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ASUS Extreme N6600GT Silencer 256MB (GeForce 6600 GT, PCIe)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Saturday, 15th October, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

The ASUS Extreme N6600GT Silencer 256MB

What strikes us about the ASUS Extreme N6600GT Silencer, besides its attention grabbing heatsink is the immaculate quality of the product. Quite often, we have seen graphics cards that look cheaper than their price tags. The finishing of the heatsink may be a bit rough at the edges, the thermal pads are not positioned properly and so on the list goes. While these shortcomings usually will not affect the performance, their dodgy looks do not exactly inspire confidence. That is not the case with ASUS' products though and they have built up a deserved reputation for quality. The ASUS Silencer, as we shall call it for brevity's sake, continues in this tradition.

If you ignore the protruding copper radiator, it's a standard sized GeForce 6600 GT.

The cooler is basically made up of two parts, the aluminum heatsink mounted over the core and the unmistakable copper radiator.

The aluminum heatsink, in a distinctive shade of red, is polished and refined. The workmanship is excellent, with nary a rough spot and it is securely mounted on top of the core. The memory modules are also covered by this heatsink, which is connected to the copper radiator through a copper heat pipe. The radiator is designed in a rather unorthodox fashion. Traditionally, cards that employ a pure heatsink and heat pipe based cooling for a silent solution, mount the radiator portion of the heatsink on the other side of the card. This does bring its own set of problems, like whether there is sufficient clearance for motherboard components, while the cramped confines of such a design may result in less than efficient heat dissipation.

Here's a view of the copper radiator that dissipates the heat from the card's core.

A single heat pipe is responsible for channeling the heat from the core to the copper radiator.

ASUS overcomes this by mounting the radiator at the top of the card. This may seem a bit strange at first and the appearance of the ASUS Silencer will surely raise a few eyebrows. It works swell, though ASUS had to create a very rigid and strong heatsink to support the protruding radiator. Not only that, with a screwdriver, you can actually change and rotate the alignment of the radiator, adjusting it to suit your configuration. You can even harness your CPU cooler fan to help out, by adjusting the radiator such that it is above the CPU fan. Do note that not all CPU coolers will be appropriate for this task. The elevated position of the radiator means that there is ample space and it will not interfere with your other components. By raising the radiator, the airflow is relatively unimpeded and its cooling efficiency is much improved over the conventional design. The downside to the ASUS cooling strategy is that the Silencer will not fit in the smaller casings, as the height of the card is above average. This seems to make it unsuitable for small home theatre PC systems, which would have welcomed this silent graphics card.

Passive heatsinks are used to cool the Samsung 2.0ns memory chips.

The back of the card.

Taking away its unique, completely silent cooler, the ASUS Silencer is actually quite an ordinary GeForce 6600 GT card. The clock speeds follow the reference design of 500MHz for the core and 1000MHz DDR for the memory. ASUS probably did not want to take too many risks by overclocking it. They did include a three-year warranty for the ASUS Silencer after all. However, ASUS has decided to outfit the card with twice as much memory as most of the GeForce 6600 GT cards out in the market. 256MB of DDR3 memory should help somewhat in applications and games, though with only a 128-bit memory interface, you shouldn't expect too much benefits out of it.

Finally, the package that ASUS has included is the typical applications and games that we have found in many other ASUS graphics bundle. There are useful applications for DVD playback and media content creation as well as quite a few games from the usual suspects like Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising to newer ones like Second Sight. The thick and detailed user manual with its expensive looking color illustrations probably says it all about ASUS' commitment to quality. For those keeping track of the goodies you get in this package, here's the complete list of items:

  • DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to S-Video & Component dongle
  • Driver CD
  • User Manual
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 3DE
  • CyberLink MediaShow SE2.0
  • Xpand Rally
  • Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising
  • Second Sight
  • Chaos League
  • PowerDrome
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