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I want to buy a good passive cooled graphics card. I have a had good luck with the Sapphire Radeon HD3870. It seems to be a dead product though. What card would you guys recommend, which has 2 DVI outputs and can handle Windows 7 effects.

Edit: It's going to be an office machine. Just Visual Studio development (no hardcore compiling), browsing. I always build my office machines to be silent, since every noise makes me go nuts :P

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There are a ton of cards that are passively cooled and almost anything new can handle Windows 7 effects, even the lowest of the low. Can you give us a little more insight into what else you use your machine for? –  MDMarra Oct 5 '09 at 15:18
    
I'm think thinking about the XFX HD4650 with 1GB of RAM. –  Thomaschaaf Oct 5 '09 at 15:46
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What would you need 1GB of RAM for? –  foraidt Oct 9 '09 at 7:49
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2 Answers

You are going to be hard pressed trying to find a dual-DVI passive modern card. There are some, like this DIAMOND 4350PE1G but most of the manufacturers have now replaced the second DVI connector with a HDMI. You should be able to use a HDMI to DVI cable for your second monitor. I personally have the ASUS EAH4350 SILENT and the SAPPHIRE ULTIMATE HD 4650 in silent dev/office builds.

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I was gonna suggest the ATi HD2600 PRO. It's old now, but it's still fast enough to handle normal windows operations, even Windows 7 and WPF effects. I had a passive-cooled version of the card and it worked great. When I bought it they were going for about $50 and I sold mine for $20. Unfortunately, a quick check shows that I may have sold it for too little: it's old enough now that the price has actually crept back up (didn't see one for <70, even on eBay). It seems others see the value in this card as well.

So, as alternative I recommend my current card: an nVidia 9400GT. It's not going to win you any awards for games performance, but I use it to play CS:Source and other games and it performs adequately. It can certainly handle anything Windows or Visual Studio is likely to throw at it. And it'll be hard to beat the price at only $45.

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