Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

They make noise, too.

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PartEleven
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Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by PartEleven » Mon May 30, 2011 5:54 pm

I've been holding out for the longest time on upgrading my video card primarily because I've been waiting for 3rd party manufacturers to produce quiet, cost-effective aftermarket cooling solutions for the new graphics cards. Well I've been waiting a while now, and I feel pretty disappointed. Sure there are a few solutions here and there, but nearly all of them are in the $50-100 range. The last great budget cooler was the venerable Accelero S1. The trend lately has unfortunately been bigger and costlier. Just today there was a sale for a GTX 460 that I felt would've been a good upgrade, but I was unsure about the noise level.

So, my fellow SPCR members, do you feel like the recent crop of video cards have stock coolers with acceptable noise levels? Or will I still need to replace the heatsink if I want my system to stay quiet? For reference, my system uses 3 fans: 2x scythe slipstream @ 800 rpm and a pwm slipstream that normally spins at 500 rpm.

ces
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by ces » Mon May 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Why don't you just get a passive video card. They come fairly powerful these days.
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Abula
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by Abula » Mon May 30, 2011 6:28 pm

What about Sparkle Calibre X460G GeForce GTX 460 Video Card

Image Image

or if you dont have anything agianst ATI, then consider the upcoming Powercolor HD 6850 passive

Image
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systemlayers
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by systemlayers » Mon May 30, 2011 6:43 pm

Galaxy 580 w/ Accelero Xtreme Plus cooler. Fans run at 15% (900rpm) or so I gather until the card hits 75c (almost never). It comes with backplate and is cheaper than the sparkle 580 I have that I had to bios mod to get my fans down under 40% minimum.
Trust me 15% is extremely quiet - inaudible in all but the most discerning ears.
That sparkle 460 (there's a sparkle 570 calibre as well with accelero cooler) would be very quiet too.
MSI cyclone 460 with bios modded fans down to 30% is pretty quiet as well which I have in my HTPC. Not as quiet as the Accelero Xtreme Plus @ 15% which is quite an achievement I'd say as it's 3 fans instead of one.
Bios modding may void warranty if you have to send it in though as even just touching the fan %s could be construed as 'misuse'.. though I'm not sure on this I could just imagine.
Other than that it's up to passive cards or third party heatsinks like thermalright shaman, accelero S1 (up to what 6850 someone had it on?) and the AXP. I've had a couple of passive GPU cards one low end which did fine and one 'higher end' one (4670) and in a 2 fan (500rpm) case it struggled and hit dangerous temperatures (90+c). In my opinion high end passive video cards are a waste and you'll still need a fair amount of pressure/airflow to keep that heat out of your case.
Still it is a disconcerting market when practically every video card manufacturer extolls how 'super silent' their video cards are (asus DCII) when many here on SPCR have reported how not silent they are. Blame the gaming community at large who generally can't tell a Delta from a Nexus silent apart.

PartEleven
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by PartEleven » Tue May 31, 2011 1:23 pm

Thanks guys, but I wasn't looking for product suggestions. I was just asking whether you felt the current crop of video cards contained wind turbines as stock coolers or have they improved to the point where getting your own aftermarket heatsink isn't the only way to get proper noise levels. Sure I can always get a passive card, but I enjoy my games and would rather push the boundaries and get the maximum performance I can for the noise level. Also, I was thinking more about the stock reference coolers. With 3rd party manufacturer coolers, it's honestly hard to tell whether they will have acceptable noise levels. One card might be great, but another similar looking one might have an annoying rattling because the fan wasn't mounted correctly.

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by SilentStorm » Tue May 31, 2011 8:47 pm

I'm going to say reference coolers w/ fan are virtually never quiet at load.

Tealc99
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by Tealc99 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:42 am

Well some of the recent crop of graphics cards do come with custom coolers, some are good and some are not so good but probably quieter than the reference in all cases. It's nice to see cards coming through now with triple slot cooling solutions, it's about time they finally admitted that the amount of heat these cards now need to dissipate is beyond the capability of a 50mm cooling solution. We'll still have stock blower reference cards in the market though as that's what you need if you already have a grpahics cooler to fit or if you need full cover water cooling blocks.

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by ickarumba1 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:54 am

Abula wrote: Image Image
]
The cooler on that card looks almost identical to a twin turbo pro, albeit with purple fans. If noise level is similar, then that card should be very quiet (for 2 fans, anyway).

