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 Post subject: Easy Silencing of MSI NX6600GT VTD128
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 1:51 am 
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I saw Edward Ng's write-up about using an Aerocool VM-101 to cool this card, so I bought the card figuring I could quiet it later. 36 hours after ordering it on Newegg, I had the card in my hands. Heavy! That copper cooler is probably 250g. And noisy! It's not terrible, but it was totally unacceptable to me.

So, I made a quick fix that might be good enough for a lot of you silencer folks. I unscrewed the decorative plate off the top of the heatsink, unplugged the tiny fan, and wedged an 80mm Panaflo L1a into the heatsink with some rubber nubs.

Right now, the fan's running at 12V, and the heatsink is positively cold in 2D, whereas it was a bit warm with the original fan. Even without undervolting the fan, it's still quieter, and the lower-pitched sound is much less irritating than the stock fan was. I'll report back with 3D results, and my experiences with a slower fan-speed, but for now I'll just post a few pics:

Image
Image
Image

I wouldn't have tried this with the 6600GT, a card that can generate 50W, except the mass of this card's heatsink really surprised me and I thought it might be able to handle such a mod. Do all 6600GT cards come with heatsinks this heavy, or did MSI do something special?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 3:15 am 
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Okay, I did some Half-Life 2 and some Doom 3 with the fan at 12V, no problem. So I dropped it down to 5V and went back into Doom 3.

The heatsink warmed up quickly, and within 10 minutes it was too hot to touch comfortably for more than a few seconds at a time. But I kept playing, and it never got any hotter. No artifacts after 30 minutes of play time, so it gets a tentative thumbs-up from me! I'll update this with some more extensive results after a few more days of testing.

So far, my testing has been done in an open case with ambient temperatures of about 20C. A hotter ambient temperature might make this setup unsustainable.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2005 9:50 am 
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The cooler is far from stock. Were it a stock cooler, I wouldn't have even bothered with this over the XFX dual-DVI card.

That card will do fine in higher ambient temps; if you can keep your fingers on the cooler for a whole few seconds, it's not getting to the chip's threshold to instability.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 4:55 pm 
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The main heatsink on the Albatron card is 120g and the AGP bridge heatsink is 20g. It looks smaller than the MSI heatsink and is made of Aluminium.

Does the MSI heatsink cover the memory as well? Is the AGP bridge heatsink connected to the main heatsink on the MSI? How hot does it get relative to the main heatsink?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 7:02 pm 
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Does MSI supply a fan speed control and temperature reading applications? If not, are there any proggie that is compatible with this card that can control fan speed/ read temp?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 7:16 pm 
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Ian Brumby wrote:
The main heatsink on the Albatron card is 120g and the AGP bridge heatsink is 20g. It looks smaller than the MSI heatsink and is made of Aluminium.

Does the MSI heatsink cover the memory as well? Is the AGP bridge heatsink connected to the main heatsink on the MSI? How hot does it get relative to the main heatsink?

I popped off the heatsink so i could remove the original fan (before it was simply unplugged). The heatsink has a small bit of dark-gray thermal paste for the core, and some thermal pads for each of the four memory squares.

The AGP bridge heatsink is separate from the main 'sink and is attached to the card by two plastic pegs. The main heatsink is held on with the metal clamp on the back of the card. In 2D, the bridge is only warm, about the same temperature as the main heatsink. I don't know about 3D, but I'll try to give it a touch-test the next time I have a 3D app running. The bridge chip didn't get any airflow with the original fan, whereas it gets a slight breeze with the 80mm fan.

j-azn wrote:
Does MSI supply a fan speed control and temperature reading applications? If not, are there any proggie that is compatible with this card that can control fan speed/ read temp?

Since Edward Ng said there is no temperature monitoring on the MSI card, I haven't bothered to look for it. I trust Ed more than I trust myself, sometimes. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 7:30 pm 
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An update on the card's stability: I played Pirates! for a while, and after about 2 hours I started getting screen glitches. That was with the fan on 5V. With the fan at 12V, I sometimes see stray polygons. Both of these symptoms could be due to things other than heat: for one, the copy of Pirates! is borrowed from a friend, using a CD bypass hack, so the executable isn't kosher. For another, my metastable system has been giving me headaches ever since I installed the card: NMI bluescreens, failed boots, and unreadable hard disks. So the problems could be due to something other than the card. I'll do more multi-hour tests with other 3D games once I get sick of Pirates! ;)

