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EXTERNAL GRAPHICS CARD INSTALLATION
At the end of the testing and use with the minimalist configuration, the AOpen Aeolus 6800GT DVD256MV PCIe graphics card was installed. The only glitch here was that the graphics card would not seat properly in the slot. There was not enough room under the motherboard for the bottom lip of the graphics card I/O plate. This is a detail oversight by Zalman, as several PCI cards had the same issue. Fortunately, the SPCR lab is equipped to deal with such hurdles. Our trusty Wiss tin snips were brought into play; a few millimeters snipped off the bottom solved the problem neatly.
A pair of Wiss tin snips to overcome a detail oversight by Zalman.
Note that the 6800GT card runs considerably hotter than the hottest recommended by Zalman, the 6600. Please refer to X-bit Labs' recent article, The Grand Clash for Watts: Power Consumption of Modern Graphics Cards. We cannot take their results to be absolutely precise, but they measured 27.6W for the 6600, and 54.6W for a 6800GS. The latter is similar to the 6800GT, which X-bit labs measured in an earlier test to have a similar power draw. Suffice it to say the AOpen Aeolus 6800GT DVD256MV runs about twice as hot as the maximum recommended 6600.
The entire VGA cooling system installation process is described below.
First, the external front panel had to be removed. This entailed removing five large "nuts" on the inside of the front panel. Once this was removed, the block which fits the far end of the heatpipes for the GPU are revealed. It is sandwiched between the external front panel and the internal one, with the heatpipe ends between them. The photo below shows the front, with the case on its right side.
Five threaded rods secure the external front panel.
The white colored portion is thermal interface material for the heatpipe clamp block.
AOpen Aeolus 6800GT DVD256MV stripped of any heatsinks, shown with Zalman TNN-300 video card cooling parts.
The GPU heat block is secured against the GPU with four spring-loaded thumbscrews that have a positive stop and are simple to install.
The heatpipes were removed from the case and attached to the graphics card.
The eight memory heatsinks were attached.
The heatpipes had to be carefully maneuvered through the front panel hole.
Zalman's instructions call for a slight upward tilt of the heatpipes as they extend out to the front panel.
This tilt was achieved.
The external front bezel plate was reinstalled, with all five internal nuts tightened securely to ensure good contact between all the heat conducting parts °
the heatpipes, the heat block, the inside front panel.
This is the interior after the final assembly including the AOpen graphics card.
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