bit-tech.net

Would you buy cooler-less graphics card?

Posted on 25th Sep 2009 at 11:15 by Antony Leather with 44 comments

Antony Leather
Lets face it, water cooling your PC can be expensive. One of the most wallet-shredding bits is when you get to the graphics card. Full cover copper blocks for some of the larger graphics cards can cost over £100, but I recently had an idea that I thought I'd throw out to you guys to see what you think.

Instead of buying an air cooled card or a hideously expensive pre-water cooled example, what if you could buy just
the PCB?

Let me explain my madness.

Firstly, whoever makes it doesn't need to fit a cooler, hopefully meaning it costs less. Reference coolers have never been too clever but one would assume they add a fair bit to the overall cost of the product, not to mention all the extra packaging etc.

Would you buy cooler-less graphics card? Would you buy a graphics card with no heatsinks?
MSI's GTX 285 HydroGen OC is more expensive than buying the card and block yourself.

You also don't have the laborious task of removing it and dealing with those hundreds of microscopic screws, and invariably the last one that no amount of force will budge. You can just fit your block or aftermarket cooler straight away.

Secondly it means you can can choose your own cooling. This applies not just to water cooling enthusiasts who will be able to choose their own water block, but also to those who just want a decent air cooler like Arctic Cooling's Accelero Xtreme.

Would you buy cooler-less graphics card? Would you buy a graphics card with no heatsinks?
Arctic Cooling's Accelero Xtreme cooler is available for many high end graphics cards but features much better cooling than the reference cooler.

Of course, companies would have to come up with another way of advertising because there'd be no cooler with stickers or luminous bits of plastic to draw attention. You'd also have no way of testing your card before it gets plumbed in too, although you could probably check that it outputs a display and that your system posts for a few seconds with the water block installed but not connected to your cooling loop.

More importantly RMA's would be a tricky thing to work out as there would be the inevitable noobs that break things by assuming the card would work on its own...

Would this appeal to anyone? Would you buy an OEM style, cooler-less graphics card if it was cheaper? Or do you prefer to have a cooler fitted even if the first thing you'll do is rip it off and get it under water? Let us know in the forums.

44 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Xir 25th September 2009, 12:35 Quote
Quote:
Of course, companies would have to come up with another way of advertising because there'd be no cooler with stickers or luminous bits of plastic to draw attention.

I'd rether have companies setting themselves apart by not using the reference cooler with a sticker on it but by offering coolers of their own.
[PUNK] crompers 25th September 2009, 12:36 Quote
i would definately buy a coolerless graphics card, if the price was realistic its the ideal solution really, you just order the cooler and the card at the same time and everyones a winner. except nvidia and amd who cant sell you a crap cooler at 80% its worth
mi1ez 25th September 2009, 12:41 Quote
Sounds tempting to me, I'm still convinced they put a ton of TIM on graphics cards!
matee 25th September 2009, 12:41 Quote
No. Even though I do wc my graphics I still need the stock cooler (even if 99% of the time it will be in a box). For once before installing the wc I test the whole setup. Imagine spending few hours putting it all together to find out somethin is not working propperly. The same goes for maintenance. I will use the cooler while
Lasttly the only-pcb would not be resellable. If you like to upgrade your card every now and then this could be an issue.
Rkiver 25th September 2009, 12:41 Quote
I would buy a coolerless graphics card as long as it was less expensive then one with the reference cooler. Easier to then slap my waterblocks on them, or other coolers such as Artic Accellero etc etc.
Dosvedagna 25th September 2009, 12:50 Quote
Thats a great idea. Itd be another option, and cut costs and construction time for people who know what they want down to a tee.

im surprised manufacturers dont already do this tbh
Paradigm Shifter 25th September 2009, 13:07 Quote
In order to avoid the case you explained which basically runs along the lines of "Idiot thinks card can run without heatsink" the card would have to have no warranty. And no DOA period. Which is illegal. Aside from that, you'd have no way of testing that the card worked on arrival without putting a cooler/block on it - I like to know new hardware works before I start ripping it apart. Also with some of the waterblocks around, people follow the instructions exactly, but have the card erroring - how would you know if it was a not-quite-correctly mounted waterblock, or a duff card?

