Adrian - You Can Answer this - Quiet Graphics Card

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards & Displays' started by GeekFunk, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    Greetings Adrian

    I have not posted here in a while, so hello all.

    I'm building a new Windows Median Center box, and I'm looking for a good performing but quiet graphics card.

    I'm looking at the Sapphire Radeon X800 GTO Ultimate because it has passive cooling.

    Are there better performing cards that are quiet as well?
  2. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    Hi GeekFunk,

    Sorry for being rude, but this is obviously your first post here, so I don't know why you said you haven't posted in a while. And Adrian is not the real graphics card expert here, so I don't think he can answer your rather specific question, but obviously, some others can. :mrgreen:

    You want good performing card with is quiet? Assuming without budget, you can try to look for Asus 7800GT with passive heatpipe cooling!
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2006
  3. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    I have posted here before, but perhaps as a different user a few years ago. I've been a reader of Adrian's site for a long time.

    Anyway, the Asus 7800GT looks like a great performing and silent card.

    However, the heatsink mechanism seems to be too big for the microBTX case I intend to use.

    See more pictures here:

    This Silverstone LC15 microBTX case will be delivered here some time this week. So, I'll know for sure.
  4. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    Ah...that makes more sense. :D

    Wow. that's a very small case. Well, I guess you don't have much choice, do you?
  5. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    Some folks might call my proposed design a Home Theater PC. I call it a Super Personal Computer because it does it all very, very well: audio and video media processing and entertainment, pc gaming, and work and personal productivity.

    For what it's worth, here's my proposed box:

    Silverstone LC15 case
    Intel Pentium D 820 BTX version
    Intel D945GCZL microBTX motherboard
    2 GB DDR2 memory
    Sapphire Radeon X800 GTO Ultimate PCI Express x16 graphics card
    Lite-On DVD DL burner with LightScribe & DVD-RAM
    Western Digital Caviar SE16 SATA 250GB hard drive
    Dvico FusionHDTV 5 HD tuner
    Vbox Cat's Eye 150 HD tuner
    Powercolor T55E P03 Theater 550 Pro analog tuner (PCI Express x1 card)
    Windows Media Center wireless keyboard - Logitech MX500 mouse
    Dual boot with Windows Media Center Edition 2005 and Windows XP Pro x64

    I will use a HDTV-ready wide screen 30" LCD TV as my monitor. Also connected to the flat panel will be a Sony VCR, a DirecTV satellite box, and a XBox console using the XBox HD connector.

    I've had a similarly featured system like this for nearly a year and half. My current SuperPC is based on an Asus K8N, Athlon 64 3000+, Radeon 9800 Pro, dual boot WMCE/Winx64.

    The proposed design will incorporate a microBTX form factor motherboard and an Intel Pentium D 820 dual core processor.

    There are some concerns. The Silverstone LC15 seems to be the best looking microBTX case on the market. Silverstone does not make it easy for folks to evaluate this model as they do not have a user manual for downloading. I wanted more info on (1) whether the case can take more than one hard drive, and (2) installing low profile PCI cards.

    I want to have three TV tuners inside the box: one analog, and two HD tuners. With three tuners, you can record three different TV programs simultaneously. Note that the Intel motherboard has only one PCI Express x16 slot, one PCI Express x1, and two regular PCI slots. So, I'll have all of these slots filled.

    However, it took some time for me to find the right configuration of tuners in the PCI low profile form factor. For instance, the Powercolor T55E-P03 is a low profile card, but it normally is delivered with a full height bracket for an ATX box. Fortunately, Powercolor sells a low profile bracket that you can change yourself. By the way, the Powercolor T55E-P03 is doubly unique: it is low profile with a proper bracket and is a TV tuner on a PCI Express x1 form factor, a rarity.

    Let me make this clear: some "low profile" PCI cards come with full height brackets. Generally, you must replace this full height bracket with a low profile bracket if you want to install the card in a small box like the Silverstone LC15.

    It seems to me that a low profile card with a full height bracket is a useless configuration.

    Dvico's FusionHDTV 5 tuner comes with two brackets for either low profile or full height boxes.

    Vbox's Cat's Eye is a low profile card with a full height bracket. I emailed Vbox to ask where I can get a low profile bracket. Vbox told me that they would send me one if I wanted one.

