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 Post subject: Most silent GeForce 200 Series card with stock cooler?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:38 am 
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I'm looking to buy a GeForce 200 Series card. Most likely a GTS 250 to GTX 275 card. Which stock cooler is the least noisy? Noise measurements is a little hard to come by in their own specifications.

I have looked at these solutions

Gigabyte open heatsink: http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/VGA/Products_Overview.aspx?ProductID=3060

XFX, EVGA closed box heatsink: http://www.xfxforce.com/en-us/products/graphiccards/GTSseries/250GTS.aspx, http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=01G-P3-1155-TR&family=Geforce%20200%20Series%20Family

From this http://www.silentpcreview.com/article791-page4.html test it looks like the open heatsink solution from Gigabyte may be more efficient than the closed box heatsink with the fan on the side. What do you think?


Last edited by John Peterson on Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:40 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:39 am 
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Dummy post, please delete


Last edited by John Peterson on Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:39 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:47 am 
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I think the 1st card you linked looks good but it will be louder than you expect.

2 wire fan so I expect it runs 100% all the time.

Can't reduce the fan speed since I woud expect the VRMs will overheat.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:40 am 
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Hi, I had that exact gigabyte card for a while. Looked great, 1GB RAM and big £30 Zalman cooler for about the cheapest I'd seen a GTS250 at the time. Unfortunately mine was faulty, it would not run Folding@home unless the shader clock was reduced, the vendor couldn't find any fault with it despite my telling them ATITool was the test to run. Ended up selling on Ebay.
The Fan does run 100% all the time but not because it's 2 wire but because Gigabyte saved money by not having fan control hardware on board. I had it folding for days on end with the stock fan at reduced speed and also with stock fan removed and 120mm fan strapped to it. It did get very warm but never crashed (when under clocked a bit) If worried about the VRMs could always add something like this. RAM chip version too.(I've got load of these on my GTX260, so far so good)
I don't know how the "stock" heatsink of the others performs but if it's not quiet enough then will be much harder to improve than the Gigabyte, which would be my choice.
Seb

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:38 pm 
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If you go up to 260, then this might be a contender:

Inno3D iChill GTX 260 896 MB (216 SP)
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Inno ... 60/28.html


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:53 pm 
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I am probably not much help here, but I have about decided that I can't get enough air through my case to have a GPU exhausting heat inside the box along with the CPU and other components. So I'm either giving up noise with a squirrel-cage, exhaust-out-the-back cooler, or I'm giving up noise with higher-speed case fans to increase case airflow. It is simpler to go with the former.

If I had a more airflow-capable case, and I thought it gave the VRMs adequate cooling, I'd give something like that iChill a shot.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:43 pm 
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You can use RivaTuner to underclock the card and reduce the fan speed when you are not gaming. They are really fast cards that you can do almost everything non-3D thing (e.g. surfing, youtube, Hulu, DVD etc) with some really low clock rate. At those low rates, lower than stock fan speed should be enough to cool the card. And when you are gaming, you probably won't care about fan noise anyway.

I am using a 8800GTS 512MB that has a fan similar to the 200 series cards. I setup 3 profiles for my card. Normal, which everything stay stock, Underclocked, which has clock rate stock -200Mhz and this profile is being used whenever I am not gaming, and Overclocked, which is used only when I am gaming.

You can also set profile to automatically adjust the fan speed according to card temperature (the fan on my 8800GTS is really loud but can cool really really well when cranked up). See the guide here:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/rivatuner ... ock-guide/

http://www.guru3d.com/article/rivatuner ... ck-guide/3


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 6:25 am 
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Gigabyte's GTX260 S.O. got very favorable marks for its noise and temperatures versus stock 260s despite it being a factory overclocked card.

Quote:
At load, the GTX 260 Super Overclock comes in under everything else on this chart by at least 3dB. This is where Gigabyte’s binning and tuning become apparent, as they have managed to pick a fairly cool chip, and keep the cooler running at a lower speed for longer. The higher temps we saw earlier are a direct result of the desire to keep load noise lower. The card does get hot enough to drive the fan higher, but less so than if Gigabyte wanted to keep the GTX 260’s original thermal targets. In practice this combination makes it one of the quietest higher-end cards we have tested.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 7:47 am 
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SebRad wrote:
The Fan does run 100% all the time but not because it's 2 wire but because Gigabyte saved money by not having fan control hardware on board.

