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 Post subject: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:56 pm 
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Hello! I've been lurking around here since 2006 and SPCR has become my first choice for reference on near anything involving PCs as, like the rest of you, I hate noise. Thanks so much for the years of help, I would probably be lost without you guys and blown hundreds of dollars on silencing gimmicks. Anyway, I finally found a reason to register an account here...

Recently on performance PC boards a new mod has popped up simply referred to as "The Mod." One user, I'm not sure who was first, decided to take an AIO watercooling kit (Asetek's lines for Antec and Corsair are most commonly used) and apply it to his GPU using zip-ties. Now there are probably thousands who have performed "The Mod" and a few people producing brackets to make installation cleaner and easier.

How did a mod get to hold the title of "The Mod?" The answer is in the results of this mod - most users saw around a ~30 drop in temperatures, whether they had lapped the heatsink or removed the GPUs IHS or not. This means that you don't need a superloud blower fan at all to cool your GPU - the only thing you need to worry about are the VRMs, which can be resolved with very good airflow or a small fan running at a low speed (the reference cooler will adequately cool the VRMs at around 40% with my GTX 470s at full load). The stock heat plate, fan, and shroud can all still be used and there are a few artisans producing brackets to ease installation, including a bracket with a 92mm fan attachment for non-reference cards without an impeller style fan. Moreover, I found installation to be easier than any CPU heatsink I've installed and other user's suggest having an easier time (and better results) then they did with their aftermarket GPU coolers.

Now I know the preferred GPU here will always be the passive one, and that watercooling is generally frowned upon here due to additional noise from a pump, but for user's who own or need a high end GPU that can only be passively cooled by a $100 three to five slot cooler and otherwise produce as much as 70db with the reference fan this seems like just the ticket - I'm surprised there has been no discussion on these boards (would be really interesting to see a review too :)).

So, have any of you tried "The Mod"? Any thoughts?

Will post later with pics of my own Mod on two GTX 470s in SLI...

Some more info:
Overclock.net's Nvidia "The Mod" Club - where I first learned about "The Mod"
SPCR's review of the Kuhler 620 - the AIO watercooler of choice for "The Mod," often available for ~$50

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:53 am 
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Usually a gpu needs cooling on many more parts besides the gpu die. By using "The Mod" you run the risk that a not so well cooled vrm blows and your whole card joins all that's broken and gone.

If i had the money or a gpu to waste, I'd eventually give it a try.

€: You just swap the places of some fans, but they are still needed, so noisewise you might end up with no advantage.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:47 am 
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With all due respect, have you visited the thread I linked to? Did you miss the parts about keeping the stock heat plate and fan?

I understand people's reservations about doing something so unorthodox to what is often the most expensive component in their system but I feel these reservations are unfounded. The risks of AIO watercolors have been reduced to virtually 0 and this mod requires less modification to the GPU than most aftermarket air coolers, all the while being easier to install than those coolers and CPU heatsinks IMO.

People have been doing this for about a year now with hot, high end cards. I've been running two GTX 470s in SLI, notorious for their heat, power consumption and, like all reference cards, noise, for four months and haven't encountered any issues, including when running Furmark (not more than 15 minutes as Furmark will blow almost every card) or BF3 with all settings maxed on a single 1920x1080 setup. To my knowledge there hasn't been a single user who has made a disastrous mistake while performing the mod nor anyone who has blown their card/a VRM afterwards.

Regarding price/wasting a GPU:
An AIO watercolor like the Kuhler 620 or Corsair H50/H60 can be found as low as $40 on sale, regularly at $50 on sale, and $60 at retail. This is a lower price than most aftermarket air coolers. A bracket can be purchased for ~$12 for those who desire a more finished look.
This mod requires no modification to your GPU - all you have to do is remove the stock shroud (clipped on) and heatsink (four screws in most cases) and you're done. This is actually less than you have to do for most aftermarket air coolers, many of which do require you to void your warranty in exchange for their own lesser warranty that will often not cover the cost of higher end GPUs.

To address your VRM concerns specifically:
First, with "The Mod" the GPU can be kept in stock condition - there is no actual modification done to the card. This means your warranty is still in tact. Moreover, it means the stock heatplate and stock impeller fan that came with your card remain intact and can be used to cool the VRMs like they would with a stock card, only the fan now gets to run at a significantly lower speed as it no longer has to cool the giant heatsink attached to the GPU die.
Second, as many non-reference users have done in the linked thread, heatsinks can be thermal taped on to the VRMs for about $12. For most this is adequate even without a fan, but some users (it is an overclocking forum) like to overvolt their cards, so they find the fan addition a useful precautionary measure.
Third, I've been running my 470s in SLI without a heatplate, heatsinks, or a fan for about three months now and can max out BF3 for hours. My VRM sensors have only turned off my cards when running Furmark for more than ten minutes, which, again, is a popular way of blowing VRMs and the most excessive stress test I know of for a GPU.

