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Organ Donor: Assembling The Passive Cooler

Passively Cooling Nvidia's GeForce GTX 750 Ti...With An AMD Sink

Pillaging A Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 Ultimate

We weren't able to find any older passively-cooled Nvidia cards that'd work, so we made a Radeon HD 7750 from Sapphire suffer. Why Sapphire? That's just the first board I grabbed when I came up with this idea. It could have just as easily been a HIS card. I remember that the iSilence Cooler does its job really well, going nearly unchanged since the days of AMD's Radeon HD 6670.

Within minutes, I had the sink removed and cleaned off, and the same for Nvidia's sample.

So what now? We're off by just one millimeter in length and width. In the end, I had to get crafty and enlarge the holes to make the PCB fit under Sapphire's sink.

You can do this with something like a good pair of scissors. Just be careful and trim the enlarged holes.

Of course, you need to keep a sharp eye on thermals the first time you fire up the modified card. Then, carefully re-tighten the screws after an hour of burn-in.

Why not use an Arctic Accelero S1 Plus?

Sure, that might have worked. In some situations, it could have even been better. But the Arctic cooler doesn't solve the PCB fitment issues. In fact, its bundled screws are even thicker up top to ensure the cooler doesn't go anywhere after installation. Also, the S1 Plus is extremely large, which means you need 16 cm above the upper card slot edge, and there was no way to get that into the case we're using.

No matter what you do, there's no way to avoid enlarging the screw holes. The safest way to do it is up to you. With a little skill and a little courage, you can use this cooler or try another one, so long as it's not too heavy for Nvidia's little PCB.

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  • 10 Hide
    s3anister , February 27, 2014 2:55 AM
    Excellent article; very unique take on what seems to be another future possibility for 750 Ti in the retail channel. I would have however, loved to see some thermals for the passively cooled card in a case like Fractal's Define R4 or Nanoxia's Deep Silence.
  • 6 Hide
    blackmagnum , February 27, 2014 3:06 AM
    Can a gaming/htpc video card get any better than this? AMD, please respond.
  • 0 Hide
    Cons29 , February 27, 2014 3:11 AM
    i'm not comfortable with these temps, a low speed fan should be enough to lower it while still keeping the noise down
  • 9 Hide
    merikafyeah , February 27, 2014 3:12 AM
    That looks awesome!
  • 9 Hide
    FormatC , February 27, 2014 3:15 AM
    The temperature target of 80°C was set by Nvidia for Kepler too - all reference boards were designed to handle this w/o problems.
  • 2 Hide
    emad_ramlawi , February 27, 2014 3:28 AM
    interesting, i reckon it would been a perfect match for the GTX 750, i dont know why people overlook it, its only a tad slower than GTX 750 Ti
  • 5 Hide
    Blazer1985 , February 27, 2014 4:19 AM
    False! The resistance generated the heat you had to dissipate, it was all but futile! :-D Sorry, nerd joke :-D
  • 3 Hide
    de5_Roy , February 27, 2014 4:23 AM
    very interesting little project. i read from reviews and comments how this gpu might be suitable for passive cooling. this may be the most powerful passively cooled card i've seen so far.
  • 7 Hide
    CaedenV , February 27, 2014 4:28 AM
    I love passively cooled cards! I modded my old 9800GT to be passively cooled back in the day, and it was amazing! I installed an aftermarket cooler to my current GTX570, but it is not passive... still an improvement, but simply not the same.I am really hoping that there are passive options for some of the upper-mid level 800 series cards. I would love to have a more silent rig again.
  • -3 Hide
    arthos , February 27, 2014 4:35 AM
    I am a kind of person who'd not try to experiment something like this with newer models. If anything that ran hot in my college days are to be experimented I won't say no :D 
  • 13 Hide
    outlw6669 , February 27, 2014 4:52 AM
    I like the trend of returning to more techy articles. Good Job Tom's Team!
  • -3 Hide
    JeanLuc , February 27, 2014 5:18 AM
    I would like to see you test a R290X with Geforce 780Ti heatsink and compare it's performance to that of the standard AMD HSF.
  • 5 Hide
    ferooxidan , February 27, 2014 5:26 AM
    I like the Tom's hammer logo on the heat-sink, very clever and very neat.
  • 6 Hide
    bemused_fred , February 27, 2014 6:22 AM
    "This is for Cautious People

    If you're not willing to trust Nvidia's 80 °C temperature target (the company says 95 degrees is the GPU's thermal threshold), you can of course set a lower target of, say, 70 °C"

    So, taking the card and voiding its warranty by custom-rigging it with a heatsink that wasn't designed for it is fine, but running it at 80c? OHHHH HEELLL NAAAWWWW!!! That's just too dangerous! Won't someone think of the CHILDREN?!?!
  • 1 Hide
    DryCreamer , February 27, 2014 6:42 AM
    the correct term, at least in Indiana, for the modification made to the screw holes is: waller. You got to waller out those holes so the new heat sink will fit.Dry
  • 3 Hide
    slyu9213 , February 27, 2014 7:16 AM
    Well if you have 3-7 quiet fans the computer gets loud
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , February 27, 2014 8:00 AM
    Might be nice in a case that allows intake from the bottom and the side and exhausts out the top.
  • 3 Hide
    pazuso , February 27, 2014 8:22 AM
    I remember putting an stock AthlonXP heasink/fan on my geForce 4200 Ti, and another stock AthlonXP heatsink (without fan) on the motherboard's nForce northbridge!
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