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 Post subject: Radeon 9600 Conversion
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:44 am
Posts: 217
Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
Hi again,
So I built custom connectors and installed the nexus fans and replaced to hard drive with a laptop drive. (This is a follow up to the following):

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... hp?t=41382
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... hp?t=40986

The last step is silencing my Radeon 9600. The fan on it is now by far the loudest thing in my computer. Looking through all of the threads here, it seems that the 9600 runs pretty cool and that people have recommended replacing fans with northbridge heatsinks (which I happen to have lying around).
So, is this likely to end in disaster (I've spent my budget for silencing the computer already, so no graphics cards replacements) for someone who has never modified such an item before?
Will the thermal paste that is likely on the gpu going to be enough - I can't find any in town or at a Canadian online shop (yet)?
And lastly, I'm a bit stumped on how to secure the heatsink to the gpu, but I guess that depends on who the manufacturer is (can't remember off the top of my head).

Thanks for helping so far.

Blue


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:53 am 
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Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I don't know about a 9600, but I modified my old Radeon 7200 in a similar fashion. It took some force to twist off the old heatsink--be careful! Then, I applied a good deal of thermal paste I had left over from CPU coolers (probably far too much paste).

The northbridge chipset heatsink I used came off of a dead motherboard, and the mounting holes didn't even remotely line up. Instead, I use a long twist-tie weaved through the heatsink's "fingers" to secure the heatsink to the card. My steps were:

1) Get the twist-tie as far down into the heatsink "fingers" as I could.

2) Take the two loose ends and insert them through the card's mounting holes.

3) Place the heatsink onto the GPU chip and pull the loose twist-tie ends as far as I could.

4) Pulling the twist-tie ends taut, I twisted the ends together.

It's not the most elegant solution, but it works.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:28 pm 
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
You can always use a tool like Rivatuner or something to lower the clock (maybe voltage) of the core to minimum levels. Then change over to the passive heatsink, monitor the temps, and when you feel it's running stable you can raise the clock/voltage back up. You can also put a spot fan in the area temporarily to be safe.

Personally, I don't think you'll have a problem. My old 9600XT had what amounted to a small aluminum block with a fan on top. No fins to speak of really. Even that was mounted only with push pins, I could rock the thing back and forth. Of course, that was a refurb and had sparklies when playing movies, but other than that it ran fine and never overheated.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:45 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
For what it's worth, I have the Sapphire Atlantis ATI Radeon 9600, and it comes fan-less.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:02 pm 
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Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
The card is a Sapphire 9600 xt 256 MB and the fan just has a sapphire sticker on it. I had a look and I don't think I'm going to be able to modify it much. I don't have to tools to cut down a heatsink, much less find a way to affix it to the GPU, Is there any way to regulate the fan speed? My searches here hinted to a method, but Google turns up nothing.
Part of my reluctance is that the card will be beside my brand new Xtreme Music card.
So is there a cheep, good replacement fan that I have missed (most I see are $ 30-40) or is there way to turn down this fan?

Thanks for answering.

Blue


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:21 am 
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Does your gfx card look like one in this review? If yes (especially cooler part), then it is very easy to change GPU cooler.

You need to release two plastic clips (clamp these on backside of card) and entire cooler falls off (maybe you should shake it a bit). I think you can use these holes to attach any northbridge (NB) cooler, these have similar fastening clips - although you need to check holes distance before.

And of course you need some thermal paste. Fortunately NB coolers are usally sold with both thermal sticker and thermal paste included :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 7:36 am 
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I have the same card (though the 128MB version) and I replaced the heatsink with a zalman NB32J. See this thread for details. It wasn't that hard, the holes lined up fine.

Some people re-use the thermal paste, but I am wary of that since it is likely to get somewhat dirty when you remove the old heatsink and dirt can make the thermal connection less efficient. Still, it's probably worth a try if you can't find any new past to put on.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:24 am 
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Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
Arvo & flyingsherpa

The fan on my card is different (smaller diameter), if I can judge correctly by that picture, but the holes should be in the same place, and that is all that really matters.
It looks easy to take out, but the problem is the replacement. I can buy a "Evercool VC-RE Copper VGA Cooler" for about $25, but everything else is hideously expensive - something similar to zalman NB32J would cost me between $50 and $70. Thermal paste wise I'm in a bit of a bind as well, all I can find is from the US (which is out of the question, Customs will add tax and likely a $20+ "handling fee").

So, can I use a heatsink I've pulled out of PSU (might just screw on, because of hole pattern on it) or a nonstandard northbridge heatsink (two are roughly 10x40x60 mm) or should I find a way to undervolt the fan (that sounds kind of risky)?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:57 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA
I've been using this Aerocool VM-101on my 9600 Pro for several years. It's great if you have the room above the VGA card, as evident here.

If you don't have the room (and are feeling a tiny bit brave), you could try modifying it as I've done here. It does NOT require tools. In fact, I'd say tools should be avoided with this mod.

Both of them benefit from the air flow from the nearby fan prominent in this picture, but the 9600 series produce so little heat that it shouldn't take much flow to keep it working adequately.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:56 am 
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Blue_Sky wrote:
It looks easy to take out, but the problem is the replacement. I can buy a "Evercool VC-RE Copper VGA Cooler" for about $25, but everything else is hideously expensive - something similar to zalman NB32J would cost me between $50 and $70. Thermal paste wise I'm in a bit of a bind as well, all I can find is from the US (which is out of the question, Customs will add tax and likely a $20+ "handling fee").


Don't you have a local electronic store or hobby shop or anything? Somebody somewhere near you should have something similar. Paying $20 handling for a $15 heatsink is a little ludicrous.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:44 am
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Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
Ottawa is not a great place to be if you want to build your own computer. When I was looking for Nexus fans and a power supply replacement, most of the computer stores here either only repaired computers or sold discount computers (both naturally using only the cheapest parts). I found a music equipment store that also sold certain computer parts (graphics cards, some antec cases, PSUs and Nexus fans), which ended up having a better selection than any other store I could find. Unless it is at Futureshop/Bestbuy and I want to pay three times what something is worth, I'm kind of SOL.
Ncix.com isn't bad, but they are situated about 3800 km away, so shipping is expensive.

I'll be in Montreal this weekend, so I'll see if I can find something there.

@dfrost

All my PCI slots are used at the moment, but beside the 9600XT is a super low profile NIC. I'll see if I can find something like that at a reasonable price.


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