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 Post subject: Quality of fans
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:18 am
Posts: 2
When looking at fanless video cards, inevitably this comment comes up: "but the fans are so quiet, they're PRACTICALLY silent!". This is glibly dismissive, and of course if that is your attitude, that silent doesn't matter and is a pointless goal, what are you even doing on SILENT PC Review.

The biggest reason I started going for fanless video cards 10+ years ago, is because I KNOW that no matter how quiet the fans are, they sound like unbalanced jet engines after a year. A case fan you can easily and cheaply replace, a CPU fan you spend money on quality, a power supply can be fanless, although most have very high quality fans what with the whole focus on all manner of "green" and efficient solutions in that space. For video cards, I get the impression their role is strictly limited to moving air, with no regard to acoustics. They're small, they're whiny, they're high RPM, they come in 2s and 3s. And if you're a hardcore gamer, as you must be if onboard video is not good enough for you, fan noise is irrelevant, only pixel performance is.

So I'm not really buying the argument of it's so quiet you can't even hear it. It may very well be, out of the box. But my computers run for 3+ years are a time, powered on 24x7. I get there's a dearth of current generation silent video products, but it doesn't mean the concept is worthless.

What's your guys experience with video card fans? Are there really manufacturers putting in card fans that can stand the test of time?


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 Post subject: Re: Quality of fans
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:26 pm 
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Location: Guatemala
I usually sell my cards before a 3 year time frame.

The new gen from nvidia even on high end cards are semi passive, so if you load isnt huge, its practically like having a fanless card, that has fans only when the temp exceds certain mark.

Now you can continue your trend and go with fanless, and just strap a good 120mm fan on them that its easily replaced, Palit has GTX750ti fanless, so there are some from AMD.

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 Post subject: Re: Quality of fans
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:32 pm 
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Welcome to SPCR.

Video cards have quickest obsolescence cycle of any PC component. They aren't built for long lifetimes.

Fanless is fine, and you can go up to 50W or so before you need some airflow to dissipate the heat. The 60W Palit GTX 750 Ti KalmX is a good example. It's fanless, but some case airflow makes a ton of difference on it's temps. Somewhere around 75W you end up strapping a fan to the card.

Mfgrs are finally clueing in for better fan profiles, as exhibited by Asus with it's STRIX line and now with GTX 970 on Asus STRIX , MSI Gaming, and Palit (forget which model offhand) where the fan is stopped until temps get up to 60-68C (depending on the card). So, no fan noise except when gaming or heavy GPGPU task. Whether or not the fans LAST for more than 3 years…ask me in three years.

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 Post subject: Re: Quality of fans
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:44 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:21 pm
Posts: 3
Half of it is getting louder as they age, since the fans almost always ball bearing.

The other half is the noise character. Like anything else you get exposed to on a regular basis, you gradually learn to pick out more of it than when you first hear it, so an easy to tune out whirring whisper gradually becomes a thrashy screech, without itself changing at all.

If you can accept some noise under full load, pulling 150-200W, the new Geforces are the first cards of high performance that may be acceptable with stock coolers.

I've always ended up replacing the coolers, even if they seemed fine right after I bought the card. You can't beat a big multislot cooler that can take ducted 120mm or 140mm fans that you have chosen and positioned. But, the cost is on the high side, to get it done right (in terms of time and effort, nothing has exceeded my success in cooling a Geforce FX 5900XT with a Zalman ZM80C-HP!).


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 Post subject: Re: Quality of fans
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:18 am
Posts: 2
Thanks for the responses guys. Yes, 3 years is pushing it any way you cut it, but the lifespan of my builds is only going up, as I find my (video card) workloads aren't very demanding, and cutting edge just isn't necessary. I think something with a good fan profile might be the best option, with how much power cards are using these days, since by far the majority of time is spent in desktop. Been keeping my eye on this forum off and on to see what shows up, hope more follow Palit's example.


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