In the prehistoric times of the computer industry, PCs were almost silent, often having but a single fan in the power supply. Besides it, the hard disk was the only other source of noise in the system. As time went by, CPUs’ computing capacities were growing up together with their complexity and heat dissipation. The amount of fans needed for a PC was growing up, too. Today, it is not unusual to have two or three fans. And you can even see advanced PCs with five or even more cooling fans. This has provoked the problem of noise. In a high-performance PC the loudest source of noise is usually the graphics card that often dissipates more heat than the CPU.
For example, an inexpensive mainstream Radeon HD 4850 has a heat dissipation of about 110 watts, and this heat must be removed while staying within the size constraints: you cannot install a huge heatsink with a quiet 120mm fan on your graphics card! As a result, the developers have to compromise between optimal cooling and noise level. On the contrary, a passive and absolutely silent cooler can be developed quite easily – and there are a number of such products available on the market, but these are mostly entry-level solutions like Radeon HD 4650 or GeForce 9500. As we have seen before, they cope with decoding high-definition video but do not suit well for playing modern 3D games.
So, is it really possible to develop a completely silent graphics card with the performance of a Radeon HD 4850 or higher, or the combination of silence and speed in a gaming system is just a dream? Gigabyte wants to offer its solution to this problem by releasing the GV-R485MC-1GI. It is a unique version of Radeon HD 4850 with a passive cooling system, 1 gigabyte of onboard graphics memory, and a number of other features that differentiate it from the crowd of copies of ATI’s reference card. We’ve got a sample of it for us to test.
The gaming and multimedia capabilities of the Radeon HD 4850 are well known to our readers, so if Gigabyte has achieved its goal, the GV-R485MC-1GI may be a perfect choice for a universal HTPC that could be used for playing modern games. It may also be an optimal graphics card for a mainstream gaming station. Let’s take a look at this product now.