of money is likely to be involved
I'm no expert, but I've looked at a lot of posts of aftermarket coolers and I've never seen anyone talk about just replacing the stock fan. That's proof by a negative, so you may want to investigate it yourself. My guess is that it's probably harder to take apart the pieces of a single piece cooler than to just remove it, and probably not worth it.
I tend to be afflicted by the same paralysis by analysis that you appear to be showing, so I can empathize
Since there appears to be some variance even within the same production models of the same manufacturer, perhaps you should just buy a card from a place with an easy return policy. My EVGA 260 from newegg is "replacement only, no return" so that would not be a good choice
I picked EVGA because it was the most popular on newegg, as well as seeming to have a good reputation for tolerating modifications--so if I did install an aftermarket cooler it might not immediately totally void my warranty.
The only other problem I can see is that GTX 260's are way over priced right now, at least on newegg. One overclocked EVGA is $220... please! Yes, an OC'd 260 could be as good as a 275, but ATI's new cards kick the snot out of a 260/275, and the 5850 is like $260. Once availability improves I assume the price will have to go down.
Sorry if that muddies the waters for you even more. Best of luck