Previously seen on the ASUS Extreme N6600GT Silencer, the protruding heatsink makes a return on the ASUS EN7600GT Silent. It is perhaps appropriate that the GeForce 7600 GT – NVIDIA's successor to the GeForce 6600 GT - should feature the second version of this unique cooler, obviously dubbed SilentCool 2 by ASUS. Naturally, there have been some modifications over the original cooler.
First, the liberal use of copper in the radiator has been scrapped. Instead, aluminum has replaced the distinctive orange metal. A positive side effect is the lighter weight of aluminum compared to copper, especially since ASUS' design is inherently top heavy. Copper however is a better heat conductor than aluminum and would probably have done a better job but it is also more expensive, so ASUS could have opted for the less costly aluminum to remain price competitive.
The other major change is that unlike the original SilentCool, the protruding heatsink can be easily rotated to the left when previously you needed a screwdriver to do so. The radiator can swivel left so that ideally, it will be located right above the CPU cooler, where it can piggyback on the airflow created by the CPU cooler (in most cases) to aid in its heat dissipation. Of course, this is the whole idea of the SilentCool design in the first place and ASUS has made it more obvious how it's supposed to work.
However, one possible showstopper is the rear radiator on the other side of the card. On our MSI K8N Diamond Plus testbed, there wasn't sufficient clearance to install the card as the radiator interfered with the chipset cooler on the board. Luckily the MSI had two PCIe x 16 slots and we could use the other slot for the EN7600GT Silent, but of course all these are very situational. Many dual graphics motherboards will default to PCIe x8 on the secondary slot, so you might be loosing some performance. So before you go out and get this card, check if your motherboard is compatible first.On another note, we've found that some of ASUS' newer board designs, the chipset cooler is curved to allow cards with large backplate heatsinks to install as well.
By itself, the ASUS EN7600GT Silent is a faithful reproduction of the vanilla GeForce 7600 GT, with the core and memory clocks conforming to the default 560MHz and 1400MHz DDR respectively. The memory chips are rated at 1.4ns and operating at these standard clock speeds, needs no heatsink for cooling. Finally, two dual-link DVI-I connectors and a mini-DIN connector complete the connectivity options for this card; again there is nothing that we haven't seen before on the reference card.
Chock full of the usual assortment of applications and accessories, the bundle for the ASUS EN7600GT Silent is quite decent though the quality varied from the extremely stale (the ancient Xpand Rally) to the trivial (CD wallet) to respectable (King Kong). The ASUS utilities included are useful in some situations but they are likely to be ignored by most users. We would have preferred a DVD playback application instead but at least the accessories were adequate and comparable to offerings from other vendors. The following items are found in the package: