Passively cooling graphics cards: A Radeon 7500 trimmed to be silent
The topic of 'passive graphics cooling' has often been addressed in the forums. Users, for whom their PC is simply too loud and slowly but surely gets on their nerves, want to replace their noisy GPU fan with an efficient and noiseless heat sink in addition to a whole range of 'silent modifications'. This is because the enormous noise level is often completely ignored when planning a quiet PC. But even overclockers should work better with a purchased passive cooler and additional air cooling than with the solutions installed in the factory. That's why we not only put the Zalman ZM17-CU copper cooler for passive cooling under the microscope, but also the CBF32 from GlobalWIN, a frame made up of two fans. Both articles were kindly provided to us by Thermaltake and Frozen Silicon . This HowTo explains in detail how to free the graphics card from the old cooler without major problems and then attach the new one.
Why passive cooling?
The advantages of passive cooling compared to an active version are actually obvious. When you work on the computer, the noise coming from the case is annoying. You can do anything about it. You can line the housing with sound-absorbing material or you can cover the problem at the roottackle. Passive coolers are available for both CPU and graphics cards. If you want to overclock the card, you could add a quiet fan to the efficient passive cooler. Actually, the temperatures should then remain low enough.
Of course, a good heat sink is required for passive cooling of a graphics card. It should be able to release the heat into the air so well that an active fan is no longer required. This is achieved through the largest possible surface and a material that conducts heat well. Copper coolers are best. These are mostly smaller than the aluminum versions, as copper can better transport heat away from the chip.
On the next page: Heat sink