Regarding noise the difference is dramatic when compared to reference cards. Impeller fans are loud and not very effective. On reference cards they are pushing a ton of air routed by the shroud into a tiny space with a lot of heatsink in the way and all pushing out of the tiny slots in the bracket - as any user who owns (and makes use of) a high end GPU knows this creates the infamous jet engine sound. With my 470s the fan would reach 85% on load to keep the GPU cores below 90*. Some reviews would cite this as about 70db for the GTX 470 - that is a ton of fan noise/a lot of fans.

The delta for an air-cooled card is probably between 45*-70* on average. The delta for a watercooled card rarely hits 40*, typically floating around 30* for a non-overclocked card. This means that far less airflow is needed to cool the radiator than is needed for the heatsink. Given that the watercooled temperatures at load are typically 30* lower it looks even better for our poor overworked fans.

In my application I saw no use for additional fans, I just zip-tied the radiators onto my AP180s running at 6V (intake in my FT02) and that was plenty of airflow to keep my 470s below 60*. Currently my cards are bare naked - no heatplate, no heatsinks, no fans pointed there way - and the VRM sensor only turns them off when I try to Furmark for more than a few minutes with my fans at 6V (again, a good way to fry your card). If I run my fans at full speed I can Furmark for 15 minutes, which is actually a little longer than I could with the stock cooler (about 13 minutes). Of course I intend on reattaching the heatplate and either the stock fan or some NF-B9s I picked up once I decide which bracket to order (can't decide which fan I want!), but that's just for piece of mind I guess.

Again, I understand the skepticism, but this is quickly becoming a well-established cooling method and the results speaks for themselves. Actually, Asetek, Thermaltake, and Silverstone have all been producing these sort of products for years (Silverstone's passive external solution looked especially nice), but given that they cost almost as much as a full custom loop they didn't find much space to compete. I really wish I had used my phone to measure the sound before and after but I thought of it too late :/. Will post some "after" results later today though.

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Last edited by claes on Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:37 pm 
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This is new to me, but I do recall wondering why Asetek didn't produce any adapters for GPUs, as it seems so easy -- as you and others with "the mod" have clearly demonstrated. We've just finished updating our video card and cooler test platform & will have to give "the mod" a carefully documented try with a hot video card. Thank you for the detailed post & links, claes.

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:12 pm 
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This is a great mod. I was thinking about this myself a while ago, but didn't actually think just zip-tying the cooler to the GPU would work. Now there is a dude on overclock.net called Dwood who is selling brackets for the Antec Kühler at very reasonable prices, 5$ for a simple version, 8$ or so for a version that can also hold a fan to cool the VRMs.

By the way, why does it work? The zip-tying. With CPU heatsinks, we know that crappy mounting mechanisms can ruin the performance greatly. Here, people zip-tie the block, which should rank amongst the worst mounting mechanisms out there. And the card hangs upside down, worst case scenario. And still, the GPUs of those guys run cooler with the Antec Kühler than their CPUs. An overclocked Core i7-2600k doesn't draw nearly as much power than a GTX 480, even subtracting a few watts for VRAM and board circuitry. Why do CPUs still appear to run hotter?


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:21 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
This is new to me, but I do recall wondering why Asetek didn't produce any adapters for GPUs, as it seems so easy -- as you and others with "the mod" have clearly demonstrated. We've just finished updating our video card and cooler test platform & will have to give "the mod" a carefully documented try with a hot video card. Thank you for the detailed post & links, claes.
You're welcome! I'm really excited to see "the mod" get put through SPCRs paces :).
You might have noticed Arctic's recently launched Accelero Hybrid, basically "The Mod" with a very nice bracket and fan attachment, but at 3x the cost and with an apparently cumbersome installation it seems a little too niche - might as well consider a custom loop at that price. Asetek also has two other solutions but I've yet to see them on the market - maybe they're used by Alienware or a boutique?
tim851 wrote:
By the way, why does it work? The zip-tying. With CPU heatsinks, we know that crappy mounting mechanisms can ruin the performance greatly. Here, people zip-tie the block, which should rank amongst the worst mounting mechanisms out there. And the card hangs upside down, worst case scenario. And still, the GPUs of those guys run cooler with the Antec Kühler than their CPUs. An overclocked Core i7-2600k doesn't draw nearly as much power than a GTX 480, even subtracting a few watts for VRAM and board circuitry. Why do CPUs still appear to run hotter?
Most zip-ties claim to handle about 18lbs before they snap, so they're strong enough to maintain the pressure needed to get a decent seal between the heat plate and the GPU die (the thermal paste definitely helps too), but they are definitely not desirable. Lots of users report their zip-ties stretching over time due to the pressure and heat. The brackets made by Dwood and CHModLabs (at overclock.net) are definitely preferable.

