Better (passive?) heatsink for half-height video cards?

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Better (passive?) heatsink for half-height video cards?

Post by Bugsi » Sat Aug 04, 2007 4:57 am

I'm wondering if anyone is aware of any good aftermarket heatsink suitable for a half-height video card?

My system is an HTPC in an Antec Minuet case. I'm finding that this case is not so great for cooling. I'm running an Athlon 64 X2 3800+ with stock AMD cooler (soon to be replaced with a Zalman CNPS8700). The fans were very loud until I activated Asus QFan on my M2NPV-VM's Bios. I also replaced the Antec tri-cool 80mm fan with a Noctua 80mm fan, connected to the chassis fan1 header so both it and the CPU cooler fan are now variable & controlled by the motherboard's QFan. This quieted things down a lot, but the CPU cooler fan is still the loudest thing in it.

I had an MSI GeForce 7300GS half-height PCIe card in it, which had a large (for the card) passive heatsink. But I just replaced it with an MSI GeForce 8400GS half-height PCIe card, which has a much smaller heatsink with a very small integrated fan in it.

Since both MSI cards had a very similar layout, I wanted to see if the 8400GS would run okay using the passive heatsink from the 7300GS, so I swapped it and tried it, but it IDLED at 78 C. I swapped the small active cooler that it came with back on it, and now it idles at 70 C which I still think is too high.

I looked at aftermarket VGA heatpipe coolers from Zalman and Thermalright, but I have only about 70mm height to work with and everything I'm seeing is larger than the space I have.

Does anyone know of, or can recommend a good passive VGA heatsink designed for half-height video cards? This segment of the market appears to be largely ignored. I'm thinking I could get a Zalman and cut down the heatsink to fit if need be, but that seems like going too far.

Thanks inadvance,

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Post by jhhoffma » Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:39 am

You'll have a hard time finding anything for that market in general. The half-height stuff is really only done in volume for OEMs, but things are changing with the growing HTPC market.

The problem is that most half-height cards are usually low-power and don't require much of a heatsink at all. If they do come with a fan, there's a reason: a passive heatsink would need to be too big to work and still maintain the idea of a space-saving half-height design.

However, if you want to try, I would recommend looking for old CPU heatsinks, maybe the PII or P3 style and you can jury rig something with zipties and some ingenuity. Most likely, you'll have to come up with your own design, but don't be afraid to experiment!!!
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