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I still remember the times when my EGA graphics card supporting 16 colors in 640x350 resolution did not require any cooling at all while still giving me a chance to play without lags, slowdowns and graphical artifacts in a lot of games, including the massive “Digger” and the thrilling “Dangerous Dave”. Later VGA graphics cards emerged allowing me to play “Wolfenstein” and “Doom”, such devices were not too fast for 3D, but also did their job very-well even without eating 200W of power and dissipating so much heat that special air-pumping monster were required. During EGA and VGA times our computers were quiet and blazingly fast for their times.

In the late nineties graphics cards manufacturer began to equip their products with passive and sometimes even with active coolers. By the end of the year 2000 the vast majority of faming graphics cards required an active cooler. By the end of 2004 most of the powerful graphics processors will require a FlowFX-like system to cool the power down. That is why our computers may be too loud. But will we stick to those noisy monsters for ages? Well, looks like we will not, as more and more companies utilize passive cooling systems using heat-pipe technology and even water-cooling solutions!

Sapphire Technology produces graphics cards based on ATI Technologies’ VPUs with passive cooling systems; Gainward recently unveiled its GeForce FX 5900 Ultra with water-cooling solution; Zalman makes passive cooliers for even the most-advanced graphics cards. But that is not over! MSI is preparing the launch of its GeForce FX 5600-based graphics card featuring the so-called Aeronautical Cooling Technology, a passive cooling solution from Micro Star International!

Tom’s Hardware Guide web-site has even published a picture of the product, though, did not provide any of its technical specifications. Information about pricing and availability is also absent.

In case the Aeronautical Cooling Technology proves its efficiency on the GeForce FX 5600-based graphics cards, MSI will be very likely to release more powerful graphics cards with quiet passive cooling systems. Will the "EGA and VGA times" return?

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