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#2 - The Video Card Cooler

There is no doubt about it - high end video cards are one of the hottest, loudest components that you can put in your system. In 2D mode, the cards do ramp down in clock speed to keep things cool, but fire up a game, and you'll be suffering from high-pitched whining drowning out all but the loudest sounds.

There are two ways to go about silencing your video card; if it's time for an upgrade anyway, you might want to look at something with an integrated silent cooler. Most major video card makers offer silent versions of mid-to-high end video cards. Some go higher than others; for instance, Gigabyte is the only one offering a fanless GeForce 7600 GT. Not everyone is this gutsy, so you may not find a silent video card with the power you want.

The other option is to swap out the stock cooler on your video card with a silent one. We look to Zalman first for a solution, and they have a great new product that will cool some of the hottest video cards, and do so quietly.

The Zalman VF-900 Cu is their latest offering, capable of cooling the hottest video cards out today, while generating as little as 18.5 dBA of sound. It will take up an extra slot on your motherboard though, so make sure you have the room to spare first.

#1 - The CPU Cooler

Our #5 pick was the CPU, so depending on which CPU you have, this choice becomes more or less important. However if your CPU makes any noise at all, you are going to want to replace it.

Going with a silent or quiet CPU cooler usually means going with something big. Here are a few coolers that can cool just about every processor out there, do it well, and do it quietly.

Scythe Ninja - This thing is BIG and HEAVY, but will cool anything you throw at it. If you're using one of the cooler processors available, you will not even need to use a fan. Otherwise, it should be paired up with the Nexus 120 mm fan we talked about earlier.

Zalman 9500 Cu - Another big cooler, this one has an integrated quiet 92mm fan and controller. The advantage fo this one is that it is very light for its size. It's still big though, so make sure you have the room to accommodate. It can be rotated to suit your needs.

Thermalright Ultra 120 - Another tower fan, like the Scythe Ninja. This one is even bigger and heavier, although it does cool slightly better. Best suited for those still using a hot Pentium CPU. Again, you'll want to use the Nexus 120 with this one.

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