I don't think this mod is dangerous (I'm leaving it as-is, with the fan at 5V), but if someone else cares to try it, please post your experiences with the graphics quality. destroid reports no problems with his similar mod. He uses a higher-flow fan, but the air isn't aimed directly at the card, and the heatsink appears to be of lower quality on his XFX card compared to my MSI.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2005 10:07 pm 
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Mr. Brumby, the MSI card's copper heatsink uses a thin layer of silver thermal paste for the GPU core; the memory gets really, really thick white thermal pads that, as far as I can tell, carry maybe 5-10% of the memory's heat to the sink. :lol:

The AGP bridge sink is a separate little passive piece; I was able to retain it when I installed the VM-101 to my card. I have not yet checked its temps, but I never really felt that a little chip converting signals from PCI-Ex to AGP and from AGP to PCI-Ex could get that hot. Maybe if you're going over the card's texture memory limit and have to fall back on the AGP aperture, that may happen, but few games currently do that. Perhaps it could become an issue later on...

j-azn, the card does not show up under nVIDIA's standard temperature panel (Actually, the panel itself never shows. Ever.). MSi also includes a very wonky Macromedia Flash 5-based program that seems like a relic from their GF4 series of cards that's supposed to report all sorts of stuff like the GPU temp, speed and voltage, but despite my deepest efforts for several nights in a row, I can't get it to work with the card. First few nights I spent just getting the software to not crash (involved doing some crazy stuff to my Flash plugin) and then when it worked, it received pretty much nothing from the video card, and despite my fudging with drivers of all sorts (finally fell back to trying two different MSi-released versions of the ForceWare), the stupid software just wouldn't listen to my card.

I haven't yet tried SpeedFan; I know that SpeedFan works with my XFX 6800GT in the gaming rig, but haven't yet tested it on my MSi 6600GT.

I'm not 100% sure the AGP 6600GTs can read from the on-die diode. Anyone can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on that (I've seen reports of PCI-Ex 6600GT cards reporting temp just fine in the ForceWare temp. panel).

-Ed

EDIT: It's really hard to type without erring when at the airport, on WiFi, with AIM Quick Buddy open and AcAuRoRa IMing you...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:06 am 
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The MSI NX6600GT TD128 that I have seemed to have just a tiny daub of thermal paste on the memory modules. It didn't look like it was doing anything at all.

Over the weekend, I replaced the stock cooler on the card with a Zalman ZM80D-HP heatpipe cooler. Playing HL2 for a few hours gets me a GPU temperature of 57C with an case temperature of 44C.

This seems a little warm to me. I haven't installed the ZM-OP1 fan, yet, but I'm thinking about it. I think I'll see how noisy it is.

Incidentally, installing the ZM80D-HP was fairly easy, but I found that using the recommended square heatsink base with the MSI NX6600GT seemed to result in retention arms that didn't quite reach properly. I switched to the alternate (provided) rectangular heat-sink base and it worked fine.

Quote:
j-azn, the card does not show up under nVIDIA's standard temperature panel (Actually, the panel itself never shows. Ever.).


Edward, I don't mean to contradict you, but I have a temperature panel with my install of WinXP, NX6600GT and nVidia drivers. I'll post a screenshot tonight, but I can assure you that I have read the GPU temperature at several points over the weekend. Of course, I have the NX6600GT TD128 not the VTD128, but I can't see how/why that should make a difference in terms of temperature diodes.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:13 am 
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When i get my hands on the MSI 6600GT imma give it a try and pray it works. Cause SmartDoctor worked so great with my Asus 9600XT. I could make the 9600xt ABSOLUTELY dead silent (0% fan) and ROAMING loud (100% fan) whenever I want. Theres also a SmartFan feature that controls the fan depending on the temperatures. Very nice. Hope they have one of these for the MSI in the future :D

Thx


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:10 am 
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Kozure wrote:
The MSI NX6600GT TD128 that I have seemed to have just a tiny daub of thermal paste on the memory modules. It didn't look like it was doing anything at all.

Over the weekend, I replaced the stock cooler on the card with a Zalman ZM80D-HP heatpipe cooler. Playing HL2 for a few hours gets me a GPU temperature of 57C with an case temperature of 44C.

This seems a little warm to me. I haven't installed the ZM-OP1 fan, yet, but I'm thinking about it. I think I'll see how noisy it is.

