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 Post subject: Quietly cool your GPU using PCI!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:58 am
Posts: 28
I've always wondered if there were better ways to cool your GPUs. Even with the custom cooler on my Gigabyte Windforce GTX 670, it idles around 55C when I have the fans set to the minimum speed. As some of you may already know, I'm VERY picky about noise, but what can I do to keep my GPU cooler and keep noise down? Well that's when I thought about using the stability of PCI slots on the case to mount two fans right beneath the GPU to assist the GPU fans!

I looked around the internet and found a cheap PCI fan mount for ~$6 on "the bay". It was designed for 80/92mm fans so the holes aren't quite perfect, but it is designed very well and can easily be adapted for 120 or 140mm fans.

Here are a few pictures of what it looks like after everything has been put together:
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Notice the screw holes for the brackets don't match the fan so I used bent paperclips to hold them together. I've actually switched to zip-ties which work a bit better.

Here's how it looks like when installed in my case:
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Notice it fits perfectly too! Both of my 800rpm Scythe Slipstream fans cover almost the entire length of my GPU.

Now for the most important part - temperatures and noise level. Sorry I don't have anything to objectively read the noise levels, but I can tell you the differences is dramatic.

Here is some approximate (+ - 2C) temperature readings using Speedfan:

Idling 20% fan speed of GPU:
GPU only: 55C
With fans @300rpm: 45C

Noise Level wise, they are both the same. But notice temps drop a dramatic 10C!

Max Load:
GPU only: 72C
With fans @800rpm: 63C

Again, we see almost a 10C difference! Because of the custom fan curve set for my GPU, noise levels were similar, but the cooling is very different. In both tests, my GPU can run under 20dB, but when playing games for long periods of time, the GPU gets much hotter so the fan do kick up and get loud.

By using this cheap, yet very effective method, you can cool a GPU dramatically yet keep noise down. This is a MUST do if your case has enough room!

My mirrored thread on OCN to see pics better: http://www.overclock.net/t/1355164/ohhgouramis-gpu-pci-fan-mod


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 Post subject: Re: Quietly cool your GPU using PCI!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 708
Location: Denmark
Very nice! And good to know that a PCI fan mount can be purchased on eBay. Also good to know that those fans have such a significant effect on temperature.

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 Post subject: Re: Quietly cool your GPU using PCI!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1195
Location: UK
You would be better off removing the stock fans and shroud from the graphics card entirely and then placing these 2 fans on the graphics card directly. As it is you're pushing air towards the stock fans which are likely to be one of the noisiest components even if they can spin slower given the increased airflow.

Also I notice the pictures show an open case. Was the case closed for testing?

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 Post subject: Re: Quietly cool your GPU using PCI!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:14 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 640
Location: Germany
You have 72° C at load and stock fans.
You have even less at mod-fan.

GPUs are running solidly up into the 90° C range, so i can't see what use it has to have even lower temps IF it doesn't reduce noise drastically.

Since cool enough stays cool enough.

Given the additional room needed for the fan bracket, i could easily install the biggest 3rd party GPU cooler around. I fail to see any real advantage of a PCI fan bracket.


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 Post subject: Re: Quietly cool your GPU using PCI!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:58 am
Posts: 28
Case was only open for taking pictures :)

Maybe I should redo the results for temps since it was a quick 5 minute Heaven bench run to gather results. When I'm gaming though, my GPU gets a lot hotter reaching up to probably 80C. It really depends on the fan curve someone sets when it comes to optimizing noise to cooling. My GPU is already set pretty well to optimizing cooling, but you can hear the obvious noise of fans kicking up once certain temperatures are reach which does get annoying after awhile. By mounting fans underneath, it keeps the temps low enough so that doesn't have to happen. Remember, there is a lot of variation since different GPUs may run hotter and much noisier than mine, so this mod could have a larger effect.

In regards to removing the shroud and purely using those fans instead, it is a possible solution. From experience though, two lower rpm fans will push as much are as one fan at a higher rpm, and since noise is not additive you get a significant reduction in noise. This method sure is better than having to spend $80 on a Thermalright Shaman, which might not mount properly.


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 Post subject: Re: Quietly cool your GPU using PCI!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:47 am
Posts: 429
Location: Bratislava, Slovak Republic
FYI there is a "more professional" product - Prolimatech FMK-01 :
http://www.prolimatech.com/en/products/ ... 987&page=1
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/ ... s_id=32839

It's the fan holder for the MK-13, sold separately.


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 Post subject: Re: Quietly cool your GPU using PCI!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1195
Location: UK
ohhgourami wrote:
From experience though, two lower rpm fans will push as much are as one fan at a higher rpm, and since noise is not additive you get a significant reduction in noise.

No, I was talking about using both 120mm fans strapped to the standard heatsink minus the shroud. This will definitely be cooler and quieter as they will each shift much more air at lower RPMs. The standard fans tend to be very thin and therefore aren't so efficient noise wise. Oh and sound can be additive if you use 2 fans.

You can get an adaptor cable for running a PWN fan off a graphics card header:
http://www.specialtech.co.uk/spshop/cus ... 13442.html

Then bridge from PWM-DC with another adaptor and if need be split the connection for 2 120mm fans and you have a much better solution.

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 Post subject: Re: Quietly cool your GPU using PCI!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2005 11:44 pm
Posts: 165
Location: London
I would question the use of 120mm fans on a graphic card as they are wider than the card its self, wouldn't a better use for them be to try and increase the cool air being directed at the card ?

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