Need help to re-apply (-stick) heatsinks from Accelero S1

They make noise, too.

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Zorander
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Need help to re-apply (-stick) heatsinks from Accelero S1

Post by Zorander » Thu Mar 19, 2009 1:45 am

Hi all,

I have lately been having trouble with my system crashing at random intervals during games. My suspicion lies on my AGP HD3850 (w/ Accelero S1), specifically on the VRM heatsinks. One of them is not sticking strongly enough (it may have come off now but I can't ascertain it until I open the case). The eraser method does not work either. The easiest solution would be to get an adhesive thermal paste but I wish to avoid this permanent solution (as I intend to re-use the cooler and heatsinks should I upgrade to another card).

What would you suggest? Thanks!

p.s. As a side-question, I currently have a 120mm Noctua blowing towards the centre of the card (at the GPU core); is it a better idea to use a smaller (92mm) fan, blowing at the VRM instead?
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blackworx
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Post by blackworx » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:49 am

Do a search for 3M thermal tape - should be fairly cheap and easily available :)

Don't know about the fan thing.

EDIT: You didn't recently upgrade Catalyst did you? A friend of mine using a 3850 has had no end of problems with unpredictable crashing during games recently and he seems fairly sure that is the culprit for one reason or another. Could be worth a Google.

Zorander
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Post by Zorander » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:01 am

blackworx wrote:You didn't recently upgrade Catalyst did you? A friend of mine using a 3850 has had no end of problems with unpredictable crashing during games recently and he seems fairly sure that is the culprit for one reason or another. Could be worth a Google.
I did upgrade my catalyst (9.2 currently). Well, I had no such problems up to last December (and maybe early January). Ever since then, I have no been able to have a single decent gaming experience but I thought it was simply due to one of those VRM heatsink falling off. I'll have to google around about Catalyst.

About the 3M tape, I tried on Ebay but not much luck it seems. Is there a large difference between using a thermal pad and a thermal pad? I don't suppose simply applying Arctic Silver on the VRM will help the heatsink stick better? ;)

Cheers!
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Post by thejamppa » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:20 am

Zorander wrote: I don't suppose simply applying Arctic Silver on the VRM will help the heatsink stick better? ;)

Cheers!
It actually might, since AS5 forms a quite binding connection between two metal surfaces. I've always have to use considerable strength to remove cooler if I have used AS5. It might actually work, but I am not sure if you want to take changes with your card.
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Zorander
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Post by Zorander » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:38 am

thejamppa wrote:It might actually work, but I am not sure if you want to take changes with your card.
By chances, I suppose you mean the potential damage from the high likelihood of bridging the chips with the paste? I do have some AS3 (which I read is much less electrically-conducting than AS5) or is that still a no-no? What about AS Ceramique?

Thanks.
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blackworx
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Post by blackworx » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:45 am

No worries :)

Tbh I've never had a major problem getting epoxied stuff off again - never seems to be as permanent as they make out. The real b*tch is removing the residue. Doubt AS on its own will hold without some kind of pressure (at least initially) but you could try it in conjunction with some method of holding the heatsink in place? Alternatively you could buy a new set of heatsinks which will be supplied with fresh tape. Seems a bit like overkill though. As you say definitely check out the driver thing though.

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Post by psiu » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:51 am

Easiest thing to try--refresh the existing thermal adhesive with some 99% IPA on a q-tip.
Have seen on the web where you can use the Arctic Silver adhesive non-permanently, basically just "cut" it with some regular AS 3 or 5. And know that you may still need a very careful hand with a razor blade to convince it to come off later.
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Zorander
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Post by Zorander » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:01 am

blackworx wrote:As you say definitely check out the driver thing though.
I did some quick googling but saw nothing about a general instability of the Catalyst suite. I have just upgraded to the 9.3 Hotfix driver so we'll see how things fare (but I am sure this is a heat-related issue nonetheless). Tomorrow though as I have to sleep now. :)
psiu wrote:Easiest thing to try--refresh the existing thermal adhesive with some 99% IPA on a q-tip.
Wouldn't that actually dissolve away the adhesive instead? I should have mentioned in the original post the reason why that particular heatsink is falling off is because I accidentally dripped a drop of ArctiClean on it. :oops: I'm sure that effectively killed off whatever little adhesive power they had in the first place.

Also just as a quick and dirty check that I have seated the S1 correctly on the GPU, is an idle temperature of 45-55C (read from GPU-Z) OK?

Cheers!
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blackworx
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Post by blackworx » Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:45 am

Yep, your temp is fine. And a +1 for psiu's idea about the IPA. Whenever I've tried to clean thermal tape off using IPA or methylated spirit I always end up with a fantastically sticky goop which really takes some scraping to get rid of. Even acetone doesn't seem to shift it. Perhaps the Arcticlean is different from those? certainly can't hurt to try.