That's good to know. I don't want a card without fan control. Then I won't know if I could run it slower at least when it's idle.

halcyon wrote:
If you go up to 260, then this might be a contender:

Inno3D iChill GTX 260 896 MB (216 SP)
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Inno ... 60/28.html

It looks interesting. Fantastic with a 25.9 dbA while under load. The only thing that throws me off is the same dbA while idle. I would want an inaudible idle noise of perhaps 22 dbA or lower. Isn't there a way to lower the fan speeds so that they are inaudible? Is there any indication that the fan speeds can be controlled from Rivatuner?

Meato wrote:
Gigabyte's GTX260 S.O. got very favorable marks for its noise and temperatures versus stock 260s despite it being a factory overclocked card.

I'll consider that one too.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:46 pm 
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John Peterson wrote:
It looks interesting. Fantastic with a 25.9 dbA while under load. The only thing that throws me off is the same dbA while idle. I would want an inaudible idle noise of perhaps 22 dbA or lower. Isn't there a way to lower the fan speeds so that they are inaudible? Is there any indication that the fan speeds can be controlled from Rivatuner?

If you are OK with a GTX 260, you might be OK with the stock cooler. For instance, have you seen SPCR's review of the Asus GTX 260? They measured 12db at idle and 17db at 50%. I can attest for my EVGA GTX 260, it is practically inaudible at 25%, the lowest I can set it in RivaTuner. I've found 25% fan speed to be totally fine for Windows 7 desktop and blu-ray playback. It's too low for 3D game usage, though.

At 40%, as I've noted elsewhere in these forums, the fan noise is not particularly loud, with the exception of a whiny tone. I keep meaning to contact EVGA to see if they will replace it, aka, consider this a failure mode. (FWIW, my system has 3 SFLEX-E's as other major noise sources.) This speed is as fast as I've ever need to run the fan at to play games, such as World of Warcraft, Darkfall Online or DnD Online :)

I've read in these forums that all the stock GTX 200 coolers are identical, so it seemed like a decent bet to buy any GTX 260 and have a reasonably quiet card. Perhaps I lost that bet 8) but I will definitely post again if EVGA responds and gives me a replacement without the whine.

My point is that if you are most concerned about idle noise, I think any GTX 200 would be fine. And if your sample is like SPCR's Asus 260, it would be plenty quiet at any normal usage too :)

HTH :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:26 am 
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edan wrote:
If you are OK with a GTX 260, you might be OK with the stock cooler. For instance, have you seen SPCR's review of the Asus GTX 260? They measured 12db at idle and 17db at 50%.
...
And if your sample is like SPCR's Asus 260, it would be plenty quiet at any normal usage too :)

That's my concern. I don't understand why that Asus card was less noisy, and what guarantee I have if I buy one now, one year later, that I get the same quiet sample.

edan wrote:
I can attest for my EVGA GTX 260, it is practically inaudible at 25%, the lowest I can set it in RivaTuner. I've found 25% fan speed to be totally fine for Windows 7 desktop and blu-ray playback. It's too low for 3D game usage, though.

Thanks, that's good to know. Perhaps I'll settle with a EVGA if their fan speed control chip allow a wider range of settings than other cards. (They also have their own fan speed control program, EVGA Precision Utility. It doesn't allow any modification of the automatic, threshold levels, settings though, as Rivatuner does in a way.) What information is there about fan speed chips for different cards? Do most cards allow a 25% speed at lowest, or is the EVGA unusual in that sense?

edan wrote:
I've read in these forums that all the stock GTX 200 coolers are identical

They sure look similar at least. I would not make any difference between the coolers that look the same unless there is any other information to confirm that there is some actual difference. Besides getting a lucky sample.

edan wrote:
My point is that if you are most concerned about idle noise, I think any GTX 200 would be fine.

I'm most concerned with the idle noise. I want to be as confident as possible that the card is practically inaudible in idle mode.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:04 pm 
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John Peterson wrote:
That's my concern. I don't understand why that Asus card was less noisy, and what guarantee I have if I buy one now, one year later, that I get the same quiet sample.