Incidentally, installing the ZM80D-HP was fairly easy, but I found that using the recommended square heatsink base with the MSI NX6600GT seemed to result in retention arms that didn't quite reach properly. I switched to the alternate (provided) rectangular heat-sink base and it worked fine.

Quote:
j-azn, the card does not show up under nVIDIA's standard temperature panel (Actually, the panel itself never shows. Ever.).


Edward, I don't mean to contradict you, but I have a temperature panel with my install of WinXP, NX6600GT and nVidia drivers. I'll post a screenshot tonight, but I can assure you that I have read the GPU temperature at several points over the weekend. Of course, I have the NX6600GT TD128 not the VTD128, but I can't see how/why that should make a difference in terms of temperature diodes.


[url=http://www.ngtechnik.com/NoTemp/NoTemp.jpg]Image
You're not contradicting me, you're merely contradicting this, while I'm agreeing with what my eyes show me.[/url]

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:35 pm 
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Well, here's what my eyes show me:

Image

nVidia drivers 66.93.

I'm really not trying to be argumentative.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:41 pm 
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I'm not either. I don't have your card and you don't have mine; as you pointed out, they're different cards, not just by model number but also by features. Something MSi did to the VIVO model seems to have made the temp. report disappear. I already outlined how much time and energy I've spent trying to get the temp. report working; I was supposed to do an actual review of the VM-101, after all--without the temp. report, that went out the window.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:50 pm 
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Further testing reveals that SpeedFan cannot read my AGP 6600GT w/VIVO, either:

Image
Temp1 is the CPU, Temp2 are the PWM and Temp3 is the northbridge.

Even if that Temp reading is supposed to be the GPU, it's obviously completely wrong, and I'm quite sure it's not the GPU anyway; on my 6800GT, SpeedFan reads both, the GPU and its supposed ambient temp and reports them both.

This really sucks.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:01 pm 
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I can confirm that, with the 66.93 drivers, temp monitoring for the VTD128 doesn't show up in the control panel or in SpeedFan.

I should announce that this card may be going in for RMA because there are some flickery/black triangle artifacts occasionally displaying, no matter if I use the stock fan or if I underclock everything. Some games show it occasionally, others rarely, still others (like 3DMark03) constantly and in the same place each time. I'll first try different drivers and a different PC before giving up on the card.

Jan. 12 UPDATE: Okay, reverting to 66.72 drivers fixed the artifacts problem. It'll take some time to get this straightened out, but for now it doesn't appear that heat was the problem.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:23 pm 
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the problem is with vsync
i get black/flashing/tearing parts of the screen.
it happens with vsync off for some reason on some driver versions. turning on vsync fixes it. sometimes causes it. it's weird.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:05 am 
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rei wrote:
the problem is with vsync
i get black/flashing/tearing parts of the screen.
it happens with vsync off for some reason on some driver versions. turning on vsync fixes it. sometimes causes it. it's weird.

I suppose it's possible that vsync is the cause of the problem, but I doubt it. The triangles I see are not flashing, they are permanent, and sometimes texture-mapped. For example, they'll appear in a 3D game and I can walk around in the map, and the odd triangle moves appropriately: it is part of the game world. The errors in 3DMark were also part of the world, for example the turtle in Mother Nature had weird spikes as shoulder pads that moved along with his flippers. I would print a screenshot, but my latest driver switch (to 67.03, from 71.22) has made that particular problem disappear.

Changing drivers ends up fixing the problems, but usually introduces an artifact elsewhere. It's probably a slight incompatibility with my motherboard... this mobo has experienced weird problems before. For example, it's incompatible with my Samsung Spinpoint hard drives (I'm using a Promise controller) and with the Netgear Fast Ethernet card.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:29 pm 
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Well it's been over a week now since my last driver switch, and I have the card running at 560/1020 speeds (~11% overclock) with no artifacts or crashes or anything, even after long gaming sessions in a hot case (no case fans, just convection cooling). The fanmate is set a bit below 8V, tested with a multimeter. I'll drop the fan to 6V and continue testing. So for prople who will be satisfied with "inaudible" rather than "silent" cooling of their video card, I think this is the way to go.


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 Post subject: What fi you don't have rubber nubs?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 6:52 pm 
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Sometimeswarrior:
Do you have a suggestion for one who does not have the rubber nubs you've used? I like your solution for its ease and cheapness :-) but I want to make sure I can secure the fan appropriately before buying the components.
TIA.


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