The cooling of contemporary graphics accelerators is a not that trivial task, especially taking into account that some top-end GPUs are much more complex from the architectural point of view than any of the system CPUs. That is why they very often generate as much heat as contemporary CPUs do, even despite significantly lower working frequency.
Since we are taking about the cooling solutions for the graphics adapters, we should keep in mind certain limitations imposed on the size, weight and configuration of these solutions. In particular, the heatsink of this cooling system cannot be too big and heavy, otherwise, the card will simply damage the AGP or PCI Express slot. The heatsink geometry will also hardly be able to accommodate an 80mm+ fan that is why the designers of graphics card cooling solutions have to go for smaller 60mm fans tops. This fan can only be efficient for powerful graphics adapter cooling when it works at higher rotation speed than the larger fans, which automatically implies that the system will produce more noise.
I really doubt that there are many users (except for a few dedicated PC enthusiasts), who would be happy with an extra noise source inside their system. That is why well-known cooling solution developers, such as Zalman and Thermaltake introduced special silent cooling solutions for graphics cards.
Here is would like to make a quick notice. When you install a graphics card into your ATX case, the GPU cooler faces the bottom (there are a few rare and expensive exceptions, such as Lian-Li PC-V1000, for instance). This is hardly good for proper VGA cooling: the hot air stays under the graphics card longer because it cannot rise freely and get blown outside the case by the fans located on the case back panel. If there is an additional heatsink on the back side of the graphics card, which is connected with the top heatsink with a heatpipe, the problem can be solved. Besides, this design solution increases the heat dissipating surface so greatly that it appears enough for proper cooling even without the active fan. A cooler like that is absolutely noiseless, since there are no moving parts at all.
So, today we are going to introduce to you a solution of the kind offered by Thermaltake (we have already reviewed an analogous solution from Zalman, for details see our article called Zalman ZM80D-HP: Make Your Graphics Card Completely Noiseless).