Gigabyte Silent Pipe 3 finds redemption
Back in May, we compared a fistful of graphics cards based on Nvidia's GeForce 8600 series graphics chips and were surprised to find that the passively-cooled Gigabyte GV-NX86S256H was anything but the quiet solution its "Silent Pipe 3" cooler advertised. The card was quiet enough at idle, but under load it quickly developed a shrill, high-pitched whine that would make Fran Drescher shudder. So much for passive cooling, or so we thought.
We went through a couple of sample cards from Gigabyte, and both exhibited the same screeching under load, prompting Gigabyte to investigate further. The company apparently traced the issue back to a batch of bad electrical components—chokes, specifically—that it had received from one of its vendors. This batch of bad chokes didn't affect every GV-NX86S256H sold, but both our samples came from an inflicted batch, so Gigabyte sent us a fresh card for testing. Read on to see how it fared.
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