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by PMcG » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:16 am

ickarumba1 wrote:
Abula wrote: Image Image
]
The cooler on that card looks almost identical to a twin turbo pro, albeit with purple fans. If noise level is similar, then that card should be very quiet (for 2 fans, anyway).
It is the TTPro, check out the arctic cooling logos on it.
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by Tzupy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:19 am

No, it's not exactly the TTPro, it's the TTPro with a missing heatpipe.
Damn bean-counters...

lodestar
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by lodestar » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:50 am

Three pipe Arctic Twin Turbo Pro, no such thing, not according to the Sparkle Calibre website....

Image

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by Tzupy » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:17 pm

I think I've located the source of the misunderstanding (3 or 4 heatpipes).
It seems that in Abula's post the image is of a Sparkle GTS 450 and NOT Sparkle GTX 460.

Abula
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by Abula » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:30 pm

Tzupy wrote:I think I've located the source of the misunderstanding (3 or 4 heatpipes).
It seems that in Abula's post the image is of a Sparkle GTS 450 and NOT Sparkle GTX 460.
Well those pics come from the tigerdirect website from the product page of it. A lot of times websites dont update their product pages and use older products, but would be interesting to see what it really uses.
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by justice99 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:35 pm

If you are looking for a GTX460, check my review, you can buy a Gigabyte 460, if you turn fan at 40%, the card is really quiet, if you flash the bios to 30%, its inaudible, and the temps are the same. (40 at idle, 50 when watching Bluray).

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by ickarumba1 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:20 am

It may be an Arctic Cooling heatsink, but it's not the Twin Turbo Pro.
Check out my thread for some pictures:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=62334

PartEleven
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by PartEleven » Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:35 am

Well thanks for the suggestions guys. I prefer separating my gpu and heatsink purchases since that way I can pick up the card with the features I like on a sale and then improve its cooling capability later. It looks like with the current state of the market, the most cost-effective method to achieve quietness is to just buy the card with the cooler you want.

In any case, I've already bought a GTX 460 from EVGA that uses the stock cooler. I've heard that the stock cooler is actually pretty decent though, so I'll just play around with the fan speeds and see how it goes. Still pretty disappointed that none of the heatsink manufacturers put out a cost-effective solution like the Accelero S1 though. I guess from a business perspective they make more money this way by selling $50+ solutions with all the bells and whistles.

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by justice99 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:27 am

Changing a 460 aftercooler is stupid, you better buy a 570 or 580 and change it, you should flash the bios and turn down fan's speed.

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by Dr. Jim Pomatter » Fri Jun 03, 2011 9:07 am

PartEleven wrote:Thanks guys, but I wasn't looking for product suggestions.
People here are obsessive shoppers, and everything looks like a nail to a hammer.
PartEleven wrote:I was just asking whether you felt the current crop of video cards contained wind turbines as stock coolers or have they improved to the point where getting your own aftermarket heatsink isn't the only way to get proper noise levels.
I think you mean blowers when you say "wind turbines". I do not think that blower-based reference heat-sinks are good enough. At idle, they may only make 45 decibels, but they often have a bad pitch. At load, they can still reach 60 decibels or more. This is like having someone talking in the room while you game.
PartEleven wrote:Also, I was thinking more about the stock reference coolers. With 3rd party manufacturer coolers, it's honestly hard to tell whether they will have acceptable noise levels. One card might be great, but another similar looking one might have an annoying rattling because the fan wasn't mounted correctly.
If you go with a top brand, you should be able to pick up a fan-and-heatpipe non-stock cooler that is quiet. A couple of months after any AMD card is realeased, Saphire and XFX have 92mm fan-based coolers come out. These are usually 10 decibels quieter at idle and at load, and they often cost $5-15 less then the blower-based stock cooler.

I would just return a card if the cooler was rattling due to improper mounting. (First, I might try to tighten the mounting screws.)