My understanding is that heatsinks perform better on GPUs than CPUs due to the increased die size - because GPUs are so much larger they offer greater contact area with the heatsink/heatplate and much more space for heat to dissipate.

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Last edited by claes on Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:30 pm 
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claes wrote:
With all due respect, have you visited the thread I linked to? Did you miss the parts about keeping the stock heat plate and fan?


I read through that section, but i'm not convinced as of now.

A (spcr-like) test in a R3 or similar case with a good air cpu cooler including gpu vrm/ram temps and so on would make it easier for me to make up my mind. I can clearly see the potential of this new idea, so let's keep an open eye on any further development.

And i have to admit: The cooling problem of gpu vrms and ram existed way before "The mod", so i think if posing a problem it will be one that can be solved.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:41 pm 
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claes wrote:
My understanding is that heatsinks perform better on GPUs than CPUs due to the increased die size - because GPUs are so much larger they offer greater contact area with the heatsink/heatplate and much more space for heat to dissipate.

Another factor: Many GPU dies are "bare"; they don't have the heatspreader common to all current desktop CPUs, which usually reduces cooling efficiency of heatsinks by several degrees. The cooler block on these WC kits are flat, afaik, they don't take into account the concave contour of the CPU heatspreader. On a bare GPU die, that flatness would definitely help cooling performance. Whether GPU heatspreaders are also concave, I don't know; haven't seen any.

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:08 am 
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MikeC wrote:
claes wrote:
My understanding is that heatsinks perform better on GPUs than CPUs due to the increased die size - because GPUs are so much larger they offer greater contact area with the heatsink/heatplate and much more space for heat to dissipate.

Another factor: Many GPU dies are "bare"; they don't have the heatspreader common to all current desktop CPUs, which usually reduces cooling efficiency of heatsinks by several degrees. The cooler block on these WC kits are flat, afaik, they don't take into account the concave contour of the CPU heatspreader. On a bare GPU die, that flatness would definitely help cooling performance. Whether GPU heatspreaders are also concave, I don't know; haven't seen any.


I am sooo looking forward to a review. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:34 am 
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Arctic has an aftermarket kit, no need for zip-ties:
Accelero Hybrid
Hybrid 7970
More expensive than mod atm, but Arctic prices usually drop quickly.

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:16 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
claes wrote:
My understanding is that heatsinks perform better on GPUs than CPUs due to the increased die size - because GPUs are so much larger they offer greater contact area with the heatsink/heatplate and much more space for heat to dissipate.

Another factor: Many GPU dies are "bare"; they don't have the heatspreader common to all current desktop CPUs, which usually reduces cooling efficiency of heatsinks by several degrees. The cooler block on these WC kits are flat, afaik, they don't take into account the concave contour of the CPU heatspreader. On a bare GPU die, that flatness would definitely help cooling performance. Whether GPU heatspreaders are also concave, I don't know; haven't seen any.

Actually, at least in the case of Antec's Kuhlers, the heat plate is concave. A lot of users are lapping the heatplate for this reason, with some users removing the IHS on the GPU die for those that have them, a process that is not for the faint of heart (hammer + razor to your GPU), but does shave a few degrees of temperatures. My 470s have IHSs - wish I remembered their shape...

Oh, and further research shows that those Asetek solutions are sold to PNY. Probably should have been posting links to these products throughout the thread...

Edit: added links to previous posts for those who are curious :)
Edit two: I said I'd be posting some pictures and noise comparisons but I'm still experimenting with fans to determine what bracket I'll be using. I can post my initial installation if you guys would like, but there should be plenty at the overclock.net thread.

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:14 pm 
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I had started the NVIDIA group at the urge of another fellow modder. I can attest to the performance of such mod and have been using on three GTX 480's for close to a year. See here for my worklog: http://www.overclock.net/t/1140299/gtx-480-sli-antec-620s-mod/0_20 I had cracked off the IHS, lapped the Kuhler cold plate and mounted using IC7. Works like a charm!

There has always been a concern over the VRM cooling. DWOOD makes a fantastic and cheap bracket that accommodates a fan to cool them as well. I have great airflow over my cards viia several fans so im not too concerned. They are all controlled via a fan controller and adjust when needed.

