Colorful creates passively cooled Nvidia graphics card

Jun 29, 2012 by Nancy Owano report
Colorful creates passively cooled Nvidia graphics card

With a big enough heatsink, can a high-end graphics card be passively cooled? No fan? No noise? China-based manufacturer Colorful showed off its answer, introduced at Computex earlier this month. Colorful has what it says is the world's first passive-cooled GeForce GTX 680 graphics card, the iGame GTX 680 “passive.” Instead of a cooling fan, two very large aluminum heatsinks carry the task of drawing heat away from the core. Colorful set out to eliminate noise completely by a passively cooled graphics card in its iGAME range that uses Nvidia‘s GeForce GTX 680 chipset.

The GTX680 is Nvidia's powerful single-core graphics card. GeForce refers to a brand of graphics processing units (GPUs) designed by Nvidia. In March it was announced that the first chip based on the Kepler architecture was hitting the market, aboard a new graphics card called the GeForce GTX 680.

The passively cooled GeForce GTX 680 model uses 20 heatpipes and two aluminum heatsinks. Colorful claims this is the first zero-noise GTX 680 solution.

Colorful is considered one of Nvidia's most important board partners in Asia. Established in 1995, Colorful conducts research, designs, manufactures, and sells consumer graphics cards. Those familiar with Colorful regard it as a company that frequently comes up with surprises. One such description is that Colorful is “an unorthodox producer of cards,” according to PC reviews site, HEXUS. A Singapore-based technology site refers to Colorful as making “some of the most outrageous and over-the-top you will find.”

Colorful‘s “cooled” solution has 20 heatpipes combined with 280 aluminum fins. In reviewing the announcement, a note of concern was struck over the fact that Colorful has not yet mentioned clock speeds. Geek.com wonders if they might have underclocked the GPU to help keep temperatures to a minimum. “If it hasn’t been underclocked, then it may be a card worth keeping an eye out for,” said the report. The techPowerup site said that the design guarantees reliable silent operation at reference clock speeds or mild overclocking.

There has been no price or release date announced; Colorful is said to be still assessing the marketability of the design.

When Colorful first showed off the iGame card at 2012 in Taipei earlier this month, the product was described as “iGame GeForce GTX 680 Silent” and drew prompt attention as a card that relies completely on passive cooling, not a fan,.

This is not the first time, however, that a manufacturer has achieved a passively cooled graphics card, and more competition is likely to emerge sooner than later, under different partnerships. Sapphire announced in early June that it had come up with its new passively cooled Radeon HD 7770 card. Like the Colorful entry, this does not use a fan but instead dissipates heat via a “heatspreader.” Sapphire partners with AMD.

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More information: www.expreview.com/20045.html (in Chinese)

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User comments : 12

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SatanLover
not rated yet Jun 29, 2012
as long as your pc has a good airflow yeah.
Tangent2
1 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2012
Wow those heatsinks really add to the size of the already rather large graphics card. I don't think I have the room in my system for such a cooling device. Also, there is no mention about how efficient of a cooler it is, which would have been nice for comparisons.
AtlasT
3 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2012
surprisingly, no piezoelectric, neither electrostatic fans or peltier cells penetrated the market of active cooling
Ventilator
not rated yet Jun 29, 2012
How much added volume is there to the graphics card?

Are we talking about four or five or more times the needed space, or less than four? Looks to be about five times the overall size.

These answers might help both the marketing dept and the end-users.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jun 29, 2012
Well, it's really annoying if your expensive graphics card dies just because the fan on it eventually gets clogged or fails for some other reason. So: good job to these guys. Hope this sparks a new round of innovation in passive cooling.
Estevan57
1.6 / 5 (19) Jun 29, 2012
It looks to be about 5 slots worth of space taken up. Since the card has to go in a computer with CPU cooling, why not just put a small quiet fan on it and allow it to be overclocked? How long will it be effective without the fan to force airflow when it gets dusty?
kris2lee
1 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2012
why not just put a small quiet fan on it and allow it to be overclocked?


There is no such thing as a quiet fan. Definitelly not a small one.
PhotonX
1 / 5 (1) Jun 29, 2012
It looks to be about 5 slots worth of space taken up. Since the card has to go in a computer with CPU cooling, why not just put a small quiet fan on it and allow it to be overclocked? How long will it be effective without the fan to force airflow when it gets dusty?
Brilliant satire. You WERE kidding, weren't you?
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 29, 2012
can a high-end graphics card be passively cooled?


Yes. There are numerous aftermarket kits that do just that.

This article is just blatant advertising.
Estevan57
1.6 / 5 (19) Jun 29, 2012
Actually, yes, PhotonX. Except for the size. Some motherboards will have a hard time fitting this card.
alfie_null
not rated yet Jun 30, 2012
Well, it's really annoying if your expensive graphics card dies just because the fan on it eventually gets clogged or fails for some other reason.

I hate fans. In my desktop system, all the failures I can recall are fan-related. The latest: the fan on the graphics card failed, the card ran away, thermally. The increased current draw caused the power supply to fail. The mobo suffered damage. None of these parts were cheap. Consumer grade electronics, regardless of the price, apparently aren't designed for reliability. Aside from the noise, the MTBF for fans is way sooner than any other component.
Thorium Boy
1 / 5 (2) Jul 12, 2012
Considering that 99% of the $400 video cards that DIE every year die because the cheap-a-- manufacturers put $0.05 fans on them that seize or burn out. This is a good idea.