Finally, I would like to say that you can use the AMD Catalytist Control Center to cut the fan speed. I have turned mine down to 20% when I am not gaming.
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by sagebeard » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:08 pm

well, there are quite a few cards nowadays that are borderline SPCR worthy, look at the DCuII cards from asus for example, the DCuII cards wont even get above the 40 DB(a) on full load.
though the cards require triple slots >_>

and that leads to another question for me, the i was planning to get a P183 to replace my oem case, but i'm afraid that my triple slots DCuII HD6950 wont fit, even with the drive cage removed, anyone any experience with the P183?

also, sorry, i know its a bit off-topic, but i dont really think my question warrants a new topic, does it?

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by ickarumba1 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:41 pm

I wouldn't suggest a direct cu, the fans emit a high pitch squeal, which is the reason I replaced it with a ttp. They are 2 slot solutions.

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by Abula » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:04 am

Apperently there is a new Gigabyte GTX560 coming with bigger fans, shown in computex

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by tanassi » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:36 am

ickarumba1 wrote:I wouldn't suggest a direct cu, the fans emit a high pitch squeal, which is the reason I replaced it with a ttp. They are 2 slot solutions.
Agreed, Direct CU's are nosiy. 3 slot bloatware.
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by PartEleven » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:35 am

Exactly. The disagreeing comments about Asus' directCU coolers are EXACTLY why I prefer to separately match video card + cooler. One person recommends it while another pans it. And usually these comments come without any context to how they came to that opinion. It's quiet, compared to what? your system? How quiet is your system? How do I know that your system is as quiet as mine? etc. By separately buying the video card and the cooler I get to pick the card I want and use the cooler I know will meet my noise criteria. Sure its going to be more expensive but I will gladly pay more to avoid the hassle of buying a product, finding out I don't like it, then having to return it. And living in America I get to enjoy the luxury of having many retailer choices that often have hardware sales. If I were gunning for a specific model card from a specific manufacturer, I'd have to wait a long time for the slim chance that particular card goes on sale. Or straight up buy at MSRP.
justice99 wrote:Changing a 460 aftercooler is stupid, you better buy a 570 or 580 and change it, you should flash the bios and turn down fan's speed.
Why is this stupid? I got my 460 for $150 after rebate, and it comes with a free copy of Adobe Digital Creation Suite that I can hopefully sell for another $50. Newegg prices 570's at over $300. You sound like one of those people that always buys the most extreme high-end tech and believes everyone else that doesn't is dumb. Pretty arrogant and close-minded to me.
Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:I think you mean blowers when you say "wind turbines". I do not think that blower-based reference heat-sinks are good enough. At idle, they may only make 45 decibels, but they often have a bad pitch. At load, they can still reach 60 decibels or more. This is like having someone talking in the room while you game.
I really meant any stock cooler, but yeah I was thinking about blowers since that's the major type of stock cooler. I've had older cards with this design and even though you can turn the fan down, it's got this annoying buzzing hum that's always audible.

So anyway, about that GTX 460 with the reference cooler I bought. It's not bad actually, at least at idle. It seems like (with this card at least) manufacturers are more aggressively controlling for noise at idle speeds by clocking down the card and reducing fan speed. It's pretty much silent at idle. At load temperatures are up to ~70C when gaming with the fan set to auto. Fan speed never really goes above 65% or so. The noise isn't bad, though it's not the silent monster I used to have since I can clearly hear the fan speed changing and the woosh of air. Torture tests (Furmark/OCCT) are a lost cause because the cooler just can't handle it.

norazi
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by norazi » Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:53 pm

yup i got screwed by recommendations of the asus dcu cards... i grabbed an asus dcu2 gtx460 card after reading forum posts (not on spcr of course) about how it was practically silent. well its easily the loudest part of my computer and i honestly dont have "Super Silent" components:
- zalman cnps5x 92mm hsf
- ocz modxtream 500w

and its hard for me to justify an aftermarket cooler because i got my video card for $85 and a decent silent cooler can run over $50


also, i do think that the EVGA reference cooler is in fact quieter than many of the factory 3rd party "quiet" coolers (like the asus)... i upgraded from an EVGA GTS450 with the reference cooler and while it wasnt silent, it was very bearable.

Mallee
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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by Mallee » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:12 pm

PartEleven wrote:With 3rd party manufacturer coolers, it's honestly hard to tell whether they will have acceptable noise levels. One card might be great, but another similar looking one might have an annoying rattling because the fan wasn't mounted correctly.
Couldn't agree more. It is a complete lucky dip as to how quiet the cards are.