FYI there is also a AMD GPU Mod group as well. http://www.overclock.net/t/1203636/official-amd-ati-gpu-mod-club-aka-the-red-mod/0_20


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Also the main reason I attempted the mod was for silence. I couldn't stand the noise from two GTX 480's when gaming, etc. Now its near silent, so my objective was achieved.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Hi all, first post here.

Followed the link from OCN to your fine site here and reading the discussions regarding The Mod. Ive always want to have a review of The Mod against other cooling methods. There is alot of reference and data in The Mod thread but no real tests which pit one cooling solution to another. I look forward to the results too.

I just wanted to touch on what claes has mentioned and wanted to highlight some basic points regarding The Mod for those looking to try this.
**Modding can destroy your card*** fair warning****

Its almost silent
Can be cheap to do and takes little time. (1h for zippys, Dwoods bracket even less)
Cards can drop 20c from idle and 40c off load temps (depending on cards of course)
NON DESTRUCTIVE- everything can be returned to stock for RMA reasons
*dont do this for a better OC alone, your chip will dictate your OC not this. Your chip will let you down before temps ever become an issue. Most see an oc but dont think this is a LN2 replacement.
Cools cards better than any stock cooler could.

The Mod is for silence and cool running first. It works on all cards both ATI and Nvidia. Antec 620s/920s along with Corsair H50,40.60,70,80 and H100 coolers. You still need cooling for the pcb components but that can be done by keeping the stock shroud with fans or an aftermarket fan blowing onto the pcb. You have to be creative at times as there are so many cards and so many cases not every configuration has been tried. You may find your buildlog may be the first for that setup. I perfer the zipstraps myself, for me this was always a simple stupid mod and also need to be as cheap as possable. There are several artisan on OCN who will sell you handmade brackets for DIRT CHEAP. You can use them also, they are wonderfull and recive glowing reviews.
There have been a few deaths from The Mod. One ATI card the chip (no IHS) chipped on the corner while performing the mod also an nvidia card where the pcb was scrached which caused shorting. Im sure others have had issues but consitering how many cards have been done its an acceptable percentage. The mod did not cause the damage, it was during application which damage was done. If care is taken as it should be with any mod then these poor cards would still be working imo, still its sad to hear.
There are a few companys making these types of coolers now and they are amost exactly, in fuction, to what the mod is. Its crazy to see its taken this long really. I hope to see many of these coolers coming to market.

My experiences

Ive been running The Mod on my Asus Matrix Platinum 580gtx for a long time now, probably longer than anyone else to date. Before this i had the same H70 used for my 580gtx on a zotac 560ti. I started doing this about a year and a half ago after reading Yellowbeards build log. Yellowbeard is the first i know of to try this and posted a great buildlog on Corsair forums. The problem with Yellowbeards method is that it required powertools, glue, time and it required you to damage your corsair mounting brackets. For most peeps this is not acceptable and nor practical. That said his results were amazing. Very cool and very quiet. The person who came up with the zipstraps idea should be given an award... honestly. If I could remember the users name id give it but that thread has died a long time ago and im unable to find it again to give proper credit. What this smart individiual did was make putting a closed loop cooler on a gpu as simple as breathing. Now without damaging or destroying any parts you can watercool your gpu for $40 (onsale). I like the idea because its just so stupid simple. My first card took about ... well along time, there were no build logs for this back then. I almost crapped myself the first time i turned it on. I can say what my lows are cause you wont beleave me anyways, ill post a pic of my average low on the 580gtx. Its not the lowest temp though but i got tired of pulling out the cam everytime a new low record happened.

1.293v @1056core =68c (No software voltage mods, voltage increase via buttons on the card, its a feature on this card)

My zotac 560ti had no cooling other than the H70. At that time i didnt know better so that is how i ran the card.

Image
_IGP9527 by cravinmild, on Flickr
Image
H70 by cravinmild, on FlickrImage
560ti oc by cravinmild, on Flickr

Here is a $600 gpu prior to the mod

Image
580 by cravinmild, on Flickr

And after

Image
IMGP0339 by cravinmild, on Flickr

Read the thread on OCN if your interested. There is much more info and results such as mine. Ill never go back to stock cooling. My ram fan is the loudest thing in my machine. My gpu runs cooler than my oc I7 2700.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:38 pm 
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It is ideal to retain the exsisting cooling fans for VRM's. If not then another fan should be used for cooling. There's quite a few chaps who were able to retain the stock shroud like cravenmild. For the record he wa my inspiration to tear into my 480's.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:26 pm 
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I've been running "The Mod" (via a dwood bracket) for a few weeks now on my MSI 670 (reference PCB). Mostly did it for the reduction in noise, as the reference 670 fan has a particularly grating growl. Used the bracket along with an Antec H20 620, with the 620 radiator mounted internally on the rear exhaust of my P183. Top core temperature on the 670 is 52 celcius with the 620 pump running at 1300rpm (according to the fan header), which is better than the stock sink was managing, and the large stock VRM heatsink is only just warm enough that it's uncomfortable to touch, so probably on the order of 45-50c on the heatsink. I'm happy :).

