Cheap & easy GPU cooling solutions

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Hardware' started by elstado, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. elstado

    elstado Member

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    Hi all,

    Some may have seen me mention in a few threads that I have been a bit concerned about my 9800GT's temps, which were hitting around 80-82 degrees in most games.

    I was put onto a pretty cool (pun intended) looking solution on PCCG, the Thermalright T-RAD², by VenGanZa, however it costs $79 which is nearly the value of my card alone, and since I am not OCing this card my temps aren't that high to warrant such a solution, especially as it doesn't seem to be compatible with the newer/higher performance cards on the market, so it will have a limited use. I really just needed to get the card a few degrees cooler while under full load.

    So I set out thinking up ideas on how to get the card a few degrees cooler under load as easily and cheaply as possible. My first though was that the GPUs small (40mm I think it is) fan breathes air from underneath and then pushes it towards the HDD cage where I assume the warm air would rise and by pushed out by the rear 120mm case fan. I then thought that if there's an extra 120mm fan underneath the GPU, blowing up towards the CPU HSF and case fan, that would not only assist in blowing cool air towards the card's fan, but also assist in moving the warm air away from the card and towards the exhaust fans.

    So here's what I did, using a spare generic 120mm green LED case fan I had laying around. As the pictures show I simply put a few screws into each mount hole to act as spacers, and I then put a small ball of blutac on each screw to reduce vibration noise and movement. This was always supposed to be a temporary, quick solution, hence why I didn't drill out proper mounting holes or air intake holes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And here's the results I compiled after allowing the system to idle with the current setup for 10 minutes, and then benching it with 3D Mark Vantage on Extreme mode:

    [​IMG]

    As the results show there was a slight decrease in temps, around 2 degrees with the case closed up like it normally is. However since the fan is generic it has one speed only, and that is flat out and noisy! So If I ever decided to use this concept on a daily basis I would definitely be looking around for a quieter fan to use. That also brings into mind that if I got a quieter (and thus slower) fan how effective it would be at cooling at the slower RPM.

    I think the biggest difference in temps is with the case panel open and closed.. 9 degrees difference with no fan and 11 degrees difference with the extra fan! However I don't think I could ever handle having the case panel open to drop GPU temps as it makes the system much nosier and there's the dust issues as well. I also noticed that CPU temps actually rose by about 1-2 degrees when the case panel was open, which makes sense as the thermal flow of the air was being messed up with the case open.

    I should also note that I have custom fan profiles set-up to kick in different speeds at different temperature levels, these profiles were not changed in anyway during testing and they should not have affected the results.

    I also decided to clean my CPU HSF, rear case fan (Antec Tri-Cool), videocard and front air filter, which were all covered in a pretty thick layer of dust and fluffy crap!

    E.g.

    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After (well I actually went over it again after this pic was taken):
    [​IMG]

    If anyone else has some ideas for me on how to reduce GPU temps by a few degrees (I am looking to get it down to around 75 on max load, instead of 80, and idle on 50, instead of 55) post it here. If you have done some cheap and easy cooling mod for your air-cooled GPU post it in here, as I am sure with summer approaching many people are keen on reducing temps at minimal cost and impact.
     
  2. anrke

    anrke Member

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    Do you have an intake fan or two on the front of the case bringing in some cooler air?
     
  3. Clicking

    Clicking Member

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    You could try removing the pci slot covers to open up more air for the gpu fan to draw in. That should help with the temps as the sonata doesn't really have any openings at the front for fresh air.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Nah Antec Sonata cases don't have anything at the front, only a rear 120mm fan. There's a fan mount on the inside on the HDD cage, but it gets in the way of the GPU power cord and HDD access.

    Hrm, might be an idea. Dust is pretty bad in my room though, I would prefer to have the majority of the air coming in from the front filtered intake.
     
  5. MrSmoke

    MrSmoke Member

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    could make some cardboard shrouds around the fan to direct the air towards the gfx card more

    could also get a pci slot cooler (most of them suck)
     
  6. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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  7. Heatpipe

    Heatpipe Member

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    strip the card and redo the TIM on the core?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Yeah someone on WP recommended that. I don't have any TIM on me but it might be worth getting a tube and re-doing it. Apparently the stock stuff is pretty crap 99% of the time.
     
  9. terrastrife

    terrastrife Member

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    get an 80mm fan, punch out your pci slot covers, cable tie to that, use it as an exhaust. as the temps change with case open closed it means you arent removing waste heat.
     
  10. Spork!

    Spork! Member

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    Wouldn't mind some cheap chills for my 9800 too - it's OC'd and folds constantly, often spends hoursn n end in mid - high 80c's. Have a spare fan or 2 around here. Card is in the middle PCIe slot. Might stick a fan on the top / back of it and see of that lowers temps...
     
  11. dasicvtec

    dasicvtec Member

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    Id say cut out a opening below the fan to get some outside air coming in. I think you just need to get a bit of circulation of air happening. So mount the fan perpendicular to the video card - use blu tak (ull need a fair bit) or double sided tape and mount it at the edge of the motherboard.

    That should help as ive done that previously - a pic of my 6800nu in a generic case. I was 16 at the time lol.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. th3_hawk

    th3_hawk Member

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    It's all about air flow. You either start cutting holes or look at a new case.

