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Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5, Part 1

by: dsmith - May 07, 2006

I have never been large into the modding scene. I have always felt that a good stock device is hassle-free and built the way it should be. I have had a BFG Nvidia 6800GT video card for over a year in my machine and it has performed without a hitch until very recently.

As with most items that make me take immediate and decisive action, this foray is directly related to a game. More specifically, Civilization IV. For those familiar with the Civilization series, the fourth revolution in this series has added some 3D graphics that are very nice. However, as nice as the graphics may be, it does not seem like a game that would be extremely taxing on the video card. But for some reason it really heats up the video card to the point of overheating the card and crashing.

In examining the temperatures of the video GPU, I was astounded by what I found:

  • At idle temperature after booting and waiting a bit for everything to warm up, I found the GPU temperature to be 62C.

  • After running the game for 15 minutes (in a resolution of 1024x768 ) the temperature raised to 86C!

  • By underclocking the card (from 350 MHz to 300 MHz) I was able to run the game at 1600x1200 with a temperature of 84C.

In doing some research, I found that the point where the video card may start having stability issues was at 90C. So, I was running extremely close to the no-problem threshold.

I immediately started to look for a cooler and found nothing but good reviews for the Arctic Cooler NV Silencer 5. In most of the things that I read, it would reduce the temperature of the card by about 10 to 15 degrees (Celsius). I placed a purchase from newegg and two days later I was giddy to try this thing out.

Side Plug: newegg is well known, but if you are not familiar with them, give them a try. Their pricing is competitive (not always cheapest), but thier service and inventory is outstanding.

Disclaimer: None of the statements should be misconstrued to be negative against BFG, Nvidia, or Civilization IV. Quite to the contrary, I am a big fan of NVidia, my BFG card has worked flawlessly for over a year and the damn civilization game is extremely addictive! It is just a weird combination of factors that caused this little glitch and subsequent adventure.

Precautions

  • This will take at least two slots at the back of your computer where the stock card will take only one. I say at least, because I think you would be better advised to leave a blank slot below the fan as well.

  • This will void any warranty that you may have on your video card.

  • This particular fan will only work with the Geforce 6800GT/Ultra and 7800 series according to the packaging. Based on my experience with this Arctic Cooler product, I would highly recommend any of their products. Follow this link to find an appropriate model for your card.

  • If you are going to do this, take your time. I am like a little kid at christmas at times and sometimes I rush things. Whenever I do, I always seem to have problems or break that really important bracket or loose something. I really try to slow myself down now. Get an organized, large and clean area in which to work. Be a tad on the festidous side.

  • Lastly and most importantly: You take sole responsibility for doing anything based on what is written here.

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