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Aircooling solution for 2 double-slot cards in SLi on mATX?

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a b U Graphics card
October 17, 2011 6:30:47 PM

I'm looking around for a good cooling solution for two cards right next to each other in SLi or CrossFire and have not seen much. I have run into this issue where the top card gets 30C or more hotter than the lower card, and on a mATX board (and some ATX mobos as well) the PCIe slots are in the 1 and 3 positions and force double width cards right next to each other.

Watercooling seems to be the only good solution to this problem but if a system isn't setup for WC already it's a huge pain/expense to get started and air cooling should be able to do the job.

If anyone has an air solution I would love to hear it...
October 17, 2011 7:00:16 PM

I think most people would say that the best non-watercooling way to get a cool system is to get a case that has good airflow. If it's possible, turn your case fans to high or buy better fans (I hear Noctua fans are really good, but expensive). If you have any empty fan slots buying fans to fill them is a good idea. Also 30 degrees Celsius is pretty cool. GPUs can run up to 60-70 degrees before you should have to worry about them overheating.
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a b U Graphics card
October 17, 2011 7:02:34 PM

You have a number of options (from least expensive):

1. Place a couple of case fans blowing onto the cards from the side with felt spacers (the stuff you stick on the bottom of chairs/tables to prevent scuffing) in between cards,
2. Change stock coolers to after market. Arctic Accelero Extreme make good effective coolers (note that heat will be dumped into your case and not exhausted out the back),
3. Watercooling.

I have run 3870s, 4870X2s and 5970s in crossfire with no spacing. The top card did run hotter, but not 30C hotter.

In the end, I went watercooling on my Tri SLI 480s.

Hope this helps some.
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a b U Graphics card
October 17, 2011 7:16:19 PM

11796pcs said:
I think most people would say that the best non-watercooling way to get a cool system is to get a case that has good airflow. If it's possible, turn your case fans to high or buy better fans (I hear Noctua fans are really good, but expensive). If you have any empty fan slots buying fans to fill them is a good idea. Also 30 degrees Celsius is pretty cool. GPUs can run up to 60-70 degrees before you should have to worry about them overheating.


Not quite what I'm asking, the issue is the upper card not getting air with the stock cooler... and that 30C is relative to the other card.

hunuok said:
You have a number of options (from least expensive):

1. Place a couple of case fans blowing onto the cards from the side with felt spacers (the stuff you stick on the bottom of chairs/tables to prevent scuffing) in between cards,
2. Change stock coolers to after market. Arctic Accelero Extreme make good effective coolers (note that heat will be dumped into your case and not exhausted out the back),
3. Watercooling.

I have run 3870s, 4870X2s and 5970s in crossfire with no spacing. The top card did run hotter, but not 30C hotter.

In the end, I went watercooling on my Tri SLI 480s.

Hope this helps some.


Thanks for the input. I like the felt spacer idea, I was rather wondering if there was any aftermarket solution based on a similar idea. The aftermarket coolers I've seen do not have clean airflow into the cooler if next to another card, and like you said just dump hot air in the case.

Hehe for tri-480s you would be crazy to not have WC :lol:  but I was running two 465's and seeing 90's on my upper card under load when the other card was in the 60's... and WC a lil out of my budget.

Any cleaner implementations of the "pry the cards apart and blow air in" solution out there???
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a b U Graphics card
October 18, 2011 4:47:22 AM

I think the BEST solution would be after market coolers. Arctic make the most efficient coolers.

It dumps hot air into the case, but IMO this is secondary to your main issue.

Make sure you have a reputable case and/or extra case fans to assist with airflow.

Good luck.
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a b U Graphics card
October 18, 2011 10:48:23 AM

The problem with after market non-reference coolers is with setups like this the coolers use air from the case to cool and also exhaust waste heat inside the case creating a recycling effect.

OP what case do you have?
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a b U Graphics card
October 25, 2011 1:09:36 PM

Sorry for the late response but Tom's just now emailed me about your replies...

I have a no-name mid-tower, but it has a 250mm sidefan that dumps lots of cold air straight at the cards, and 2x 90mm ducted push-pull exhausting through my Freezer 64 Pro. The CPU cooling is incredible (<38C w/ a Phenom IIx3 at 4.2GHz/1.55V under P95) but occupies my only good exhaust option, so I'd rather exhaust the cards through their coolers.

I think I'll try ducting my sidefan into the card's reference cooler and adding a couple front inlet fans to make up the case inflow.
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a b U Graphics card
October 25, 2011 1:10:48 PM

Best answer selected by BlacKHawK3.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
October 25, 2011 4:58:17 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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