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Cooling GPU: Going Commando !!!???

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 12:39:15 AM

I have been searching around here and elsewhere for a decent and affordable cooling solution to the dilemma of cooling a GTX 470 card and have seen some (relatively) expensive options: Zalman & Arctic Cooling & water blocks. If I want to upgrade the cooling on my reference GPU I have to spend additional bucks which cancels out any bargain shopping I have done. My question is has anyone tried one of the simplest and costless solutions: going commando by taking off the shroud?

Shrouds are not designed with engineering in mind. Some marketeer found that if you take the picture of a buxom lass and place it on a product it will sell better to adolescent males and those who aspire to be adolescent males. Other marketeers decided that they needed to brand their own products. It won't do to be selling acme products when your competition is Rolls Royce.

Theoretically, a shroud would only be beneficial if it somehow directed cool air over the heated GPU and GPU RAM, and channeled away hot air. But the plastic POSs which are shrouds only push air towards the heat sinks and trap the air (or, at very least, hinder the escape of hot air).

Now the shroud in the ASUS Sabertooth is designed to circulate air and isolate the MB circuits from the hot add-in components: the CPU and Video Card. ASUS engineers, by their design, acknowledge one of the fundamental principles of computing: heat kills. So they protect their circuits from the ambient radiation of other components.

If a desktop is properly designed it should solve the problem of heat by dissipating it from the inside of the case to the outside, But while all of this cooling is going on we have the modern GPU encased in a shroud which retains heat.

I am going to try to run the GPU in its stock shroud and measure temps and then take off the shroud and measure the difference if any. I invite any and all enthusiasts to try this simple experiment and report your findings. Maybe my suggestion is full of hot air, but whenever I get hot I take my shirt off. Ockhams razor anyone?

More about : cooling gpu commando

a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 1:30:34 AM

Not really, what (full) shrouds are supposed to to is direct the hot air from the card outwards so it wont exhaust into the case and raise case temps; and some models (Like refrence 69XXs and 570s IIRC) work quite well.

Running with the shroud off shouldn't be a problem and could lower temps if you have nice airflow in your case. Spekaing of which, what case do you have and how bad are your temps?
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 1:38:31 AM

Love the title, and pun-laden post. :) 

If a case has good airflow, then an internally exhausting GPU should have no problem with it. It might even get lower temps. Externally exhausting shrouds just make sure that all the hot air goes out, so that the the rest of your components inside the case don't get hotter.

I don't have a shrouded GPU, so I won't be able to do this experiment of yours.
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a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2011 2:28:58 AM

Timop said:
Not really, what (full) shrouds are supposed to to is direct the hot air from the card outwards so it wont exhaust into the case and raise case temps; and some models (Like refrence 69XXs and 570s IIRC) work quite well.

Running with the shroud off shouldn't be a problem and could lower temps if you have nice airflow in your case. Spekaing of which, what case do you have and how bad are your temps?



The problem with a shroud directing the airflow out of the case is that it has a small apature, resulting in a small volume of ventillation. New cases are designed to have 150 + cfm circulation, while a shroud has a teeny 9 cfm circulation,

The best designed coolers like MSI's twin frozrs, Cyclones, Zalman's & Arcticool after market products all exhaust the hot air inside, working with, not against the case cooling. Shrouds, particularly the early GTX 470's 480's and many AMD/ATI are poorly designed to trap hot air.

Re. your question I will be posting the info within the next few days. I want to make sure that my results are valid and reproducable.

If you do a survey of the postings and literature all of the better OC'ing GPUs share the case exhaust design. Short of water cooling I think the optimum cooling will favor that design.

Look at where the problems are reported: EVGA, PNY, MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte (not picking on any single OEM) closed shroud designs have a much higher fail rate than open case exhaust designs.

Heat sinks work only with good & cool airflow. If your blowing and trapping hot air over a heatsink are you really cooling the device?

I may be wrong, but I think this hypothesis is worthy of a real world test.
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a b U Graphics card
April 17, 2011 3:46:03 AM

After going shroudless for a week I have experienced about a 5 degree Celcius reduction in temperatures. This is probably because I have a WELL VENTILATED Corsair 600 T case. While the reviewers at MaximumPC, Adnand and others have rated this case as an editors choice for style, ease of hot swapping (via its toolless design) and cable management, I would none of these features rivals its airflow. The best airflow/cooling research shows that you want a front to back & top airflow with negative pressure. This is esactly what the Corsair case does.

Anyway, I think that a costless improvement to the reference GTX 470 design is to mod the shroud by opening it near the video ports. This causes the airflow to be better directed over the heatsink, and allows for improved heat exchange in well ventilated cases. Of course. if you have poor ventilation. all you would be doing is dumping more hot air inside the case.

But I am not satisfied with this solution, so I am going to mod my GTX 470 with the Zalman VF3000F so I can inmprove both heat and noise characteristics.

BTW, the machine I am trying to build is a quiet gaming rig, My progress so far is:

CPU: Intel i5 2500K
RAM: 8 GB (2X4) Corsair 1333
MB: Biostar H67+ (I am waiting on the Z68 to come out in May)
PSU: Corsair 660 TX
GPU: PNY GTX 470 (Reference)
SSD: Crucial 300 128 GB (Sata 3)
HDD1: WD 640 GB Caviar Black (Sata 3)
HDD2: WD 320 GB (Sata legacy)
HDD3: WD 250 GB (Sata legacy)
Optical Drive: ASUS DVD RW
Monitor: ASUS 23 in
Stock Cooling on CPU (will upgrade to Corsair H60 or Antec 620 H2O)
Audio: Creative Audigy Platinum 2 (Legacy)
Klipsch 5.1 surround speakers (Legacy)

It runs very quiet, but I am trying to make it even quiter with Silverstone dampening and the Zalman video cooler, as well as adding Xigmaxtec fans to replace some of the Corsair case fans (2 120 mm to replace a 200 mm and one 120 mm to replace the current 120 mm).

Thanks for the comment.


gracefully said:
Love the title, and pun-laden post. :) 

If a case has good airflow, then an internally exhausting GPU should have no problem with it. It might even get lower temps. Externally exhausting shrouds just make sure that all the hot air goes out, so that the the rest of your components inside the case don't get hotter.

I don't have a shrouded GPU, so I won't be able to do this experiment of yours.

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