The card would also need to have a significant price drop - while I doubt that reference coolers cost more than £30, simply removing the cooler and charging the same price (or more - I could see a lot of companies trying to charge more for a card already "prepared for watercooling") wouldn't cut it.
Tyrmot 25th September 2009, 13:12 Quote
I'd happily buy a coolerless GPU and fit my own cooling afterwards, I can see as well that it should save a fair bit of cash off the normal retail price. Let's hope someone who can make this decision is reading!
Xtrafresh 25th September 2009, 13:48 Quote
yes!
Stuey 25th September 2009, 14:11 Quote
Nope. I like to make sure my hardware works before I add on a 3rd party cooler.
mclintox 25th September 2009, 14:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuey
Nope. I like to make sure my hardware works before I add on a 3rd party cooler.

+1.
Jack_Pepsi 25th September 2009, 15:02 Quote
As long as the GPU was properly protected (in transit et al) then sure! If it meant that the cost of the card was reduced. Obviously I'd only buy a cooler less card if I had a 3rd party one on it's way or already in my possession.
Xtrafresh 25th September 2009, 15:18 Quote
To elaborate on my YES! statement: I think it's very comparable to a tray version of a CPU. I've bought several of those, and always you need to fit your own cooling before you can test wether it works or not. More so, on a CPU you also need to assemble it yourself, even if you bought a boxed version. I don't see why GPUs should be that much more problematic in terms of QA and warranty.
wuyanxu 25th September 2009, 15:31 Quote
i look at it this way:
CPU won't work without motherboard and RAM.
graphics card is a complete solution, i don't need to add vRAM or PCB to it, therefore it should come with a cooler.

one day, we can put GPU into graphics card PCB and choose our own GDDR chips, then they shouldn't come with a cooler.
sentek 25th September 2009, 16:18 Quote
i think its a nice idea, as long as they kept the price down to a level that is fair
FeRaL 25th September 2009, 17:23 Quote
They idea is good, but would rather they put removable el cheapo cooler on it so that you could test it to make sure it at least works and sell it for less.
Combatus 25th September 2009, 17:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeRaL
They idea is good, but would rather they put removable el cheapo cooler on it so that you could test it to make sure it at least works and sell it for less.

TBH I think it's fair to say they do already! ;)
EnglishLion 25th September 2009, 19:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
i look at it this way:
CPU won't work without motherboard and RAM.
graphics card is a complete solution, i don't need to add vRAM or PCB to it, therefore it should come with a cooler.

And graphics card won't work without CPU, motherboard and RAM! But I get your point.

I don't usually buy OEM CPUs without bundled coolers because they often retail at the same price or near enough as the full retail CPU. If you buy a whole box of them as a system builder then I'm sure it's cheaper but as an enthusiast unfortunately not.

I can see problems getting online sellers to RMA a graphics card without a cooler too. I guess at the moment board partners may need AMD or Nvidia's permission to build such a card and maybe that's why we've not seen them?
Cupboard 25th September 2009, 19:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
i look at it this way:
CPU won't work without motherboard and RAM.
graphics card is a complete solution, i don't need to add vRAM or PCB to it, therefore it should come with a cooler.

one day, we can put GPU into graphics card PCB and choose our own GDDR chips, then they shouldn't come with a cooler.


I prefer this myself. Whilst I did change the cooler on my first graphics card (7950GT 512) that was only because the stock one was horrible. My 8800GTS is quite happy with its stock cooler and seems to be coping fine.