    As fro a fan cable tied to the PCI covers, not a bad idea, but I'd make it an intake, and leave the fan at the top as an exhaust. (just consider a dust filter if your worried about dust).
     
  13. Smoke87

    Smoke87 Member

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    Remove the bullshit plastic covering on the video card. Useless if you have decent cooling, only there in our OCAU-cooler minds to heat up the bloody card.

    Remove all PCI slot covers

    Install dust filters on either side of the card.

    Use some 100cfm+ fans (Normally between 39 and 45db you've been warned!) on either side with a another at the other end of the case for cross-flow ventilation.

    Doing this dropped my 9800GX2 temps by 17 degrees and that was without removing the stupid plastic cover on the card.
     
  14. stenchlord

    stenchlord Member

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    Not to sound obvious but the Antec Sonata III only came with one fan standard, the rear exhaust. The front intake was an optional extra.

    Did you install a fan there?

    Also what fan speed do you keep your GPU on?

    My suggestion would be, make the rear fan an intake, fan on the expansion slots, filters on both, turn the 9700LED around so it pushes air to the front and make the front an exhaust (or if there's no fan there, put one in).

    All you need are some cable ties - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=3760
    2 x Fan filters - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=9_38&products_id=604
    3 x Siliceous Sheets - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=40&products_id=1050
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  15. mojododo

    mojododo Member

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    better idea yet elstado, why dont you remove the heatsink and fan from the videocard, go down to a local pc shop and buy a crapy 2nd hand amd cpu hsf and mod it to fit and mount to the card. the orig 40mm fan is hopeless and so will the stock hsf.

    modding heatsinks to to fit things are easy and only require a bit of thought into where/how to cut/shape then you can get it done.

    that fan idea is good though, maybe move it a bit higher tho to get more air to hit the vieo card better.
     
  16. Menthu_Rae

    Menthu_Rae Member

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    THE AIR IS CAVITATING? BWAHAHAHAHAHA

    Fluid Dynamics (LostBenji) = 0 Z [Fail]

    Whilst air is a fluid, it is not a liquid (at the temperatures and pressures we are dealing with here) - thus you are not going to have "cavitation" (whereby a low-pressure vapour area collapses, creating a high-velocity jet of the surrounding liquid).

    So the real issue here is that you have NFI and are sprouting BS. :thumbdn: Please don't in future.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    I was thinking of that actually, but more on the line of it being an intake rather than exhaust due to it's relation to the location of the GPU intake and exhaust.

    Let us know how that works. It's just a matter of playing around with fan positions and airflows I think.

    Didn't know that, but was suspecting it wasn't working any more. Will throw it out this arvo.

    Yep as I mentioed to terra that's what I was thinking as well yesterday when I was playing around with the fans. 80mm fan with a dust filter on it acting as a cold air intake for the GPU and bottom section of the case. Not sure how it will interfere with the rest of the air movement though.

    That's not a bad idea actually. The only thing was that I wanted to sell the card in a few months, so it would be better if it has all the original design intact.

    I know that there's a front 120mm fan mount, it's on the outside of the HDD cage, near the GPU. I mentioned this already I think, atm there's cables and stuff in the way, but I might try mounting a 120mm fan on that internal fan mount and see how temps go. I am only after a 5 degree peak drop (e.g. from 80 to 75), so it might do the job.

    Changes depending on the temps.

    Ides on 8% (keeps it at around 50degrees), hits around 30% when over 56 degrees, then 70% when over 61 degrees, and then 90% if over 71 degrees. I have it set up with custom fan profiles as the auto settings weren't keeping it cool enough.

    I don't get it... make the rear fan an intake? That means only the PSU is exhausting hot air while there's three fan blowing internally? How is the warm air, or anything for that matter supposed to get out? Wouldn't it cause issues for the PSU fan with that sort of pressure?
     
  18. ICEW0LF

    ICEW0LF Member

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    remove shroud and cable tie 12cm fan to it. you can always screw it back on if you need to sell it
     
  19. SeiferCQGL

    SeiferCQGL Member

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    SNAP.

    If you are worried about airflow, see if you can get hold of a smoke machine (non-conductive of course) and a clear side panel (if you dont have one already). This will give you a VISUAL representation of the flow within your case and pinpoint areas where there might be a vacuum (a very common problem) or a swirl (an area where the airflow comes back on itself).

    Using this you can position your fans to acheive the best flow.

    If you cant find a smoke machine, use the basic principle:

    If you have 1 inlet and two outlets, you are more than likely going to have a vacuum and starve your case or fresh cool air.

    If you have 1 inlets and 1 outlet, you will get a swirl, because there will be too small an area for the hot exhaust air to escape.

    Try to keep the inlet fans : outlet fans to 1:1.

    Then, any fans within the case will be a bonus, as you can direct their airflow in the same direction (like if you had a TRUE or similar tower CPU cooler).
     
  20. mixology

    mixology Member

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    i would've just replaced the thermal pads nvidia use with real thermal paste. nvidia oems cake that shit like it was peanut butter. and also clean out the dust bunnies inside the card i suppose.
     

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