Graphics Cards

SPCR's 2012 Graphics Card/Cooler Test System

Graphics Cards | Reference|Recommended
Our updated 2012 Graphics card/cooler test system utilizes a Sandy Bridge CPU and Gigabyte's versatile Z77X-UD3H motherboard, a modified Define R3 tower case, a Kingwin 1000W 80 Plus Platinum power supply, and cooling products from Thermalright, Scythe, and Antec.

NZXT Kraken G10 Graphics Adapter

Cooling | Graphics Cards
Despite being tagged in our Cooling and Graphics Cards sections, the G10 is not actually a heatsink, but a metal bracket with a fan that allows any of 27 different models of AIO CPU water coolers to be used with a variety of video cards. This arrangement promises much improved cooling over stock coolers for GPUs that peak at well over 200W, but can it do so quietly?

ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II

Graphics Cards
The ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II is one of the few high-end graphics cards that run really quiet and cool right out of the box.

ASUS Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II

Graphics Cards
The ASUS Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II is a high-end graphics card with a large dual fan cooler. Though it has an impressive look, it doesn't have quite what it takes to cool the GPU quietly at full load.

ZOTAC GeForce GT 640 ZONE Edition Fanless GPU

Graphics Cards
Budget graphics cards aren't as exciting as the top tier models but their lower power requirements are perfect for quiet or even silent cooling. ZOTAC has taken advantage of the GeForce GT 640's modest 65W TDP, equipping it with a completely fanless cooling solution.

ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II OC

Graphics Cards
The ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II OC graphics card has it all: big performance, low power consumption, a very efficient and quieter cooler, and a extravagant price.

Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate Edition

Graphics Cards
Taking advantage of the AMD's Radeon HD 7750 low 55W TDP, Sapphire has outfitted it with a fanless cooler. The HD 7750 Ultimate offers silent operation for only US$15 more than actively-cooled versions of the same card.

AMD Radeon HD 6570 & 6670 Budget GPUs

Graphics Cards
The recent release of the Radeon HD 6450, 6570 and 6670 graphics cards brings the much lauded AMD HD 6000 series to the entry and budget segments. AMD introduced the higher-end cards first to garner interest, with the HD 6850, 6870, 6950, and 6970 all racking up accolades left and right. The new budget cards also offer better performance per dollar, substantial energy savings and improved video decoding capabilities and support for stereoscopic 3D playback.

Asus DirectCU & AMD Radeon HD 6850 Graphics Cards

Graphics Cards
The Radeon HD 6850 is AMD's sub US$200 entrant in the discrete graphics card market. We have two on the bench to compare, a reference sample from AMD, and the Asus EA6850DirectCU, which is overclocked, has an adjustable core voltage, and is cooled using a direct-touch heatpipe heatsink. They turn out to be winners, especially the Asus.

AMD Radeon HD 6870 Graphics Card

Graphics Cards
AMD's new Radeon HD 6870 is not a revolutionary game-changer, but with enhancements in efficiency and performance as well as extra display features, these video cards based on the new Barts core offer a lot of value in the competitive $250 bracket.

HIS HD 5550 & 5570 "Silence" Graphics Cards

Graphics Cards
The HIS HD 5550/5570 are a trio of budget graphics cards that have good potential for silent cooling. Though not great for 3D performance, they are energy efficient and they are all equipped with fanless heatsinks.

HIS HD Radeon 5870 iCooler V Turbo

Graphics Cards
The Radeon HD 5870 is one of the fastest GPUs on the market, offering excellent performance for the newest PC games. HIS takes it one step further with its Turbo edition by overclocking the core and memory speeds and slapping on their own custom cooler.

Asus EAH5750 Formula Graphics Card

Graphics Cards
Our first Radeon HD 5750 sample comes courtesy of Asus in the form of the EAH5750 Formula, a small, midrange graphics card with a rather interesting race-car style heatsink. As the HD 5000 series' energy efficiency is well-known, the unique cooler has the potential to be fairly quiet.

ATI Radeon HD 5450 & HD 5570 Graphics Cards

Graphics Cards
The ATI Radeon HD 5450 and HD 5570 are the lowest models in ATI's HD 5000 family. The 5450 may make a perfect HTPC card, while the 5570 is one step up, hoping to deliver reasonable 3D performance at a reasonable price.

PowerColor Radeon HD 5850: Worth the Wait

Graphics Cards
The Radeon HD 5850 is a high-end graphics card with plenty of performance enhancements over ATI's previous generation, improved power consumption, and advantages like triple display support and the ability to bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio.
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