Edit : coupl've pics. The 670 reference PCB is so darn cute that you can run the tubing over the front and along the back of the card - makes for a very neat install!

Image


Image

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:13 pm 
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Watching those pictures, I seriously doubt that any of those Mod-users ever heard the irritating noise of the water pump because the other 3-6 running fans could create a base noise level not suited for spcr.

And for me there's another question rising: Except for higher OC potential "the mod" doesn't do anything for me, if i picked a gpu with a reasonable quiet aftermarket cooling solution in the first place.

Where "The mod" comes shining is dual gpu, but that isn't a widely common setup with spcr.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:28 am 
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Everyone has their own idea of quiet :) I went for the "several quiet fans" rather than "one or two loud fans" method of cooling, which has been shown to be just as valid. My case fans are all 1200rpm Slipstreams running from a fan controller set to ~50%, while the two CPU fans are Nexus PWM models (which aren't great, but were the only PWM fans I could find locally at the time, and my motherboard is picky about controlling 3-pins).

Pump was noisy to start with, but settled down after a few minutes. A lot of it depends where the radiator is - if it's at level or below the pump, the small amount of air trapped in the system can get through the pump, making it buzz and growl. I used to have the radiator on the front intake of my P183, and the pump was often noisy just after I'd moved the machine. Moving the radiator to the upper exhaust mount has solved that problem (unless I go turning the PC upside down ...) :)

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Pappnaas wrote:
Watching those pictures, I seriously doubt that any of those Mod-users ever heard the irritating noise of the water pump because the other 3-6 running fans could create a base noise level not suited for spcr.
I strongly disagree! Here I'll post my (really bad iphone) pics since my words were missed :). Might also reference you to the link to SPCRs review of the pump in the OP where the 620 pump doesn't break 16db at 12V...

Reference 470 w/ shroud removed
Image

And heatsink - notice the lack of VRM cooling other than the heat plate.
Image

Kuhler 620 mounted... I had to remove the heatplate because I couldn't find zip-ties that would fit through the screw holes - they were 0.02mm thinner than the PCB's screw holes... AFAIK this is only a problem with the GTX 470 and GTX 465se/gold cards (the other 470). Dwood made his first bracket specifically for his GTX 470, so I'll be able to put the heatplate back on once I order.
Image

And installed in my FT02 (thanks for the suggestion SPCR!) - I later removed the Antec fans on the radiators as I found my AP180s were plenty to cool them, leading to a total of four case fans (3x AP180 and 1x AP120), all running at 6v, and two CPU heatsink fans (NH-U12 SE2, 2x NF-P12), controlled with a minimum speed of 12.5% and ULNA (5v) adapters installed. My PSU is a Seasonic S12D 850 if you were wondering - the fan rarely turns on. It's not silent, but it's certainly quiet.
Image

Close up of one of the radiators on an AP180 - again, I removed that second Antec fan (the one on top) from both radiators.
Image

The pump is quieter than my card was at stock, even when idling (fan at 30%) - compared side by side and outside of the case with all case fans off (I tested "The Mod" with one card initially to see if it was worth pursuing). Although SPCRs review suggests there's no issue with running the pump at a lower voltage, I run it at 12V, yet it's still quieter than my exhaust fan at 6V when the pump is inside the case and the case is closed - it is inaudible in my system. My goal was quiet and I got it :)

Pappnaas wrote:
And for me there's another question rising: Except for higher OC potential "the mod" doesn't do anything for me, if i picked a gpu with a reasonable quiet aftermarket cooling solution in the first place.
In my case I had no interest in overclocking, I just wanted to be able to play games and edit videos without a jet engine going off. Again, I did this mod to reduce noise, not for any performance reasons. After comparing "The Mod" with aftermarket air coolers (Zalman, Arctic, DCII, TwinFrozrIII... I even considered downgrading to MSI's Cyclone 460 in SLI) the choice was clear for me - even with a nice aftermarket air solution the card would still approach 50db - air cooling just does not cut it when it comes to silence on a high end GPU.

