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Project: Cooling the MSI R7970 TF 3GD5/OC BE with Arctic Accelero Xtreme 7970 plus Extra Heatsinks for VRMs

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
First off, I want to thank Face2Face and other contributors to the following post http://www.overclock.net/t/1372912/the-msi-tf3-vrm-project-with-accelero-xtreme-7970 as they were my inspiration.

My MSI Lightning 6970 bit the dust a month and a half ago. Luckily, it was still under warranty and MSI sent me a MSI R7970 TF 3GD5/OC BE as a replacement. I was very pleased with how quickly MSI responded and the fact that they upgraded me a bit. What I wasn't please with was how freaking hot the VRMs on this card get. It has the same exact cooler as the 6970 Lightning, but it's just not up to the task.



VRM1 at 77, VRM2 at 96, and core at 77 with fan speed at 85 percent (jet engine level) while litecoin mining at 1028 core/1700 memory on stock voltage of 1.108 after vdroop.

I went ahead and bought the fujipoly thermal material and akasa thermal tape mentioned in the post above along with the Accelero Xtreme 7970. I decided that I wanted to keep the plate that MSI uses instead of using thermal glue and all the heatsinks that come with the kit.

Here's the card with the stock cooler removed and cleaned up.



When I took the card apart, I noticed that the stock thermal pad was just slightly thicker over the VRMs than it was over the memory chips. I bought 1.5mm thick fujipoly thermal pad and found that it was exactly the same thickness as the pad over the memory, but not quite as thick as the VRM pad. I ended up using 1.5 over the memory locations and then one piece of 1.5 plus two pieces of 0.5 over the VRMs. the 0.5 can't really be that size as I'm guessing the total height was still less than 2.0 over the VRM locations. Here is is with the fujipoly applied and two heatsinks with akasa thermal tape. You'll notice one only has part of the chip covered for clearance reason. When it was stock, neither of those two chips were covered.



Now here it is with the black heatspreader plate back in place. It was a nice snug fit. As you can see, I've also added heatsinks over the VRM locations on top of the heatspreader using akasa thermal tape. I had to cut them down with a dremel to get them to fit under the new heatsink.



I also went to work on the back of the card, adding heatsinks there as well. This was much trickier as there are just little tiny diodes underneath the VRMs and you couldn't get a heatsink small enough for the them. What I did was put 1.5 mm fujipoly around those diodes and then used akasa tape on the bottom of the heatsinks. The fujipoly made it a little bit more stable to mount the heatsinks. I used heatsinks that would cover two diodes at a time until I got to the 7th one and the one that's by itself where I used some smaller heatsinks. Here's a pic of the fujipoly installed with the heatsinks just laying to the side so I could get the spacing.



Here it is with the heatsinks actually installed.



Here's the whole thing mounted up and installed in my computer. The cooler itself still actually moves around on top of the card. I removed some of the thermal paste as it comes with just too much installed. I also sanded down the plastic standoffs just a bit, but it still moves a little. However, I left it alone. I added a Gentle Typhoon AP-15 1850 RPM fan to blow across the top of the card. It looks ghetto, but it works (more on that below). You may also notice a rough set of fins where I had to dremel off some of the heatsink on the left side to get the cooler to fit over the stock heatspreader.



As you may imagine, this took lots of trial and error to get it set up right. I tested for temperature at different phases in the process to see what worked and what didn't. I tested by mining litecoins at stock voltages with cgminer 3.5 with the core set to 1050 and memory to 1700. The thermostat in the house is set to 70 degrees F, but the room will heat up a bit with use. I have good enough airflow through my case that taking the side door off will actually cause an increase in temperatures.

VRM1: 77 VRM2: 96 Core: 77 Fan: 85% Stock Card out of box
VRM1: 91 VRM2: 96 Core: 63 Fan: 100% Accelero installed, additional VRM heatsinks on back only with no extra fan blowing
VRM1: 78 VRM2: 80 Core: 63 Fan: 100% Accelero installed, additional VRM heatsinks on back only with AP-15 blowing on it
VRM1: 89 VRM2: 86 Core: 62 Fan: 100% Accelero installed, additional VRM heatsinks on heatspreader and back with no AP-15
VRM1: 75 VRM2: 75 Core: 63 Fan: 100% Accelero installed, additional VRM heatsinks on heatspreader and back with AP-15 blowing

So, what I learned other than the fact that the stock cooler is extremely loud and not suited for mining was that you need to spend a lot of time to cool this thing down with the Accelero Xtreme 7970. The Accelero does a great job keeping the core cool out of the box, but it really does nothing for the VRMs. In fact, it's worse because the fans aren't blowing hard enough. I didn't even note those temps above because I shut it down before they could get too hot. Even with adding heatsinks on the back one of the VRMs was the same as stock, but the other actually went up 14 degrees. Once I added the AP-15, it dropped VRM1 by 13 degrees and VRM2 by 16 degrees. Still using the AP-15, adding the heatsinks to the heatspreader dropped VRM1 an additional 3 degrees and dropped VRM2 by 5 degrees. I still need to find a better mounting system for the AP-15, but it will do for now.



I hope this helps someone else with this card. Here's the Fujipoly and Akasa I got from frozencpu. I bought 4 of these Fujipoly 1.5mm and had 1 and a half left. I bought 2 of these Fujipoly 0.5mm and had 1 left. I bought 2 of these Akasa Thermal Tape and had 1 and a half left.
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post #2 of 36
Thread Starter 
May have to reseat the cooler. I'm getting VRM temps up to a little over 80 on both and GPU temps up to 70. It still is weird to me that no matter how tight you make the screws, the cooler will twist on top of the card.
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post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
For some reason, VRM temps have jumped by about 7 degrees celcius. VRM 2 is the same. Any ideas?
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post #4 of 36
look into the red mod.
post #5 of 36
its cheap and a great guy over in our group sells universal brackets. brack + what you did + h60 on newegg for like $35 and your golden. im about to do it.
post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronlaplante View Post

its cheap and a great guy over in our group sells universal brackets. brack + what you did + h60 on newegg for like $35 and your golden. im about to do it.

Sounds interesting. Where do I find this red mod and who sells the brackets? +rep
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post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by breenemeister View Post

Sounds interesting. Where do I find this red mod and who sells the brackets? +rep

Never mind, I found it and I also purchased the GPU Cool brackets.
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
120GB Intel 510 SSD Samsung 1TB F1 LiteOn iHAS324-98 Y Cougage Tru Spirit (lapped) with Akasa Viper Pu... 
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Black Sunshine II
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
120GB Intel 510 SSD Samsung 1TB F1 LiteOn iHAS324-98 Y Cougage Tru Spirit (lapped) with Akasa Viper Pu... 
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post #8 of 36
cool congrats man, im about to do it to a msi 7970 card, good luck with your project.
post #9 of 36
with the heatsinks you've added it should work great with the red mod. I"m currently cooling two 7950's with the AIO coolers and the stock heat spreader and fan for vrm and memory cooling. Works GREAT.
post #10 of 36
so what did you think of my idea of mounting heatsinks to the heat spreader? I can see the underside of the spreader where it got hot in the past from memory etc, well why not just put on the heatspreader to cool the vrms ram etc, then put a heatsink ontop of that directly above the hot components? would that work? so for instand card, chips, then fuji tape, then heatspreader, then heatsinks?
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