    I have two Avermedia AverTVHD A180 HD tuners in my current system, and both operate together because Avermedia designed their drivers to do so. I know of no other HD tuner brand that supports two of the same model working together in same box. That is why I'm proposing using different HD tuners.

    However, Avermedia does not have 64bit drivers for Windows x64. Dvico does have 64bit drivers for its FusionHDTV. Vbox does not. ATI has 64bit drivers for the Theater 550 analog tuners. So, I'll have one analog tuner and one HD tuner working in Win x64.

    The microBTX form factor has not caught on very well. This will be my first experience with it. Its unique characteristics are the ways it handles heat, air flow, and noise.
  6. empire23

    empire23 BRB. Attacking Russia

    i don't see why you would even need a X800GTO, as the R480 is a known heat maker. Compound that with your egg poaching Pentium D, i don't think it's going to be viable at all. Even with alot of air moving through the case (which then comes the problem of noise), i'm sure as hell it isn't going to be a bed of daisies.

    Suggest something that fits your needs and limits, maybe a 6600GT with a HDMI connector or a X1600XT with VIVO? and that processor lol, try going AMD instead and underclocking it while using a passive cooler :p
  7. ZuePhok

    ZuePhok Just Started

    ouch! get that P-D off ur list. it's HOT!!
    with such a small case, you will get throttling issue..

    the intel stock heatsink is noisy. (the media sample is as loud as the 60mm 7.2krpm fan)
    if u want something quiet, I think u will probably have to look for an aftermarket solution.

    you should consider AMD instead.
  8. Dashken

    Dashken Administrator!

    Most of my colleague still in the 'AMD has heat issue' era. :haha:

    From my testbeds, even idle, I can see that Intel going at 60 degrees. :faint: When at load, 90 degrees+. :faint:
  9. Chai

    Chai Administrator Staff Member

    But there's no BTX AMD motherboards. :p
  10. Ishtim

    Ishtim Super Moderator

    There is alot of good info on this here....:wave:

    ...also the Intel site has technical specs and heating topics coverered in great detail as to using BTX form factor and case temperatures.:thumb:

    d/l this......

    IMO, just at a glance it looks like P-D CPU and BTX combo will be hard to keep cool and quiet at the same time.:doh:

    Hmmm, is there a water cooled system in someone's future?:think:

  11. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    I selected the Sapphire Radeon X800 GTO Ultimate because it was nearly silent. In fact, I couldn't find another X800 that was quiet.

    I started this thread asking for suggestions for silent or near silent graphics cards.

    I have looked at the Radeon's that support ATI's AVIVO technologies, and the X1600 is one of them, with the X1300, X1800, and X1900 being the others.

    I like the X1600. In fact I've made up my mind that I will exchange the X800 I have for an X1600 if I can find a quiet brand.

    So, can anyone suggest a quiet Radeon X1600?
  12. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    I know that the P-D is a heater.

    But, note that I'm going to use a microBTX motherboard and case. This system utilizes a special heat sink and fan device called a thermal module, which is supposed to very efficient and quiet. It were Intel's design goal and motivations for developing the BTX form factor.

    So, I'm committed to the BTX and, accordingly, to the Pentium D and its foibles. As the man said, there are no BTX's for Athlons.

    By the way, I love the Athlons.
  13. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    Ishy Tim

    I'll soon find out if a BTX system will tame the Pentium D's heat and noise issues.

    Have you seen the BTX thermal module that encloses the CPU heat sink and fan? It is huge, and is one of the unique design features of BTX.

    I have spent a lot of time at the websites that you link to.

    However, as someone has mentioned, BTX hasn't taken off, and I suspect that they will all be gone soon.

    So, I'll probably have a very rare system after awhile.

    If anyone is interested, built a BTX system in December 2004, and posted a piece about it. Look for it under the "Build It" link.