I have just replaced a passive 4670 with a non reference Sapphire 6870. I am suprised to find that it seems to be silent for me at idle - definitely quieter than the low noise case fans. But it seems like pure chance that I got a suitable card. There was nothing to tell me that the card would be this quiet, other than the "quiet" marketing claims, which I don't pay any attention to.

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by swaaye » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:44 am

It also depends on how much airflow your case has for the video card area. This can make a considerable difference on how much a card will spin up its fan(s).

Also, the cards with aftermarket coolers often try to go for cooler temps than stock instead of similar temps and less noise.

But I would definitely stay away from the cards with the blowers because as said they can be heard even when idle and spinning slow. Their airflow, bearings and the cheap plastic enclosure create a nasty resonating grindy sound. Under load they quickly start to sound like a hair drier because that is essentially what they are.

If you avoid the high end cards you increase your chances of finding quiet cards because the power output drops dramatically. A good cooler on a midrange GPU goes a long way.

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by lodestar » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:58 am

The main issue I suspect is that potentially quiet coolers like the MSI TwinFrozr and the Asus DirectCU are more the result of providing greater potential for overclocking that they are about quiet computing. Gainward sell specifically quiet gaming cards, in Europe only, under the Phantom and Golden Sample model names. But in reality the only solution to quitening a card which is too noisy at idle for example is to edit the BIOS to set the minimum fan speed lower. At one time you could do this without touching the BIOS by using software like RivaTuner but this does not work on the new generation of graphics cards. Most of the functionality of RivaTuner has been absorbed into MSI's AfterBurner but (unhelpfully) this does not include the ability to set the minimum fan setting any lower. So, in the newer ranges of cards at least, a BIOS edit to reduce the minimum fan setting is the only answer but will involve the usual trade-off of lower noise against elevated graphics cards temperatures.

It would be better of course to buy a quieter card in the first place. But the problems seems to be that few reviewers ever go into great detail about what levels fan speeds are set to. Comments like 'whisper quiet at idle' can be meaningless if the card is running in a gaming case with numerous case fans whirling away. Even apparently similar twin fan coolers can work in entirely different ways depending on how the manufacturer has chosen to configure the fan settings. So with the GTX 560 non-Ti model for instance you have the Asus DirectCU with two fans idling at 1300 rpm at 18% PWM duty cycle, and the Gigabyte OC also with two fans idling at 1000 rpm at 30% duty cycle. Sure the Gigabyte seems more promising, and the large size fans even look the part. But two 100mm fans running at 1000 rpm might still be too noisy for some people. So back to the BIOS edit again....

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by justice99 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:11 pm

Why is this stupid? I got my 460 for $150 after rebate, and it comes with a free copy of Adobe Digital Creation Suite that I can hopefully sell for another $50. Newegg prices 570's at over $300. You sound like one of those people that always buys the most extreme high-end tech and believes everyone else that doesn't is dumb. Pretty arrogant and close-minded to me.
Ok, so 100$ for a GTX460, and 80$ for a cooler...

You can find 460 with very quiet stock fan, and even 580 like Sparkle Calibre model (with a Arctic fans).

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by PartEleven » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:54 pm

Actually my cooler came out to about $40. Which is why I went ahead with the separate gpu + cooler purchases. Buying separately let me have the advantage of Evga's better warranty and a better cooler. How about you find me a custom GTX 460 for $150? Oh according to your post above you seem to support flashing custom bios. So apparently paying more for cooling and noise satisfaction is dumber than voiding your warranty?

Like others in this thread have said buying a manufacturer-customized card is a real crapshoot when it comes to silence because there is often nothing to go on other than highly subjective word-of-mouth recommendations or marketing claims.

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Re: Modern video card noise: good enough for SPCR?

Post by justice99 » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:09 am

You can easily flash your bios with your original bios, or also download last bios on manufacturer website, and use the warranty.

Lot of manufacturer will obv void warranty if you change the cooler, almost all of them (except EVGA), and not way to fix that.

The game is to try to have the quiestiest stuff without spending tons of money.
Why would you spend 40$ if you can do it for free and keep the warranty, now if you have the money, its another thing, you better buy this cooler.

Keep in mind that even after changing the cooler, you will probably have to flash the bios, because if you can't go under 40% (fan speed) with the stock cooler, you wont be able to with the new cooler, it happened to Arctic Xtreme Plus owners...

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