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Poor circulation under my graphics card. How to improve?

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June 4, 2009 8:18:57 PM

I'm using an MSI R4850 in a microATX case. The card is really huge, it's almost as wide as the case. There aren't any vents directly under the card, so there's a pocket of hot air constantly trapped under the card. This area is the hottest part of my case. Wherever I put my hand on the case, the surface actually feels cool to the touch-- except for the area underneath my video card, which feels very warm. That thing was not cheap, and I'm worried about it sucking on already-hot air. I wrote a custom script to adjust the fan every ten seconds. The script works like a champ, and the card idles at 52-57°C, which is pretty good for a Radeon HD 4850. I doubt it will fry itself.

However, the video card's fan is the loudest in the case, and it's very irritating. It's not too loud when it's idling, but when I'm gaming, the thing sounds like a jet engine. I'd love for there to be a way to keep it cool without accidentally waking the dead. Furthermore, I want to overclock my card, and I'm afraid to do that right now.

The R4850's heatsink-and-fan setup takes up an additional expansion port besides the card itself, leaving one PCI slot vacant beneath it.

I was thinking of putting a hole in the case in that spot, and mounting an intake fan on it. But is there a solution which involves less drilling of holes in my case? Also, something which involves less dust from the floor being sucked into the case?


Thanks in advance,
-Max.
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2009 8:23:14 PM

They have expansion slot coolers you could put into one of those free PCI slots and use those as an exhaust
June 4, 2009 8:25:43 PM

Hmmm...im not sure of your exact setup but there are VGA coolers that lay in a pci slot and suck air out? i believe to help cool the card...since your on the floor i obviously can't recommend this but i cool my 260 gtx with the side panel off and a single fan shooting air to the gtx's intake...same goes for my 9800gtx+ but its in a fan mount at the front...either drill some holes and use a dust filter or....i dunno
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June 4, 2009 8:41:07 PM

I dunno about an exhaust fan, wouldn't that just play tug-o-war with my graphics card fan? It points downward and sucks air upward into the heatsink. An exhaust fan would pull air downward and away from the graphics card, wouldn't it?

As for the air filter--, would that be a cheese cloth or something like that?

I just had another idea too, what about putting a "snorkel" over the vent so the air intake is higher off the floor? It would probably be pretty stupid-looking, though, and I don't know exactly how I'd make it.
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2009 8:44:55 PM

no because the air would be coming down on the exhaust fan and the exhaust fan would take that hot air out of the case
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2009 9:15:46 PM

There are some things you can try that don't involve a lot of cash or modding. EG, you could temporarily mount a small fan (you might have one laying around) inside the computer case, "below" your vid card, and pointing at the back of the case (the two remaining expansion slots). Then remove the slot covers to provide a vent. If your case has enough incoming air, this fan would blow the hot air out the now-open expansion slots.

If that works, you could then mount the fan to your case's side cover in roughly the same position - double stick tape, velcro, whatever without doing anything to your case.

A bit cumbersome when you remove the cover, but if that's a problem find a way to screw the fan to your case's side cover. (L-brackets)

If that doesn't work well, position the fan against the two open expansion slots for a more direct exhaust.

Otherwise, you could buy a slot cooler and try that.
June 4, 2009 11:21:38 PM

Twoboxer said:
There are some things you can try that don't involve a lot of cash or modding. EG, you could temporarily mount a small fan (you might have one laying around) inside the computer case, "below" your vid card, and pointing at the back of the case (the two remaining expansion slots). Then remove the slot covers to provide a vent. If your case has enough incoming air, this fan would blow the hot air out the now-open expansion slots.

If that works, you could then mount the fan to your case's side cover in roughly the same position - double stick tape, velcro, whatever without doing anything to your case.

A bit cumbersome when you remove the cover, but if that's a problem find a way to screw the fan to your case's side cover. (L-brackets)

If that doesn't work well, position the fan against the two open expansion slots for a more direct exhaust.

Otherwise, you could buy a slot cooler and try that.

Did you miss where he mentioned dust...
June 5, 2009 1:26:03 AM

Okay, I remembered wrong, sorry. There's only one free PCI slot under the graphics card, since the cooling system takes up a two slots' worth of space. So there's really not much room underneath the card.

I do have an extra 80mm CPU fan I'm not using, complete with home-soldered "extension." I had the idea to do something like this with angle brackets, inside the case:

This is definitely NOT to scale, because my memory (as in, memory in my brain) is bad. If I actually did it, the fan would tower over the card, which is only an inch or two off the bottom of the case. Still it would force some air underneath the card. Anyway, an exhaust fan in that limited space would be out of the question, as it would fight against the graphics card fan.
a c 271 U Graphics card
June 5, 2009 1:48:17 AM

Side fans?
June 5, 2009 3:04:22 AM

Remove the metal slots below your Video card where you would normally put more PCI-e devices. That cooled my video card down a hell of a lot.
a b U Graphics card
June 5, 2009 3:26:26 AM

i would use a tools and cut out part of the side of the case for air intake for a side fan
a b U Graphics card
June 5, 2009 6:33:39 AM

rewindlabs said:
Did you miss where he mentioned dust...


Nope. I doubt my suggestion will draw much more air into the case, if any. It should just direct a flow to relieve the trapped heat.

To the OP: Just stuff the fan in the case, rigged temporarily and see what it does. Nothing to lose.
June 5, 2009 4:13:16 PM

Thanks for all replies.

I hope to get as many opinions as possible before making a decision.
June 5, 2009 4:20:13 PM

I like the slot cooler Twoboxer suggested. Apparantly you can swivel the fan and redirect the air wherever you want? If so, that's pretty awesome.
a b U Graphics card
June 5, 2009 5:05:32 PM

maxtothemax said:
I like the slot cooler Twoboxer suggested. Apparantly you can swivel the fan and redirect the air wherever you want? If so, that's pretty awesome.


I'm the one that posted the link to that cooler lol
June 5, 2009 5:57:13 PM

And I'm not allowed to edit it, either!

Oh well, sorry.
a c 263 U Graphics card
June 5, 2009 6:19:37 PM

You have a vga card that does a good job of getting heat off of the vga chip, but it then dumps it into the case where it can recirculate. Not very good in a small form factor case.
You need to get that hot air out asap. The slot coolers mentioned that exhaust air should help. Can you increase the cfm of the intake and output fans in the case to create more flow?

Another option is to replace the stock cooler with a dual slot cooler that sends the hot vga air directly out the back of the case.

Would you consider replacing the 4850 with a card with a good shrouded dual slot cooler?
a b U Graphics card
June 5, 2009 8:08:20 PM

from what i see, that card isnt pumping air out, just venting it.
a c 263 U Graphics card
June 5, 2009 8:15:46 PM

maxtothemax said:
My MSI R4850 does have out-of-case vents. Here's the page for it:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
However, it still is sucking on already-hot air, which makes me worried about overclocking.

Here is an example of the type of cooler I was talking about:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is a link to a cheap $5.99 slot cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It has a speed control to balance the noise vs. cooling equation.
I have used one before to good effect with a 8800GTS. The quality is not good, but the price might make it worth a try.
June 6, 2009 12:15:10 AM

thanks for posting that link it really makes sense now, u need to open ohe expansion slot below the 2nd 4850 slot so new air can come into the fan, also ur case has to have a really good exaust system, i actually cut a hole in the top of my case and put a 12cm to suck air out, but a rear fan can work just as well, if theres a grill behind ur rear exaust fan, remove it the air will flow out more freely.
!