So, yes, "The Mod" has no place at SPCR for those who can get by on a Radeon 6450, a GT 440 or a million three generation old passive cards, but those cards are no good for an A/V professional or a gamer (or other applications), and it doesn't make sense for the user who can afford and has space for a passive cooler that takes up 5 slots, but that's a pretty small demographic. For those that need a performance video card water is better than air. For those that don't, there are a million passive solutions that produce nothing but electrical noise and are much closer to "silent."

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FT02W | 3x AP180 | 1x NF-S12B | NH-U12 SE2, 2x NF-P12 | Seasonic S12D 850 | MSI P55-GD80 | i5-760 3.8ghz + turbo | GTX 470 SLI + "The Mod" Kuhler 620 - NF-P12, NF-B9 X2 | 8GB Ripjaws X DDR3 1600 c8 | 2x 64GB SSD | 1TB SpinPoint F3 | CM Spawn | CM QuickFire Rapid (MX Brown) | ASUS VW246H + Neo-Flex| Sennheiser HD280


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:59 am 
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Posts: 11
Just wanted to add my 2c here. I performed this on my son's 560ti in his SG05 case with the radiator placed in the traditional SG05 location with a push/pull arrangement. It went from having 4 fans in the case to 5 but the overall result is a large reduction in load noise at the expense of a slight increase in idle noise due exclusively to the addition of the stock Silverstone fan running as the pull fan. When this is undervolted (like I did with the 80mm VRM fan), idle noise should be at least as low as before if not lower. For anyone with a halfway powerful GPU, this mod really is an excellent and inexpensive (cost $45 for Antec 620 + small Zalman fan for VRMs) way to reduce load noise. The stock Antec fan is fairly noisy under load so I would avoid using it personally but its not bad when undervolted.

I haven't tried OCing the GPU yet but temps have reduced from mid-80s under load (depending on fan profile) to high 40s. Idles at ambient +3. I consider this merely to be a side benefit. The CPU temp rose only 2 degrees when under combined load, btw.

EDIT: Asetek now sell a combined CPU/GPU dual block cooler with a 49mm thick rad on ebay.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Posts: 46
Hey, just thought I'd post and update. Moved around my radiators and replaced some fans, so here is my current setup to give you guys an idea of how loud it is.

Intake fans - 3x AP181s at ~10V (using Noctua's LNA adapter)
CPU - NH-U12 SE2 w/ 2x NF-P12 ~7V (ULNA adapters) - Core i5 760 at 3.4Ghz + turbo
2x GPUs - 2x NF-B9 at ~ 7V (ULNA adapter) - Attached to two reference GTX 470s, super loud cards, stock clocks
5" Bay Radiator - NF-P12 at ~10V (LNA adapter) controlled by SpeedFan, radiator for 2nd GPU
Exhaust/Radiator - NF-S12 FLX controlled by SpeedFan, radiator for 1st GPU


Reviews of all of these fans can be found on SPCR, all considered quiet at their voltages. The GPU fans, the exhaust fan, and the 5" Rad fan are all controlled by SpeedFan.

So, a lot of heat and too many fans, but...

At idle: Can't hear the pumps over the fan noise. Pretty clean whoosh - most of the noise is coming from the AP181s.
CPU - 2x NF-P12 at 989 RPM
GPUs - 2X NF-B9 at 0 RPM - SpeedFan turns them on as the GPU heats up
5" Radiator - NF-P12 at 470 RPM
Exhaust - NF-S12 FLX at 522 RPM

On load: Whoosh but not intrusive IMO. Can hear some electrical whining and one of the pumps becomes noticeable. These measurements were taken 15 minutes into a Furmark session.
CPU - 2x NF-P12 at 989 RPM :)
GPUs - 2X NF-B9 at ~1100 RPM - SpeedFan turns them on as the GPU heats up
5" Radiator - NF-P12 at 1050 RPM
Exhaust - NF-S12 FLX at 1360 RPM

If anyone has suggestion as to how I could do better I would sure appreciate it. I was thinking of moving the pumps onto a motherboard header and having SpeedFan control them as well but I'm not sure that'll do anything to decrease electrical noise.

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FT02W | 3x AP180 | 1x NF-S12B | NH-U12 SE2, 2x NF-P12 | Seasonic S12D 850 | MSI P55-GD80 | i5-760 3.8ghz + turbo | GTX 470 SLI + "The Mod" Kuhler 620 - NF-P12, NF-B9 X2 | 8GB Ripjaws X DDR3 1600 c8 | 2x 64GB SSD | 1TB SpinPoint F3 | CM Spawn | CM QuickFire Rapid (MX Brown) | ASUS VW246H + Neo-Flex| Sennheiser HD280


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:32 am 
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Location: UK
Why do you need the additional 92mm fans on the graphics cards? If 'the mod' is/was sufficient to cool the GPU then what are you using this for? If it is to cool the VRMs and RAM in line with the earlier concerns, why not cut up the original GPU cooler to cover the appropriate parts of the card. Then you would be able to jettison these 2 fans.

