Originally Posted by Dasboogieman
Are you planning to crossfire?
Originally Posted by Google Reader
Hi guys, which one of the r9 290's you'll recommend for NZXT H2 case? I've heard that XFX one needs a goooood airflow, but it also one the most silent ones. Will Windforce be better?
If you are then you can consider below:
Do you perhaps have a side panel that can mount an extraction fan? From the website, I only see a plain side panel, 2x120mm at the front and one 120mm at the rear. Your enemy will be heat buildup, especially from cards that have fins that blast hot air sideways because the top card has to operate with hot air from the bottom card.
Blower fans might help a lot with the heat buildup (i.e the reference one) but I don't think you will be perfectly satisfied with the noise vs performance. That being said, your case is designed to dampen and contain internal noise.
Alternatively, if you want AIB, you might want to look at the HIS R9 290 IceQ. I mention it because it has a vertical heatsink fin pattern which minimises hot air being blasted directly from the bottom card to the top card, with about 30% being exhausted at the rear. However, this card is quite rare from what I've seen, I also don't personally know anyone who has one.
Your case is tricky because its a positive pressure system with a priority on low noise rather than brute airflow.If you aren't planning to crossfire, then heat buildup is a non-issue
I'd consider the PowerColor PCS+. It takes 3 slots but has excellent cooling + silent operation as a result, great price too. Plus, it can be very readily cooled with the NZXT G10 mod (it has independent VRM1 and VRM2 cooling) or even full scale water cooling in the future should you wish.
Windforce had a bad rep early ish on from poor performance, I don't know if it has been resolved. If it has then its a viable contender though not quite as good as the PCS+. I believe it was a little weak on the core cooling at low fan RPMs compared to the other 3 fan coolers.
Sapphire Tri X, Vapor X, XFX DD and MSI Gaming are all viable silent alternatives too. I'll walk you through each one's characteristics.
The Tri X is 2 slots so you won't lose as many expansion slots, similar pricing to the PCS+ though has weaker VRM cooling and slightly worse core cooling. You can place an EK backplate if you can get your hands on M2.5 8mm screws to improve the VRM cooling. You can get those screws from Helipal. The fans are dead silent up to 50% (in my HAF 932 case with a mesh side panel) you might not be able to hear them up to 60% with your dampened case.
The Vapor X is about 2.5 slots, similar cooling capacity to the PCS+, has much much stronger VRMs which are better cooled. Biggest issue IIRC is cost. I heard EK are releasing a waterblock for this card so getting one doesn't necessarily preclude you from WC.
The XFX DD is extremely silent and compact. Biggest weakness is that the cooler has one of the least cooling capacities so you will have higher core and VRM temps. Actually, these are quite cheap, most of them are on special here in Australia. Bilko can better fill you in on these since he has one.
The MSI Gaming is an interesting card, it has greater cooling capacity than the DD but not as much as the triple fan cards yet is more compact but not as compact as the DD. The fans are really quiet up to about 60% then it introduces a very characteristic high pitched woosh thereafter. It's biggest strength to me is the excellent cooling capacity to volume ratio on this card, however, theres 2 versions available and you pretty much won't be able to tell. Theres a stock standard reference version (which means it can be watercooled) with the Twin Frozr cooler, however, theres also another custom Gaming version which has a slightly upgraded VRM assembly. The one with the upgraded VRM sacrifices the ability to be watercooled
but it has much better VRM temperatures, overvoltage headroom and more robust protection against coil whine.
Or you can go balls out and get the Lightning, pretty much has no drawbacks except cost.