    I'm still looking for a relatively quiet Radeon X1600.
  14. ZuePhok

    ZuePhok Just Started

    there is :mrgreen: if u find hard enough.
    i took this picture last year

  15. ZuePhok

    ZuePhok Just Started

    regarding the cooling module, it really doesn't matter what sort of heatsink or design you use, even with the best air cooler the P-D can still break 70c easily. unless your ambient temp. is very very low.

    forget about what Intel wanted us to hear when they introduced it, the BTX standard is merely just a solution to combat the heat (for their OEM partners cuz there where Intel get all the $$$. ) and with Conroe coming second half of this year, ATX will stay for long long time. it's weird to hear the performance of a PC is limited by its case. but then again, it's your PC and as long as u are happy with it, then everything is cool :thumb:

    if you want absolute quiet X1600, the asus EAX1600XT SILENT/TVD/256M is the one to get. do make sure to direct some airflow to the back to the card. BTX design doesn't support passive VGA cooler very well as the CPU is no longer on the upper part of the board. Such cooler depends on the air flow generated by the CPU fan.
  16. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    Here's an update.

    As I thought, the Sapphire Radeon X800 GTW Ultimate is too long for the Silverstone LC15 BTX case.

    The space between the end of the thermal module to the inside edge of the back of the case is 6 3/4 inches. The Sapphire card is 7 3/8".

    So, I'm looking for a graphics card that is about 6 13/16 inches or shorter.

    More specifically, I'd like a Radeon X1600 XL of any brand so long as it is within the specifications.

    I've read through a lot of the technical documents about the BTX. It appears that the design guides for the microBTX are strict with respect to the dimensions of motherboards and cases.


    The Asus EAX1600XT would be a nice card except that the heat pipe wraps around the end edge of the card, which is exactly where I need the space. There is no room for the heat pipes because the aluminum fins of the heat sink inside thermal module are in the way.

    It could work if I could wrap the heat pipes over the top of the card. In this setup, a PCI Express x16 riser card is used to install the graphics card so that the card is horizontal in the case with plenty of room above and below the card. So, the heat pipes would on the side of the card instead of over the top when in a normal vertical position.
  17. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    Here's another update on the search for the suitable graphics card for a microBTX box and motherboard.

    There are six Radeon X1600 XT models that are available: Sapphire, Powercolor, Asus, MSI, Connect3D, and HIS.

    Asus is out because the heat pipes makes it too long. HIS is out because the heatsink and fan look too big.

    I emailed Sapphire, Powercolor, HIS, and MSI asking each how long their models were.

    Powercolor said its Bravo was 6 3/4 inches. Just right.

    Sapphire said its #100146-BL was 7 1/2 inches. I didn't believe it. It would be longer than the Sapphire X800 GTO Ultimate that I sent back because it was too long. I replied asking for a verification. Sapphire confirmed. So, Sapphire is out.

    Connect3D and MSI haven't replied yet.

    I ordered the Powercolor model.

    Low Profile TV tuner cards

    One of the unique characteristics of a microBTX that folks will run into with some microBTX cases is the use of low profile cards.

    Almost all low profile cards are sold with full height brackets for ATX systems. You will need to get low profile bracket to make the card a true low profile card.

    The Dvico FusionHDTV 5 Lite tuner in the retail box includes a low profile bracket with which you can replace the full height bracket that comes preinstalled. It just involves removing two screws to do the replacement.

    The Powercolor T55-P03 Theater 550 Pro tuner retail box does not come with a low profile bracket. You can buy a low profile bracket from Powercolor or sometimes from the store that sold it to you. PC Alchemy has them for $ 3.00.
  18. GeekFunk

    GeekFunk Newbie

    The Powercolor X1600 XT Bravo is 6 1/2 inches. This is the length of the PCB, excluding the bracket and connector part.

    Incidentally, I'm taking notes as I put this box together. This box will have some of the latest technologies.

    For example:

    1. Intel's VIIV digital media, which is, more or less, a marketing scheme composed of various of Intel and third party parts, including Pentium D dual core processor and the Intel D945G motherboard;

    2. ATI's Radeon X1600 which supports AVIVO and DirectX 9.0c;

    3. Dual boot with Windows Media Center 2005 and Windows XP x64 with functional TV tuners;

    4. True low profile TV tuner cards, one of which is a rare PCI Express x1 tuner;

    5. A Western Digital Caviar SE16 SATA hard drive that supports Native Command Queuing; and

    6. A microBTX system with all its peculiarities.

    I wonder if anyone is interested in reading a piece about putting this system together.
  19. Adrian Wong

    Adrian Wong Da Boss Staff Member

    Hehe.. By all means, please do keep us updated. :D

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