Rather than using Speedfan to control the GPU radiator pumps and fans I would be tempted to mod (or buy a cable) to connect the fans and pumps to the fan headers on the graphics cards. Then the graphics cards card would control it in firmware with a better level of control.

Or just replace the 2 GTX470s with a single modern card that can be run near passively on a third of the wattage...

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:55 am 
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Location: Gefle, Sweden
People put quite a bit of faith into zip ties.

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:03 pm 
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Posts: 46
edh wrote:
Why do you need the additional 92mm fans on the graphics cards? If 'the mod' is/was sufficient to cool the GPU then what are you using this for? If it is to cool the VRMs and RAM in line with the earlier concerns,
It is,
Quote:
why not cut up the original GPU cooler to cover the appropriate parts of the card. Then you would be able to jettison these 2 fans.
I assume you mean the heatsink itself - so I can resell them with both the Kuhler's and the original heatsinks and buy a new modern card next year (GTX 770 here I come).
I do have the stock heatplates on and might end up removing the fans as the heatplates and my intake fans will probably cool the VRMs and VRAM well enough. For now I don't have the fans spin-up until the cards reach 60*, and then they only hit 100% at 90* (where my max temp while running Furmark with fans at quiet speeds is 84*, high-50's low-60's while gaming). Guess I should've mentioned that my current max temp with fans at 12V/100%/No adapters or speed control is 63*.
Quote:
Rather than using Speedfan to control the GPU radiator pumps and fans I would be tempted to mod (or buy a cable) to connect the fans and pumps to the fan headers on the graphics cards. Then the graphics cards card would control it in firmware with a better level of control.
The only problem here is that I'll have to keep both the fan and the pump at at least 50* to keep the pump running (so my cards don't explode). Although having the pumps and the fans on separate lines is messy it allows me to keep the pumps at 50% until the GPUs start to warm up (50* to 60*) while the fans can stay slow until the GPUs really start to get hot - the 5" rad fan doesn't even spin-up until 45*, the exhaust fan doesn't hit 100% until 65*.
Quote:
Or just replace the 2 GTX470s with a single modern card that can be run near passively on a third of the wattage...
One day :) But I will probably "mod" that guy too if it's as loud as the GTX 670 (or I might have to move to water cooling :cry: ) - hopefully this next generation will approach quiet on load or maybe Asetek will have better pumps by then.

mkk wrote:
People put quite a bit of faith into zip ties.
Actually I'm using this fancy bracket: http://triptcc.com/product/fan-bracket/

One thing I have been considering is modding the Intel bracket that came with the Kuhler to fit my GPUs, cut the shrouds to fit the pumps and then cover the pump heads and the insides of the shrouds with dampening foam, putting the stock fans back on, but everything I know about audio (little-to-none in terms of electrical noise) suggests that the results probably won't be worth the effort. It would look a lot nicer though and clean-up the airflow quite a bit. I feel really bad for disturbing what was once excellent airflow.

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FT02W | 3x AP180 | 1x NF-S12B | NH-U12 SE2, 2x NF-P12 | Seasonic S12D 850 | MSI P55-GD80 | i5-760 3.8ghz + turbo | GTX 470 SLI + "The Mod" Kuhler 620 - NF-P12, NF-B9 X2 | 8GB Ripjaws X DDR3 1600 c8 | 2x 64GB SSD | 1TB SpinPoint F3 | CM Spawn | CM QuickFire Rapid (MX Brown) | ASUS VW246H + Neo-Flex| Sennheiser HD280


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:15 pm 
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mkk wrote:
People put quite a bit of faith into zip ties.

like the police, military and homeland security?


id trust zip ties over some of the feeble, greasy rubber nipples some fans come with....

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Posts: 1371
I am now toying with the idea of doing this mod to my 7970. If I ever complete it I'll probably make a thread here. I've bought three CLC's, Thermaltake Water 2.0 (240mm radiator version), Antec 620, and Corsair H100i. A word of warning to fellow SPCR'ers: I have had to return Thermaltake and Antec units, both of which have Asetek pumps, because they are freakishly loud. You don't have to go far to search for it, there are plenty of youtube videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzxfyXu3kvM

That is exactly what both of my asetek pumps that I returned sounded like. What's worse is that they got even louder, both of them, when I flipped them upside down to simulate video card mount. I have tried running them for 24 hours hoping for noise to go away, I have flicked the cables and the pump thinking it might be air bubbles stuck inside the pump, at all times the radiator were positioned properly above the pump with hoses down. Nothing helped. So I got two duds out of two, if you read other forums there are people who got 4 duds in a row. If anyone is thinking about doing this mod, I would advise to avoid asetek based units.

