Our first letter is a little different then the others, as itís actually recent email dialogue we had with an FS reader. He writes:
I respect your opinion and great work. I need a video card for dual DVI LCDs. Application is HDTV viewing and technical text markup.
I want QUIET. So no perceptible fan noise.
I am limited to AGP and PCI.
I was thinking of BFG 6600GT AGP?
What do you suggest?
Hope you can and will respond. Thanks,
To which I replied:
Yeah, if you check out the chart on page1 of the GeForce 6600 GT AGP roundup, you'll see that the BFG card is the quietest of the dual DVI cards, so sounds like it would be the perfect solution for your needs.
He then responded with:
Brandon, thanks for your reply. I saw that, BUT it got a noise rating of 4! And the WORST was 5, only one more. So doesn't that make it very LOUD, if not the loudest? Hope you can and will respond quickly, cause I do not want to order something that will be loud in my media room. Thanks,
I replied with:
It's one of the loudest, but I wouldn't classify it as a loud card. If you'd be willing to give up the dual DVIs though, obviously the MSI card would be best. You just have to choose which feature is most important to you: low noise or dual DVI.
To which he responds:
I want BOTH, dual DVI AND quiet for viewing a quiet movie!! But I suspect that even in a quiet home theatre room the BFG 6600GT will NOT be audible? I will use it to accelerate WMV-HD decoding of movie material.
What do you think? Just trying to ask someone who might have actually tried it and could give me their albeit subjective opinion.
Are you aware of the (new) Gigabyte fanless 6600GT, AGP model? But it only has single DVI.
Also, I also saw this blurb, "Just incase you may have missed it, XFX/nVidia were demonstrating a fanless 6600 (GT?) at Cebit" http://forums.sudhian.com/messageview.aspx?catid=43&threadid=74277&STARTPAGE=1&FTVAR_FORUMVIEWTMP=Linear
Maybe XFX fanless will have the dual DVI, like their current 6600GT?
As I am sure you know XFX changed their fan/heatsink design.
Which did you test with the NOISE=5 rating? If it was the original fan/heatsink, maybe the new one is quieter? On the other hand, the new design may be more directed at a heat problem, and at least one reviewer on Newegg said the new design was noisier!!
As you can see, I like know everything I can about technical stuff.
But you know the feeling!!
Finally, the conversation wraps up with my reply:
Sometimes you just have to remember that you can't get it all at $200. You have to keep in mind that you're buying a card intended for the mainstream market. The mainstream buyer typically doesn't have 2 high-end DVI capable LCD monitors, they have one 15" or 17" CRT and that's it. Here in America, price is king, not features, so for manufacturers to remain competitive they have to keep their board price low, this means skipping extras like dual DVI. Sorry, but that's just the fact of the matter.
Sure, eventually XFX may come out with a fanless board, or maybe they won't. I wasn't at Cebit so I wasn't there to ask XFX if the card will ever come to the USA market or not. You have to keep in mind that just because you see a card demonstrated overseas doesn't mean it's coming here anytime soon, if at all. You'll have to email the person that wrote the blurb.
The board pictured in the review is the card I tested, it is a reference NVIDIA board with dual DVI. Maybe the new one is quieter, maybe it isn't, I just don't know because I haven't tested it.
Again, you just need to decide which feature is more important to you, dual DVI or noise. You can't have both at $200. The BFG board isn't "loud", it's just louder than three other boards I tested. Sound level was about 32 decibels. If this is loud to you or not is completely subjective and I just can't answer that for you. To me, it isn't loud.