The problem with most passively cooled videocards is they typically bring weaksauce gaming performance into your home theater, as if all you'll ever want to do on your swank 52-inch LCD is watch movies and play the occasional round of Peggle. That's why we're stoked to see Gigabyte release a totally silent Radeon HD 5770, so far the only 5770 on the planet to ship without a fan.
Keep in mind we don't have one of these in for testing, but we have spent time with AMD's 5770 model and liked what we saw. Gigabyte's latest version -- GV-R577SL-1GD -- trades in the stock cooler for a passively cooled heatsink with four heat pipes running through a whole bunch of aluminum fins. Underneath it all sits an "ultra-huge" copper base plate.
Gigabyte seems to think it's all pretty effective, claiming a decrease in temps of 5-10 percent over traditional designs. We're skeptical those figures will hold up in the real-world compared to actively-cooled cards, but hey, as long as the card doesn't fry itself or burst into flames and take our home theater down, we could care less where it ranks.
No word on when this one's shipping or for how much.