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Post by thejamppa » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:07 am

It takes a lot effort to remove thermaltape. Once I had to soak sinks with tape like 24 hours in Isopropyl alcohol and then couple of hours articlean solution before I got them nice and clean. And then it took quite effort and butter knife to get all residues off...
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Post by charlaph » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:53 am

Zorander, consider yourself lucky to have gotten good performance to date as there are some massive issues concerning ATI HD3850 AGP cards. For some constructive advice read these (they're looong stickied old threads, so start at the end and work backwards);

http://www.vgaforum.com/showthread.php?t=17340
http://www.vgaforum.com/showthread.php?t=21035
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Zorander
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Post by Zorander » Thu Mar 19, 2009 3:15 pm

charlaph wrote:Zorander, consider yourself lucky to have gotten good performance to date as there are some massive issues concerning ATI HD3850 AGP cards. For some constructive advice read these (they're looong stickied old threads, so start at the end and work backwards);

http://www.vgaforum.com/showthread.php?t=17340
http://www.vgaforum.com/showthread.php?t=21035
I wouldn't say my experience with the AGP HD3850 was smooth overall. At the start I could not get the regular Catalyst to install. Took me a while to stumble upon the word "Hotfix" and eventually the wondrous files themselves. Installation went smoothly and my games (only Assassin's Creed & Settlers VI at that time) went smoothly. However, my 2D video performance (High-def H264 files) took a dip. Where my PC with the old x1950Pro handled them effortlessly, it now stutters with them. Whether it's the chipset itself or the Hotfix/Catalyst suite, I don't know. Analog/VGA output quality (into my Sony CRT) is horrible too with vertical banding visible across solid colours. I have recently moved on to LCD though so this is no longer an issue but those using analog display must beware.

I browsed through those threads quickly but it looks like the ones having issues with the AGP HD3850 are SocketA system users. I'm glad at least not to experience what they are experiencing, on top of what I am already having with the card. :)
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Ayrton
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Post by Ayrton » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:33 am

Zorander wrote:
thejamppa wrote:It might actually work, but I am not sure if you want to take changes with your card.
By chances, I suppose you mean the potential damage from the high likelihood of bridging the chips with the paste?
I believe this is what I may have done installing the S1 on my Sapphire HD 4670. I am going to reinstall the stock cooler this evening and see if I can get the card to work.

Any suggestions on a better idea for the heatsinks?

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Post by swaaye » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:48 am

http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/therinmat.html
I have some of the Chomerics Thermattach tape. It is very capable stuff. Thermal tape applies best if you heat it up and press it on tightly. Activates the adhesive. The PDF describes this.

As for AS5's electrical conductivity, it really is basically non-existent. Just for fun once, I slathered the stuff all over the surface mounted capacitors on top of an Athlon Tbird. Bridged them all together with the stuff. No problems at all. A multimeter will also report infinite resistance with AS5.

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Post by Ayrton » Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:59 am

I don't think I "hamfisted" the install or anything, but the card is not working.

Gonna have to check it all again this evening.

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Post by charlaph » Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:06 am

Zorander wrote:Analog/VGA output quality (into my Sony CRT) is horrible too with vertical banding visible across solid colours.

I browsed through those threads quickly but it looks like the ones having issues with the AGP HD3850 are SocketA system users. I'm glad at least not to experience what they are experiencing, on top of what I am already having with the card. :)
Sounds like it could be hardware related then. The threads have a whole bunch of tips and tweaks for all users of AGP cards, but they're buried in amongst a lot of guff, so wading through them is a slog (and might not even help)

This is a long shot, but do you have access to another PC that you could try it in?.

Couple more questions before weeding out the software issue; What OS are you on, what version of .net do you have installed?
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Post by Zorander » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:54 pm

charlaph wrote: Sounds like it could be hardware related then. The threads have a whole bunch of tips and tweaks for all users of AGP cards, but they're buried in amongst a lot of guff, so wading through them is a slog (and might not even help)

This is a long shot, but do you have access to another PC that you could try it in?.

Couple more questions before weeding out the software issue; What OS are you on, what version of .net do you have installed?
This is the only AGP system I have at the moment. It's working fine in almost all cases except in games where it crashes randomly during the game, which leads me to believe this is heat-related. I'm going to try to re-seat the heatsink by trying that IPA or even the AS5 trick. I will replace the Noctua with a smaller fan as well to better focus the airflow onto the board.

I'm running XP 32-bit. I'm not sure what .Net version I'm running. Under Add or Remove Program, I have 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0. I guess that means I'm running version 3.0 then. VIA Hyperion is the latest version 5.22A (note that this system used to run rock-stable a few months back with the same exact hardware). Catalyst version is 9.3 AGP Hotfix (I should try going back to 8.10 or somewhere around there when things were still running stable).

I might also add that I recently upgraded my display to a 1920x1200 one (up from the 1280x960 Sony) and I noted that the system crashes far more easily with the added load. As a matter of fact, it hardly ever crashed with the lower resolution. Your thought?