I did a LOT of research before I bought the 260 a few months ago. It was pretty obvious after a while (and this opinion is shared by others) that a GPU sample's power usage can vary widely, and the fan performance probably does too.

Quote:
Thanks, that's good to know. Perhaps I'll settle with a EVGA if their fan speed control chip allow a wider range of settings than other cards. (They also have their own fan speed control program, EVGA Precision Utility. It doesn't allow any modification of the automatic, threshold levels, settings though, as Rivatuner does in a way.) What information is there about fan speed chips for different cards? Do most cards allow a 25% speed at lowest, or is the EVGA unusual in that sense?

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.
Quote:
I'm most concerned with the idle noise. I want to be as confident as possible that the card is practically inaudible in idle mode.

I haven't seen any other details about the rest of your system. If you have ANY other fans in your system, I think you will be fine with just about any card, if you take the time to use something like RivaTuner to spin the fans down. I saw some reports that GTX 275's ran even quieter than 260s (presumably at higher temps, I can't recall), so I think for idle, any card will do. Again, my GTX 260 at 25% is practically inaudible with my other fans.

FWIW, IMHO, there is only one way to guarantee yourself a particular amount of GPU noise: you have to be willing to install an aftermarket cooler. That was why I originally gave up on my search and went for the best bang/buck at the time, which was the 260. If it wasn't quiet enough, I'd just install an HRM-03 or something :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:23 pm 
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edan 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.

edan wrote:
I haven't seen any other details about the rest of your system. If you have ANY other fans in your system, I think you will be fine with just about any card, if you take the time to use something like RivaTuner to spin the fans down.

Yes. If the fan control chip allows that. I read about a card (can't remember which one) which had a lowest speed of around 2500 rpm, a point where it was noisy. I want to avoid that.

edan wrote:
FWIW, IMHO, there is only one way to guarantee yourself a particular amount of GPU noise: you have to be willing to install an aftermarket cooler. That was why I originally gave up on my search and went for the best bang/buck at the time, which was the 260. If it wasn't quiet enough, I'd just install an HRM-03 or something :)

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?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:09 am 
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John Peterson wrote:
edan 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. 8) 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).
Quote:
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 :)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:19 am 
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edan wrote:

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. 8) 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).

I settled with a HIS Radeon 5770 and I can set the fan speed to 20% as the lowest in the Catalyst driver, that means around 900 RPM according to GPU-Z. At that speed it's almost inaudible so I'm satisfied with that. The automatic settings (with default BIOS) has the lowest speed at 35%, but I'll change that with the BIOS editor so that it goes down to 20% too. It doesn't make a lot of difference though, it's only when the speed goes past around 45% that it becomes a lot noisier.

edan wrote:
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.

That's what I would guess too. And I'll probably not try to fit an after-market heat-sink either, I'm not that able or skilled at it. The next alternative for me would be to use a fan-less card since I have a silent 120 mm graphics card fan (the side-mounted fan, that you can see on a picture of the case) with my Sonata Elite case that should keep any fan-less card cool with minimum fan noise. Although, at 900 RPM the stock fan on my HIS card is, as far as I can tell, not a lot noisier than the Antec 120 mm fan at the same speed. And the few fan-less cards there are are all last-generation and slower than the 5770.

edan wrote:
I tend to be afflicted by the same paralysis by analysis that you appear to be showing, so I can empathize :)

Well yes, I can't stand a noisy computer. However, my current installation with only stock coolers, one 120 mm Antec case fan, on PSU fan, one stock cooler Intel CPU fan and the HIS 5770 fan, is fairly silent. When both the CPU fan and and the GPU fan run at below 1000 rpm. I'm also very happy with the Asus Fan Xpert that worked great for the CPU fan. However, it's not more silent than my previous Dell Inspiron, but I still like this better since I can't control the case and CPU fan speeds in my Dell. The fan settings in the Dell are probably okay, but they should get a program to control the fan speed ramp-up thresholds like in Asus Fan Xpert, so I don't have to wonder if it could be more silent with a few hundred fewer RPMs for the fans.

edan wrote:

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.

Yes a GeForce would probably have worked fine too, and that was my original idea, but I've never had an ATI card before so I wanted to try it.


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