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Need cool-performing card for media PC in media rack

Posted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:12 pm
by Zorander
Hi all,

Current HTPC spec is:
Intel Core i3-530 (integrated GPU used)
Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3
Silverstone GD05
Corsair VX-450 (PSU)
2x2GB Kingston DDR3

I'm planning to occasionally play games on this system (1920x1080 resolution) and rid myself of the Intel 23.97fps issue. It needs not be a blazing fast card as long as I can get smooth gameplay. It needs to run cool & quiet though as the system is within an enclosed media rack (with accordingly low airflow). Obviously it has to fit inside the Silverstone case too.

I'm willing to spend up to the HD6850 or GTX460 (leaning towards the former as it seems to run cooler and I've always been an ATI user). I don't know if these cards will fit inside the case or if there is a more appropriate card for this intended usage though. What would you suggest in this case?

Thanks in advance.

Re: Need cool-performing card for media PC in media rack

Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:24 am
by quest_for_silence
Zorander wrote:What would you suggest in this case?

Coming from a Clarkdale IGP, I think that a Gigabyte SilentCell 5770 would be more than enough (but slightly less performing than the quoted 6850 or 460) and it's deadly silent (it's fanless). Anyway I would avoid the 460s, while some 6850 are quite acceptable at idle (not the very same at load).

I mean you have to give a look at your favourite games to understand if a 5770 may be enough for you, but above all you have to ask to Silverstone Tech SUpport if the Gigabyte would fit (it's a tad high).

On the contrary, if the Gigabyte wouldn't fit or if you want really high performances (noticeably higher than a 460/6850), you have IMVHO just one choice, the new Nvidia 560Ti, but you have to choose among idle or load noise level.
If you prefer low idle noise (as you seldomly play games), maybe the MSI 560Ti Twin Frozr is one of the best choices, while if you rather lower load noise, then you may go for a reference (an EVGA?) GTX 560Ti.

AFAIK Radeons are fairly louder at load (I mean the 6850/6870, or the 6950: there's the fanless PowerColor SCS6850, but I think it's not out yet, and it's significantly slower than any 560), and slightly louder than the MSI at idle.
Obviously a 6850 is significantly cheaper than a 560, while the 6870 is just a bit less (so IMO this latter doesn't worth).

Re: Need cool-performing card for media PC in media rack

Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:41 am
by quest_for_silence
quest_for_silence wrote:
Zorander wrote:What would you suggest in this case?

Coming from a Clarkdale IGP, I think that a Gigabyte SilentCell 5770 would be more than enough (but slightly less performing than the quoted 6850 or 460) and it's deadly silent (it's fanless). Anyway I would avoid the 460s, while some 6850 are quite acceptable at idle (not the very same at load).

I mean you have to give a look at your favourite games to understand if a 5770 may be enough for you, but above all you have to ask to Silverstone Tech SUpport if the Gigabyte would fit (it's a tad high).

I've given a quick check to the GD05, unfortunately the 5770 SilentCell won't fit: similarly powered card are the MSI N450GTS OC Cyclone (I own two) and the MSI R5770 Hawk, both really quiet at idle AND at load, if you mind.

Among the 6850s (avoid the 460s), I would advice for the MSI Cyclone, it seems a full bit better than other designs with reference to load noise level (as it is selectable).

Re: Need cool-performing card for media PC in media rack

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:57 am
by Zorander
Thanks for the thorough response, Luca. So either the 6850 or 5770 is the one to get then. I will get the latter if it is good enough for HD-gaming (time to hit the reviews). The 560Ti is unfortunately out of my budget considering the casual gaming intention. As for models within a particular brand, we aren't spoiled for choice here in Australia so getting a 'regular' model is the most likely scenario. I'll keep your suggestions in mind nonetheless.

Slightly off-topic, I also want to replace the really noisy Intel HSF (closing the rack muffles the sound at the expense of temperature). I don't want to spend too much on this (around $30-50) and it has to be low-profile as the optical drive is right above the CPU. Is there anything that fulfills these criteria?

Thanks!

Re: Need cool-performing card for media PC in media rack

Posted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:35 am
by quest_for_silence
Zorander wrote:Is there anything that fulfills these criteria?

You have just 70mm of clearance: so you may go for either the Scythe Big Shuriken, or even the Scythe Shuriken.
Please take note that in order to have quietness actually, you need to control the fan speed through a software or hardware control (I think that neither SpeedFan or BIOS are fully working solutions on most Gigabyte boards). Maybe a Zalman Fanmate PWM could help.
The Prolimatech Samuel 17 could do even better than these Scythes, but it should be a bit over your budget (it needs a not sleeve bearing PWM fan). You may refer to the relevant SPCR section for other alternatives.