Gigabyte has a good example of the unbearable marketing trend that wants to take the smallest thing and turn it into a marketing argument.
Even though the manufacturer built most of its reputation on graphic cards using passive and silent cooling systems, it now boasts a "3D active fan" as a major feature on of its graphic cards. What are the arguments ? The fan is energy saver and a shield ! In fact, it’s the opposite. Adding a fan will increase power consumption (in a relatively small manner, usually between 1 W to 3 W) and adds to the list of possible failures. To top it up, the fan is installed on a GeForce 8500 GT, an entry level card running modest performances and perfectly capable of using a humble heat sink (it’s the case with other manufacturers) !
To be fair, let’s add that this "intelligent" fan has the particularity of starting when in peak. The initiative reminds us of a similar MSI feature we’ll look at later on. However, Gigabyte doesn’t even use it to overclock the card, hence this fan doesn’t appear to have one ounce of relevance.
Fortunately, we were able to get closer to the passive GeForce 9600 GT of the manufacturer. Here’s a much more interesting model but with a really massive heat sink with fin that cross over the back of the case.