The interactions between noncancerous, primary endothelial cells and gold nanoparticles with different morphologies but the same ligand capping are investigated. The endothelial cells are incubated with gold nanospheres, nanorods, hollow gold spheres, and core/shell silica/gold nanocrystals, which are coated with monocarboxy (1-mercaptoundec-11-yl) hexaethylene glycol (OEG). Cell viability studies show that all types of gold particles are noncytotoxic. The number of particles taken up by the cells is estimated using inductively coupled plasma (ICP), and are found to differ depending on particle morphology. The above results are discussed with respect to heating efficiency. Using experimental data reported earlier and theoretical model calculations which take into account the physical properties and distribution of particles in the cellular microenvironment, it is found that collective heating effects of several cells loaded with nanoparticles must be included to explain the observed viability of the endothelial cells.