Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer REV .2 Review

Admin - 2007-02-09 23:27:15 in VGA Cooling
Category: VGA Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: March 5, 2004
Arctic Cooling
Quiet PC
Price: $22 USD
Introduction
Today we will be looking at the arctic-cooling VGA silencer REV .2. The second revision brings along more compatibility for ATI cards. With a redesigned base the VGA silencer is now compatible with ATI’s AIW series. Today’s modern video cards dissipate a lot of heat, and if you’re a overclocker the stock cooler on some of today’s video cards are lacking in the cooling department. Marketed toward ATI’s line of cards the VGA silencer brings some similar features found on Nvidia’s FX cooling solution. The VGA silencer takes some of its design cues from the outside exhaust systems of the FX 5800, 5950. this is a great feature and the only aftermarket cooler on the market with this option for ATI cards. Let’s take a closer look

Specifications
Dimensions 185 x 84 x 34 mm
Compatibility ATI 9500, 9700, 9800, nVidia Geforce 3 GTS
Fan Speeds 1200 / 2400 RPM
Material Aluminum



According to arctic-cooling the VGA silencer is incompatible with the 9600, 9800XT and Geforce 4 and FX cards. They are working on future revisions to support the 9600 and 9800XT.







Closer Look

 

The VGA silencer Rev.2 comes in a clear retail package shows off the coolers massive size. The back of the package has listed many of the unique features of the VGA silencer. Like the first VGA cooler with selectable cooling for control of the noise level. The DHES (Direct Heat Exhaust System) is great giving ATI owners the ability to exhaust the hot air from the GPU. This keeps the fan of the VGA silencer from recycling warm air to cool the GPU.




Included with the VGA silencer heatsink is replacement PCI bracket, Metal grounding guard, retention clip, instructions, and arctic cooling silicon compound. The silicone compound was labeled 50% silicone, 20% carbon, and 30% metal oxide.




The heatsink itself is a solid piece of aluminum with 26 fins running the length of the cooler. The surface area of the VGA silencer is huge with the fan shroud installed the cooler completely covers my 9800Pro.




The base of the VGA silencer was very smooth, and flat. For the REV.2 Arctic Cooling milled off just enough space around the base to allow for installation on ATI AIW cards.
Installation
Arctic cooling did a top notch job on the instructions. Some modification is required for installation of the VGA silencer, but the clear pictures and detailed instructions make installation a breeze.




After removal of the stock heatsink the PCI bracket needs to be removed from the VGA inputs. After removing the four screws from the VGA inputs you can then remove the stock PCI bracket. Before you install new PCI bracket you must first place the metal grounding guard over the VGA inputs. Now you can install the new double slot PCI bracket, and plug up the VGA silencer’s fan.




Once you have the fan plugged in and the new PCI bracket installed the only thing holding you back are two screws. Putting the card on top of the VGA silencer line up the thread holes, and secure the retention bracket to the heatsink with a Philips head screwdriver. I really like that the retention bracket allows more pressure then the traditional push pins. This means that you can create better contact with the GPU'. The only thing I didn’t like was the gap between the PCI bracket and the heatsink, but it is common according to the instructions to have a gap up to 7MM from the PCI bracket.




The VGA silencer takes up the PCI slot below the AGP card, but this should not be a problem since most people don’t use that PCI slot. From the back of the case we can see the switch for high or low fan speed, and exhaust slot of the VGA silencer.
Testing
We will be comparing the VGA silencer against another low noise VGA cooler the Zalman ZM80A-HP. AS5 thermal compound was used on both coolers. All testing was done in a Chieftec server tower with an 80mm fan on the side panel blowing directly over the AGP card. For temperature and overclocking results 3DMark03 was run looped for 30 minutes before temperatures were recorded. Lacking any hardware monitoring features I placed a thermal probe on the PCB behind the GPU.

Test System
  • AMD 2500+ @ 3200+
  • Abit NF7-S
  • 1X512 HyperX PC3500
  • ATI 9800Pro



    With the fan on high the VGA silencer showed some impressive results. On the lowest setting we see the Zalman having slightly better results over the VGA silencer.



    I really wasn’t expecting an increase in overclocked speeds, but on the high setting the VGA silencer was free of any artifacts in 3Dmark03 Mother Nature test at 418 MHz GPU. On low I was getting some checker boarding and snow in Mother Nature. The maximum for both the Zalman and VGA silencer on low was 411 MHZ GPU.




    Conclusion

    Short of water cooling this has to be the best VGA cooler on the market for ATI cards. The ability to exhaust the hot air from the GPU to the outside of the case is a first for ATI based cards. Even on the highest setting the fan still remained relatively quiet, and on low it was nearly inaudible. Overclocking results were surprising as I wasn’t expecting any increase in speed. The VGA Silencer is very competitively priced compared to the competition, and if your looking to upgrade from the stock ATI cooler I highly suggest you look at the VGA silencer.

    Pros

    • Cooling
    • Fan Speed Control
    • Price
    • Looks
    • Installation

    Cons

    • Gap between PCI Bracket