On the other hand, when I can roll my own graphics card (which does seem unlikely) then sure, have a system like you get with processors!

edit: actually, if I remember correctly, don't the manufacturers supply pre-built cards to the board partners with the option of no cooler anyway? if that is the case it doesn't seem a huge leap to provide one completely without cooler at little extra cost to anyone. In which case, I am all for the choice!
E.E.L. Ambiense 25th September 2009, 19:11 Quote
Of course I would! The first thing that gets tossed in the box is the stock cooling solution. TBH, pretty much every video card I purchase is on water. I hardly ever air-cool them anymore, unless it's a lower-end card or small system. Part of the reason I always go to XFX first, since I'm allowed to remove the cooler without penalty, for warranty's sake.
edz 25th September 2009, 19:29 Quote
I'd buy one as I almost always replace the cooler anyway. Can't see it happening though because of warranty issues.
Altron 25th September 2009, 19:48 Quote
There's too much liability issues in it.

What I think would make more sense would be for the video card manufacturers to work out a deal with the cooler manufacturers, and offer a package deal.

Instead of the gfx card company spending $10 to manufacture a terrible reference cooler, they should buy the good coolers from a reputable company, then pre-install them. I bet the cooler manufacturers would be willing to give a bulk discount if a gfx card manufacturer uses them on all their cards.

For instance, say you buy an EVGA grapgics card for $150. That price includes a $10 reference cooler. Then you go and buy a Zalman heatpipe cooler for $30, and that's that. You spend $180, and have to do some work on it. But what if EVGA buys 10,000 heatpipes from Zalman for $20 (since Zalman gives a bulk discount, and saves money by not having to sell the heatpipes in retail packaging), then puts them on all their graphics card, and advertise in an area on the box "Cooled by ZALMAN". They can sell the cards for $160, and people are willing to pay more because they know that the fancy Zalman cooler costs $30 on its own, and they're getting it for only $10 extra. Zalman would benefit by selling more units, and EVGA would benefit by being able to offer a better product, and have name-brand recognition for Zalman.

That, IMO, would work better.
Tesla effect 25th September 2009, 20:05 Quote
I agree but using the Accellero as an example the PCB appears to warp a little under the weight on the gtx200 series.

I believe the benefit of improved cooling will outweigh the potential of this being an issue over time. If you bought a card that looks like its warped off the shelf you might have a different opinion.

This would perhaps call for more PCB layers which would drive manufacturing costs up swaying the argument back in favour of the op.
thehippoz 25th September 2009, 21:17 Quote
your forgetting moores law.. a saddle popper putting it in without a cooler
Initialised 25th September 2009, 22:07 Quote
The biggest problem I have with this is that cards don't stay reference for long except at the very high end (ASUS Mars & Gainward Rampage being the only exceptions I can think of for GTX295 & 4870x2). Today I was talking to a water block manufacturer about availibility of 5870 blocks who suggested that they might skip this generation. As an OEM that does watercooled systems this idea (naked cards) could be great as we wouldn't be slowly accumulating removed stock coolers and would force manufacturers to follow a standard compatible layout or better still separate GPU and VRAM cooling.

The alternative would be
Initialised 25th September 2009, 22:10 Quote
[oops] for more vendors to offer pre-fitted blocks, at present there is often a restrictive lead time for such products.
bobwya 25th September 2009, 23:07 Quote
Yeh I like the idea. Perhaps just a lump of aluminium with no fan - to allow a quick functioning test... Would need to be clearly (idiot proof) labelled of course :-)

Of course I would like to see more variety of cards w/ pre-fitted waterblocks - not just some silly restrictive block that I wouldn't normally buy (let alone pay a mark up for!!)