My H100i on the other hand is a lot quieter. There is a certain hum emanating from the pump, and strangely enough some of this pump actually transfers to the radiator, meaning if I put radiator on top of the case, it will "sing", but that should be easily solvable by softmounting the radiator, and the pump itself is nearly silent, at least compared to the asetek units.

Bottom line, I know Antec 620 is cheap, but I would advise SPCR'ers to avoid asetek units, I got two loud ones, a dude on overclock.net got 4 loud ones, the youtube is full of rattling pumps. I wouldn't take the chance.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Posts: 46
That noise is frightening, lucky mine don't but they're certainly not spcr quiet, particularly at 12V

P.S. The Corsair H80i and H100i are the only pumps in their line that aren't Asetek units. Too bad about the Thermaltake, supposedly the pump's voltage was increased to make it quieter.

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FT02W | 3x AP180 | 1x NF-S12B | NH-U12 SE2, 2x NF-P12 | Seasonic S12D 850 | MSI P55-GD80 | i5-760 3.8ghz + turbo | GTX 470 SLI + "The Mod" Kuhler 620 - NF-P12, NF-B9 X2 | 8GB Ripjaws X DDR3 1600 c8 | 2x 64GB SSD | 1TB SpinPoint F3 | CM Spawn | CM QuickFire Rapid (MX Brown) | ASUS VW246H + Neo-Flex| Sennheiser HD280


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:47 pm 
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Posts: 1371
I've googled/researched the hell out of these pumps and I have read reports about H80/H100 that said H80/H100 pumps were sensitive to even the slightest overvoltage on the 12V line. So as part of my testing I have hooked up all three pumps to a fan controller and tried downvolting them. And yes, it quieted down all three pumps a little bit, but it did not get rid of the rattling noise on the asetek units. They were still too loud. So I still wouldn't recommend asetek units to SPCR'ers.

As far as I know, H80/H100/H80i/H100i (basically square shaped pumps) all have CoolIT pumps. From what I remember reading on overclock.net corsair rep has said that they worked with CoolIT to slightly redesign H80i/H100i pumps to make them quieter.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1323904/cl-c ... lers/0_100

I guess Corsair rep wasn't kidding, because H100i has none of the rattling noise that Asetek pumps I had exhibited.


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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Posts: 46
It'd be really interesting to see a round-up of all of these products. From my reading, the Antec line is Asetek's second generation, the Thermaltake line is Asetek's third generation and the NZXT line is Asetek's fourth generation. They also have their OEM products available on Ebay, including a combo CPU+GPU cooler, but I can't find a single review on that. We know the old Coolit and Asetek pumps tick, but how about the newest ones? Moreover, the CM Eisberg uses Alphacool (and will supposedly be modular) - too many options!

P.S. Both of my Kuhler 620s are quieter than my fans at anything below ~8V and start to rattle around 11V. Weird or just really bad quality control? I'm not trying to contest here - I am confident the newest generations are quieter than the really old pumps I'm using :p

P.P.S. Just checked Antec's site and now they have a "V4" 620 and 920... Can't imagine it just being a bracket update and the specs/UPC are the same...

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 Post subject: Re: High End GPUs and "The Mod"
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:22 am 
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When I downvolted all 3 pumps, all three got louder when I dropped them below 7-9 volts, even the Corsair H100i. The Asetek units got significant uneven sounding rattle, at 7 volts they sounded the same as if I turned the pump upside down, and H100i got some sort of quiet-ish chirping/bubble noises that it didn't have at 12V. Below what I think was 5V all 3 pumps got quiet-ish again, but judging by pump vibrations coming from the pumps at that point they weren't pumping much water which might impede cooling efficiency too much. It seems to me like there is some sort of a voltage range around 5-9V where pumps start to misbehave.

Google search for Antec 620 v4 does not return anything useful, so I'm not sure if there is an updated version of Antec 620 or not. CM Eisebg looks extremely tall - I'd be wasting 3-4 slots below my videocard, and at this point I really do not want to be asetek guinea pig by bying NZXT unit. H100i seems to have the latest CoolIT pump and it's super quiet compared to the Asetek units I've had. It's not silent, but it is quiet enough that once it gets tucked inside the case it just might end up being inaudible. I've ordered dwood's bracket, so once my Antec P280 case gets fixed I'll be on my way to assembling new PC. It will take a while, but I hope to be done in a month or so.


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