Necessity is the Motherhood of Invention. Or, How I Cooled a Video Card

A few months ago, I began to notice that my video card was getting very, very hot when put under a load.  The temperature was a good 25 degrees Celsius above what it was when I first got a hold of it.  After a little bit of troubleshooting, I determined that one of the two fans on the video card was dead, and the other was quite sluggish and almost dead.  And so begins our story…

 

My video card is an MSI N465GTX Twin Frozr II Golden Edition that I purchased used off of eBay some time ago.

 

Here is a photo for reference:

MSI N465GTX Twin Frozr II Golden Edition

 

Anyway, I had a choice of replacing the video card, or repairing it.  After a little bit of dismantling, I found a model # for the fans that were dying, and found a bunch on eBay for a total of $25.  This compared to the $150 or more I would spend on a new video card.  So I decided to go on the repair route… but… unfortunately… the fans had to ship from China, and took more than two weeks to arrive.  And I deemed it unacceptable to live without a desktop for those two weeks.  So, I jury rigged a cooling system.

 

 

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That is a spare 120mm x 120mm case fan I had lying about connected to an air guide contraption made of 2 sheets of heavy duty card stock paper and tape, and sitting on a cardboard box of perfect height.  This hastily built creation, which I have dubbed Frankenfan, was shockingly effective.  In fact, this cooled my video cards, under load, to about 10 degrees Celsius cooler than it was with fully functioning fans, and was significantly quieter.  I was so impressed with this, that I began to design a quick and dirty 3D model of a better, permanent equivalent that I could have printed on a 3D printer, but about half-way through, I determined that it would cost about $80, and require too much time, so I scrapped the idea.

And so, I lived with Frankenfan for two and half weeks until the fans arrived.  I then got to take apart the video card, remove the old fans, put in the new fans, and then reassemble everything.  I, once again, have a fully functioning video card that is as good as… used (not new because I bought it used).

 

The fan replacement process:

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