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[personal profile] terriko
I've been using John's old video card for a while since he put it in my computer while I was away, but it's so loud that I can hear it even when wearing headphones, and now that it's getting warmer in ABQ I'm noticing that gaming for an hour or more makes me uncomfortably hot. (And shush all of you who have a quip about gamer girls and hotness on the tip of your tongues; I mean temperature.)

So here's the deal. I want a video card that won't trigger a migraine aura in my high altitude desert home. I'm pretty sure they don't check for that in hardware reviews. Here's a more useful checklist:

1. Must be able to play some modern games. I'm mostly playing Diablo III lately, and I also use the machine for Photoshop. (Yeay academic discounts!)
2. Doesn't need to be Linux compatible (this is for my windows-only gaming box)
3. Needs to be as quiet as possible given #1.
4. Cool as possible, given #1.
5. Budget preferably < $200 but gaming in comfort is worth more to me if I'm sure it will help.

It used to be that you'd have to be prepared to replace the fan to get #3, but I'm hoping things have gotten better and I'll be able to just buy something off the shelf. I hate reading hardware reviews (unless it's cameras for some reason), so I'm hoping to narrow things down faster... Does anyone have suggestions?

Date: May 30th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] af_carson
Oddly enough, there is a site that revolves around low-noise computing hardware reviews. Silent PC Review does a good job with their noise tests, at least, though I think other sites are a bit better for everything else.

I'm skeptical that it's your card specifically that's causing the uncomfortable warmth. I find that waste heat from my monitor contributes a lot more to gaming-related discomfort. That's not to say that you won't get benefit out of upgrading the card, but I don't know how much of a difference it'll make.

Anyway, my personal experience is about one major graphics card generation behind, but things haven't changed a huge amount. Radeons of the past few years tend to draw less power overall, which generally correlates to lower temps. I've been running a Radeon 5770 for quite a while now and I'm very happy with it noise- and temperature-wise, particularly compared to the GeForce cards I'd used previously. I can't say I'd recommend the 5770 specifically now, because it's old, but the newer mid-range Radeons are supposed to be pretty excellent too.

If you are up for checking reviews, or at least comparing load temps, AnandTech is probably the best source for performance and thermal profiles of graphics cards. Their benchmark site allows you to do side-by-side comparisons of the results from pretty much every card they've reviewed.

TL;DR: I prefer Radeons. AnandTech and SilentPCReview are good sources for comparison data. Your monitor is probably a bigger source of local heating than your graphics card.

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