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Building Our Own Nvidia/AMD Hybrid

Build Your Own: Single-Slot GeForce GTX 750 Ti
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Victor Frankenstein, I am not. But you might say that it's a little disrespectful to put an AMD heat sink and fan on a half-naked Nvidia card. In this case, though, it's better to get some answers than it is to match the right colors together. And because Nvidia's partners didn't launch with a single slot model of their own, we felt it was necessary to take that extra step and show it could be done. One of the readers on the Tom's Hardware U.S. forum called our last dalliance “Frankenmod”, and that's not far from the truth.

The first step is to remove the small heat sink with its axial fan from AMD's FirePro V3900 and clean it. Why are we using this cooler, specifically? None of the other single-slot solutions we looked at would fit because Nvidia's reference PCB employs some fairly tall capacitors. This was the only heat sink and fan combo in arm's reach that'd honor the height of one expansion slot.

Although this was the only cooler that fit, it still presented us with a unique issue. As you can see in the picture, its power lead is short. It also happens to be on the wrong side to work easily with a GeForce GTX 750 Ti. So, we had to fashion an adapter that'd make it possible for the card to control fan speeds.

In Passively Cooling Nvidia's GeForce GTX 750 Ti...With An AMD Sink, we explained in detail how we were able to make heat sinks from AMD cards fit on Nvidia graphics cards, despite different screw hole spacing. If you haven't already, check out that piece for the step-by-step of how we enlarged the holes on our GeForce board. For those who already read it, the pictures below are there to refresh your memory.

As they say, no pain, no gain. Without enlarging the screw holes, you won't be able to transplant the heat sink from AMD's FirePro V3900. To be honest, though, even an experimental kid could do this without messing anything up. Just be careful not to hurt yourself!

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  • 18 Hide
    silverblue , March 12, 2014 1:56 AM
    And now... fitting a Titan/780 Ti cooler to a 290X. ;) 
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    de5_Roy , March 12, 2014 1:26 AM
    i've been waiting to read it for a while. it was very good.
    one aspect of gcn based radeons is that despite their low power use in entry level cards, all of them use higher amount of pwoer during bluray playback. both kepler and maxwell (gm107) use quite less. a single slot, low profile operation, a card with gpu like gm107 will be very suitable for htpc. not to mention the sheer amount of gaming performance advantage over other gfx card around the same power use. hopefully, the future 20nm gpus will introduce even more performance under the same power use.
  • 8 Hide
    brarboy , March 12, 2014 1:42 AM
    Amd and Nvidia in same boat. You really got my attention here :D 
  • 18 Hide
    silverblue , March 12, 2014 1:56 AM
    And now... fitting a Titan/780 Ti cooler to a 290X. ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    AMD Radeon , March 12, 2014 2:08 AM
    Sorry i edit this
  • 9 Hide
    dish_moose , March 12, 2014 2:11 AM
    I get a little cautious about making holes in multi layer pcbs and using metal screws. Without knowing the power plane structure and clearances, you gamble shorting out internal layers if you are not lucky/careful.-Bruce
  • 4 Hide
    jamesedgeuk2000 , March 12, 2014 2:54 AM
    I think I have noticed a flaw with what you guys did here. The card only supply's power to the fan it doesn't regulate PWM or sense RPM, so am I correct in assuming that it's using voltage regulation to control fan speed and therefore doing it blind based on it's temperature curve? If so then as you have replaced the standard fan with a much weaker one you should really consider raising the fan curve to compensate.
  • 1 Hide
    CodeMatias , March 12, 2014 3:04 AM
    Why not use a K2000 cooler? also nvidia small die so it might work better, and K2000 is ~80W so it should cool the 750ti just fine.
  • 1 Hide
    CodeMatias , March 12, 2014 3:05 AM
    Quote:
    And now... fitting a Titan/780 Ti cooler to a 290X. ;) 
    Asus already did... It doesn't work, the 290X just draws too much power
  • 3 Hide
    Captain75 , March 12, 2014 3:25 AM
    I need a low profile version of the card though -_-
  • 3 Hide
    AndrewJacksonZA , March 12, 2014 3:34 AM
    Quote:
    And now... fitting a Titan/780 Ti cooler to a 290X. ;) 
    Yes silverblue, yes! :-)
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , March 12, 2014 3:44 AM
    I'm sorry, but this is NOT a "low profile" card. It is single-slot, but not low-profile. It needs to be able to fit in an InWin BK655.300 (or similar mITX case) to be low-profile. For that, the circuit board itself must be short.
  • 3 Hide
    FormatC , March 12, 2014 4:47 AM
    Quote:
    Why not use a K2000 cooler? also nvidia small die so it might work better, and K2000 is ~80W so it should cool the 750ti just fine.

