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VGA Coolers: We Rescue A GeForce GTX 480

How To: Properly Plan And Pick Parts For An Air-Cooled PC, Part 2
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Unconventional Repair Job Instead Of Expensive Replacement

Swapping or upgrading a graphics card's cooler is not a job for beginners. Thus, we omit that in this entry-level tutorial. However, even a neophyte can reproduce our unconventional experiment.

Let’s assume you own a factory-overclocked GeForce GTX 480 (like the one in the picture), and let’s further assume that the Accelero Xtreme's fans just died on you. Naturally, your warranty already expired and a quick search on eBay doesn't turn up any results for spare parts. Now what?

Broken is broken, and a new Accelero fan assembly costs something like 50 bucks. Thus, the only option is to dig up a fan out of the spare parts bin. The new blower can't be any thicker than the original because we don’t want to block an additional PCI slot, and it should at least boast the same performance.

Two Slip Stream Fans Cool The GeForce Like Never Before

Now, granted, we attached both fans in a somewhat haphazard manner, since we weren't even sure if this would work. We didn't take a boatload of pictures, either.

However, our measurements would make an Eskimo proud: the home-grown solution is slimmer, quieter, and significantly cooler! As an added benefit, the air stream that passes through the protruding fans also cools the top of the card. An experiment with 92 mm fans, which don’t stick out the same way, wound up 5 kelvins warmer, and thus we didn’t even bother to take pictures.

Rigged Fans Beat Nvidia's Factory Setup

This is amazing, but true. Our ugly ducklings beat the Accelero Xtreme's factory-installed fans in all respects. This puts the fun back into big old Fermi! Take a look at the measurement data:

We could have taken full-sized 120 mm fans and seen even better results. However, the card would have then monopolized three slots, which would have been too much for our tastes. 

MacGyver would applaud us, even though these fans won’t detonate. Some digging in the spare parts bin saved an expensive graphics card from the garbage heap, and we even managed to improve its cooling. Had we bought the fans brand new, a ~$20 total for both wouldn’t have broken the bank.

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