I've had this card for about a year now..maybe less and I haven't cleaned it yet. After installing my new Mobo/CPU/Ram I noticed that the fan is collecting some dust/gunk on it and my air duster can isn't powerful enough to take it off.
I've been looking for videos or pictures on how to clean it the easiest and safest way but nothing is coming up. Basically I don't want to start taking screws out and taking it apart and messing something up. I want to be 100% sure how to do it before hand.
When I pull out a Card to Clean, I usually remove the fan/heat sink. Usually its push pins or screws to remove it. I will clean the Fan well, I usually then lap the heat sink base, using a glass table, 600/800/1000/1500/2000 grit wet papers...takes maybe 15 mins....dry for an hour or more. Then I put it back together with some Arctic Silver 5 and let it rip....I've also replaced/upgraded some fans...
Remove the cooler and clean the base and core then remove the cover to clean the fan and block. Once done put the shell/cover back on the cooler then apply compound and install the cooler. It should be noticeably cooler but that is all. I like to clean my cards at least once every month or so but once waited 3 months when I was using my 3870 to find it was a dust bomb. I use my rigs that much to ware my new GTX 460 had to already be cleaned once. Needs to be cleaned again as I can already write clean me in the dust on the pcb.
I don't think there's any need to lap the heat sink, unless it's obviously concave or convex.
An old toothbrush would probably work pretty well to clean the fan.
Actually the best thing that I have found that worked the best for cleaning was to use a horse hair paint brush and it does a really good job getting it done. How else would I keep my x1900xt spotless. For cleaning the pcb its quicker than using air and it gets the fluf that is around other parts of the card and cooler then finish off with air for a job well done. For nickle plated or aluminum coolers water will do just as good as air but rids of the film that air leaves behind unless fed from a compressor. Copper coolers just use air or the brush unless you want them to turn out looking like an old penny.
You make it out to be brain surgery or operating a hydron collider which is overblown more than it really it. Just remove the cooler then the plastic shell its that easy. Just a few screws and your done, what is complicated about that?
Because from what I've seen I have to take the heatsink off the processor on the card just to get to the fan. And I've never had to apply thermal paste and all that before and I don't want to mess anything up.
It is not that hard unless you are using a hammer or a cutting torch. Just unscrew the 4 screws on the back of the card then the cooler will come right off. Clean up the old dried out stock compound which is no good any way after a few months use and take the cooler remove a few more screws to remove the plastic shell from the block then you then you can clean it up. Apply new compound like arctic silver5 or better, not the whole tube ok... Then put the cooler back together and install. Its not like trying to fix a plasma tv or repair a transmission or worse restore an old engine that has been sitting and rusting away in a swamp for 70 years.
I know this is an old thread...like really old, but I've been looking for data on the web about this and haven't found any (specifically how to clean the fan), thought I'd add the info I gleaned while working on it.
1) there are 4 screws connecting the heatsink to the PCB, remove those.
2) there are 4 screws holding the plastic shell to the heatsink, remove those.
3) there are 3 screws holding the fan to the heatsink, remove those.
4) there are 0 screws holding the fan together. I broke the back off trying to remove it so that I could clean the fan, which was gummed up and not spinning. HOWEVER, I found that there is no way to remove it beyond doing this and then putting a slim metal pick to one side between the plastic casing and internal components of the fan and lifting up until it clears the catch, then simply lift it out. Yea I could've bought a new fan, but seriously, why bother with a card this old? It's too good of a card to just replace, so I felt compelled to clean it. I just used crazy glue (I actually used a variant that's industrial strength "M-5") to put the fan's casing back together.
Popped it back in and everything is working great on it! Going to try it on my other 5770 and see if I can get the same results, maybe this time without breaking the fan's housing!