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?