Cheers!
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Post by psiu » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:58 pm

Zorander wrote:
psiu wrote:Easiest thing to try--refresh the existing thermal adhesive with some 99% IPA on a q-tip.
Wouldn't that actually dissolve away the adhesive instead? I should have mentioned in the original post the reason why that particular heatsink is falling off is because I accidentally dripped a drop of ArctiClean on it. :oops: I'm sure that effectively killed off whatever little adhesive power they had in the first place.
Cheers!
Played with it today on both Zalman and Arctic Cooling ramsinks, works fine. Arcticlean might be different than just alcohol though.
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Post by Riffer » Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:45 pm

swaaye wrote:http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/therinmat.html
I have some of the Chomerics Thermattach tape. It is very capable stuff. Thermal tape applies best if you heat it up and press it on tightly. Activates the adhesive. The PDF describes this....
I agree. I have been using that stuff for probably 10 years. Sticks well after one thermal cycle and the heatsinks can be removed failrly easily by twisting.

I remember it being pretty hard to get back in the day. I might have seen it recently, but I can't remember where.

Zorander
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Post by Zorander » Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:01 am

I got to open the case today and guess what. 3 (out of 4) VRM heatsinks as well as 1 RAM-sink have apparently come off the board! Talk about lousy adhesive power. AS3 on the chips hardly helped in keeping the sinks attached. I had to use quite a lot of IPA to induce the adhesive-ness back. Even then I'm not sure they will stay there for long. I did not move the fan towards the VRM area.

Unfortunately nothing has changed. RA3 is still crashing (and all the sooner once I crank Shader level beyond Medium; the other settings at maximum seem to work fine). Assassin's Creed, which never crashed before, is crashing now. I tried the artifact test on ATITool; same result within less than 2 minutes of running the test. All are hard crashes, requiring a force-reset, often from cold.

It's likely the sinks have come off again when I put the case back into position (which involves lifting and shifting around). I will be opening the case again in a few days time to check (and to move the fan towards the VRM area). I'm beginning to wonder though if something else might be at fault here (RAM, motherboard, Windows, etc). Your thought?
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Auroa
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Post by Auroa » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:11 pm

I have a ASUS Radeon 3850 and the Accelero's VRM heatsinks don't really fit. The adhesive quickly failed to work, so now I just use Ceramique on the VRM heatsinks. While I wouldn't recommend it if you move your computer around a lot, so far it's doing the job for me.

Zorander
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Post by Zorander » Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:18 pm

I think I'm going to just order some of these and hope for the best. I don't suppose using regular glue (not to mention flammable ones) is a sound idea? :)
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WR304
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Post by WR304 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:16 am

If you want to remove the 3M thermal tape from the Arctic Cooling ramsinks then "Sticky Stuff Remover" works well:

Sticky Stuff Remover

That works much better than Arcticlean. Soak the thermal tape and then it will just wipe off.:)

For re-applying ramsinks non permanently clean off the thermal tape and then put thermal paste over 3/4 of the ramsink with a small drop of superglue (you only need one drop) on the edge of the ramsink. That will hold it securely in place but if you ever need to remove then the ramsink will break off safely.

If you attach the ramsink with thermal epoxy you'll find that the memory chip tears out of the card before the ramsink comes off. :( You can dilute the thermal epoxy with thermal paste (3 parts thermal paste to 1 part thermal epoxy) but you need to be careful that it's diluted enough or the bond will still be quite strong.

Zorander
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Post by Zorander » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:53 pm

I re-installed the sinks by first removing the Accelero S1 itself and, with free access to the sinks, putting enough pressure directly on them. AS paste apparently does keep them in place. I also replaced the slow-moving Noctua with a Glacialtech fan (which cools better and is still silent enough). Idle temp is now 40C, with load temp maxing out at 55C. Not too shabby, I think.

I still do not have enough apps/games to test the card however. I notice that it still crashes in RA3 at 1920x1200 resolution (with high-ish settings) but is rock stable at 1280x1024 (with maxed setting). The card now stays stable through ATITool stress test. What do you think is the problem here? Is it the VRM (that might need even more cooling with the increased resolution setting) or is it something else? Are there other 'stress' tests I can carry out?

Cheers!
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Intel Core i7-860 (Prolimatech Megahalem/Noctua 120mm)
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WR304
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Post by WR304 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:55 am

Another stress test you could try is Furmark v1.6.5:

http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/13 ... 1.6.5.html

You could also try pointing a fan directly at the back of your graphics card to see if that helps with stability. :)

GPU-Z 0.3.3 might show you the VRM temperatures of your ATI HD 3850 card. It displays them for newer ATI cards like the ATI HD 4870. If it's there it will appear as "VDDC Slave Temperature #1- #3":

http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/13 ... 0.3.3.html

http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=68404

Image
ATI HD 4870 cooled by Accelero S1 temperatures

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