Bob
Horizon 26th September 2009, 01:38 Quote
I would. I'm tired of voiding my warranty after I take theirs off.
B3CK 26th September 2009, 03:56 Quote
I would have to say that as with cpu's, they could offer the choice. But they amount of people purchasing them without would be a big minority at the moment. This could however, spur more 3rd party vendors to start making more models of gpu coolers, and improving their (3rd party) standards.
dec 26th September 2009, 05:08 Quote
i wouldnt mind something like how it is for CPU (stock coolers comes but not attached to it) so that you could test it with stock then slap on whatever you wanted. ATI/Nvidia board partners could then sell their coolers aftermarket i.e 4890 atomic cooler + 4870 card. something like this may let someone make a cooler that fits ATI and nvidia cards
hiei-warrior 26th September 2009, 08:54 Quote
great idea....i'd definitely buy a cooler-less card if it cost me less than one with a cooler

still i don't see it becoming a trend as there will be those newbs who'll buy such a card blindly and install it, expecting it to work without a cooler
Yoy0YO 26th September 2009, 12:28 Quote
This looks like a really viable option! They should also combo the deal like on newegg or something with a 3rd party cooler. It might raise a couple of eyebrows too!
Ross1 26th September 2009, 15:30 Quote
definitely. once i installed an accelero S1, i dont think i would ever use a reference cooler again.
13eightyfour 26th September 2009, 15:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horizon
I would. I'm tired of voiding my warranty after I take theirs off.

But the only way it could happen is if it never had a warranty in the first place, No manufacturer is going to release cards without a cooler for the potential issues of incorrectly fitted coolers or worse people not even fitting one.

The only way it could work and im not sure on the legality of it would be to offer significantly cheaper cards without a cooler and little or no warranty.
Cupboard 26th September 2009, 16:03 Quote
Coming back to this - would it work to have a standard cooler fitting on all cards, so that you don't need a new water block/cooler for each new card? Simply unscrew your old cooler, clean the TIM off and slap it on your new card. You could have a standardised system that would make things very easy, a bit like PCIe but for cooling.
Sir Digby 26th September 2009, 16:13 Quote
Maybe, but I think if manufacturers were going to do this they'd have to make a much more standardized mounting system and have an integrated heatsink covering the GPU and memory.
Vanni 26th September 2009, 16:53 Quote
Standardized the mounting and have maybe have a circuit that the heatsink or waterblock completes on the board when its mounted before the GPU gets juice.
TSR2 26th September 2009, 17:11 Quote
If it cost less, then yes of course. But I can't see manufacturers creating a separate product for what is, after all, probably a minority. It would also only be likely to work for ATI cards, as I believe nVidia ones are fitted by nvidia? As others have said, it would have to have essentially no warranty, but that would not be good in the case of the card being defective. Maybe a little button that would, without fully powering up the GPU (so it would not require a heatsink for the test), carry out a self test, so you'd test it before you even powered up the system and if it failed RMA it? That would be easier than trying to persuade support that you didn't burn the thing.
The Infamous Mr D 27th September 2009, 00:17 Quote
If coolerless GPUs were a reality, this type of niche product would only be targeted at enthusiasts, and enthusiasts never get discount.
ZERO <ibis> 28th September 2009, 23:43 Quote
I would just be happy for a standardized mounting system.
l3v1ck 28th September 2009, 23:54 Quote
I'd only buy one if I couldn't find a manufacturer who pre-fitted the HSF I actually wanted.
Combatus 29th September 2009, 01:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
I would just be happy for a standardized mounting system.

That's true, but then I suppose someone would go out of business if we could just use the same water block over and over instead of having to buy new ones! That's one reason I suppose why I tend to splurge ££££££ on a good card and block so I can keep them for as long as possible. At least with CPU blocks things are a little more permanent.
karx11erx 30th September 2009, 11:02 Quote
This issue wouldn't be one if gfx card manufacturers would equip their card with good coolers even if it would make the cards 10 bucks more expensive (I'd even shell out 20 more - heck, I do anyway, as I a rather wait for something like a Vapor X cooled Radeon or a MSI Twin Frozr than get a stock cooled quasi jet engine).
Star*Dagger 9th October 2009, 05:55 Quote
Good idea, just have the customer answer some questions during purchase, so that they know you are not a conserv.. uh moron noob.

hehe,
S*D
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums
CM Storm Resonar Review

CM Storm Resonar Review

22nd October 2014

Asus Z97i-Plus Review

Asus Z97i-Plus Review

20th October 2014