    The cooler doesn't fit. Some caps and coils are too high and the distance between the holes is not compatible. I've tried other FirePro cards but it was not possible too...

    Quote:
    The card only supply's power to the fan it doesn't regulate PWM or sense RPM, so am I correct in assuming that it's using voltage regulation to control fan speed

    This fan is voltage controlled, right. The goal was to use Boost to limit the temps and show you that you lost only a little bit performance. I had no non-Ti in my hands to ise it. This slower card is really perfect for this kind of cooling :( 

    Quote:
    I get a little cautious about making holes in multi layer pcbs and using metal screws.

    It is one of the rules, that around this holes is nothing. You have always 1 mm reserve and more ;) 
  • 1 Hide
    Pedasc , March 12, 2014 5:11 AM
    Just to echo Onus the AMD card they took the cooler off of is "low profile". This card still has a full size PCB, it is not "low profile".
  • 4 Hide
    FormatC , March 12, 2014 5:31 AM
    The goal was only to show, that a low-profile and single-slot card might work. It's clear that nobody can take a saw and modify the reference board... :D 
  • 6 Hide
    AndrewJacksonZA , March 12, 2014 5:41 AM
    Quote:
    It's clear that nobody can take a saw and modify the reference board... :D 
    <obligatory>Chuck Norris can.</obligatory> ;-)

  • 8 Hide
    de5_Roy , March 12, 2014 6:23 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    It's clear that nobody can take a saw and modify the reference board... :D 
    <obligatory>Chuck Norris can.</obligatory> ;-)


    chuck norris does not need a saw to modify the reference nvidia pcb down to low profile form factor. he simply throws the card in the air and roundhouse kicks it to cutoff the excess height and into to the motherboard's pcie x16 slot. the shock wave from the roundhouse kick then causes the case re-assemble itself and the pc to start.

  • 5 Hide
    vertexx , March 12, 2014 6:30 AM
    Now if only someone would come out with a single-slot low-profile version. That would really be something!
  • 0 Hide
    renz496 , March 12, 2014 9:45 AM
    Quote:
    I'm sorry, but this is NOT a "low profile" card. It is single-slot, but not low-profile. It needs to be able to fit in an InWin BK655.300 (or similar mITX case) to be low-profile. For that, the circuit board itself must be short.


    then get this card and replace the heatsink

    http://www.galaxytech.com/__EN_GB__/Product2/ProductDetail?proID=517&isStop=0&isPack=False&isPow=False
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , March 12, 2014 9:53 AM
    Yeah, it can't be double-slot. I couldn't tell if it has the half-height bracket though, and the spec sheet doesn't list it as an accessory.
  • 3 Hide
    RedJaron , March 12, 2014 11:05 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    And now... fitting a Titan/780 Ti cooler to a 290X. ;) 
    Asus already did... It doesn't work, the 290X just draws too much power

    The reason this didn't work is because the GK110 chip is quite a bit larger than Hawai'i. In Asus' case, two of the heat pipes don't even touch the chip and were useless.


    There's no reason a 780 type cooling solution can't be used, but you need to address the smaller surface area on the chip for optimal heat transference.
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