After the initial installation the heatsink was immediately removed and the contact area was inspected. The above pictures clearly show that the contact is very good. The pressure was enough to make the ATi logo on the core shine through the thin layer of thermal paste that was covering the core prior to mounting.
However, I wonder if contact will be as good when this cooler is used on a Radeon 9500 or 9700 where the metal shim is a bit higher than the core.
For the overclocking tests I used my ATITool overclocking utility version 0.0.17 (UPDATE: Everything has been tested again with ATITool 0.0.19). ATITool has the unique ability to detect artifacts, or flaws, in a rendered image. As defined by ATITool, the maximum stable overclock on a card is the speed at which it is able to consistently (15 minutes in this test) produce no errors, or artifacts. ATITool detects ANY artifacts, even ones which will not be visible in game. Using the human eye to detect artifacts introduces subjectivity into the test, so despite the fact that an ATITool tested overclock will be characteristically lower than a human one, I will use this.
Temperature was measured with one case side open by putting a thermal probe on the backside of the Radeon 9800 Pro opposite of where the GPU is. Idle temperature was measured after letting Windows sit one hour at the desktop. Load temperature was measured after running 3DMark2001 looped for one hour. Both at the card's default clock of 380 / 340 Mhz.
Arctic Silver 5 was used as thermal interface material in all installations.
|Sound level||Temperature |
|VGA Silencer Low|
|VGA Silencer High||424 Mhz||Very quiet||42°C||53°C|
|Watercooling (Water ~33°C)||435 Mhz||Inaudible||35°C||37°C|
It really surprised me how close the VGA Silencer performs compared to watercooling the card. However, when you are really getting into it with voltmods and extreme overclocking, the waterblock solution will come out as the clear winner.
The quietness of the VGA silencer also impressed me, it is a difference like night and day compared to the stock heatsink. Most people should be comfortable running the Silencer at the "high" setting, especially when the case is closed.
Value & Conclusion
|I like the bulky, powerful look of the VGA silencer.|
|Ease of use||8.5|
|Very easy to install. Good instructions. Unfortunately, does not fit on AIW cards- yet.|
|Excellent performance while keeping sound levels down.|
|Everything looks well built. Penalty for air gap between heatsink and slot cover.|
|The price/performance/quietness ratio is very hard to beat for its price.|
|The Bottom Line||9.0|