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Discussion Starter #1
How I use the fan connector on my water-cooled GPU and Afterburner to run 2 radiator fans and a case fan.

Why do it?
My case is limited to 2 x 240 rads. I wanted to maximize my cooling, especially in low CPU / high GPU situations. This hack is not for everyone. If you have acres of fan-covered rad space, or if Speedfan works for your motherboard, you don't need for this.

*** Disclaimer: This is my hack and it worked well for me. I assume and accept no responsibility whatsoever for the consequences to you, your computer or your world if you attempt this on your own card. ***

What I used:
An Evercool Fan cable Adapter for PWM fans: http://www.microcenter.com/product/471084/Fan_Cable_Adapter_Supports_5_PWM_Fans
EKWB T6 waterblock
A 2-pin-mini cable adapter
Some short lengths of thin wire to ring out wire assignments
3 PWM type fans for case and radiator.

My card is the MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X.
PHOTO 1


The MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X PCB with stock air cooler removed.
PHOTO 2


Photos of other GPU PCBs can be found HERE

This is what the original cooler's wiring harness looked like.
PHOTO 3


Using a wire harness stripped from a cheap PWM fan, I connected different wire combinations from a PWM connection on teh motherboard to the GPU's original heatsink/air cooler assembly to determine the pinout.
PHOTO 4


Took an Evercool Fan cable Adapter for PWM fans
PHOTO 5


and added a 2-pin mini connector pigtail off the PWM and Tach wires. I carved off the mini connector's guides so it would fit into the connector on the PCB.
PHOTO 6


Close up
PHOTO 7


My waterblock, EK TF6.
PHOTO 8


I plugged the fan cable adapter into 3 PWM fans, a molex power connector for power and the PCB for PWM and Tach.

Installed
PHOTO 9

PHOTO 10


This method should work with any MSI 1080 card that uses the same PCB or MSI 1070 that fits the same TF6 waterblock.
So the hack should work on the Seahawk EK X card, BUT you'll need a power drill with 13mm bit to drill through the acetyl cover to access to the PCB fan connector.
PHOTO 11


The result:
PHOTO 12


My Afterburner-controlled fans are Corsair ml-120s and they idle quietly when Afterburner is not enabled.
They are fully controlled by the Afterburner Fan Speed controls when Afterburner is running.
I have much better cooling than before and a much quieter computer overall because all fans ramp down at idle once the CPU and GPU hit their target idle temps.

It would have been easier to just use a 4-pin normal to 4-pin mini connector and just remove the power and ground wires. If I'd had one, I'd have done that. But this was a late-night proof of concept experiment, so I went with what I had on hand...

Fan curves differ among BIOSs. It seems each GTX 1080 BIOS is custom tailored to the stock cooler / fan combo. You'll need to customize a fan curve to your liking, especially on the MSI cards where the stock cooler doesn't kick in before 60C. On water, you don't want your GPU to even reach 60C.

For more info, check out more on OCN: * * Ways to Better Cooling; Airflow, Cooler & Fan Data..*
 

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Interesting idea.

Question:

Why not use the PWM headers on the motherboard?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgdeaner View Post

Interesting idea.

Question:

Why not use the PWM headers on the motherboard?
Because they are based on CPU temp only.
There are games and benchmarks that will run the CPU @ 35% load while running the GPU @ 100%. That means your fans are running @ 35% or so and your GPU gets hot.

NVidia's Boost 3.0 will move down the power curve as GPU temps increase, downclocking the GPU.

Also, setting the fans up this way means some of the fans will run at high speeds until the GPU cools down to idle temp. ~2 minutes. Takes forever with only CPU-controlled fans.
 
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Very clever.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beagle Box View Post

Because they are based on CPU temp only.
There are games and benchmarks that will run the CPU @ 35% load while running the GPU @ 100%. That means your fans are running @ 35% or so and your GPU gets hot.

NVidia's Boost 3.0 will move down the power curve as GPU temps increase, downclocking the GPU.

Also, setting the fans up this way means some of the fans will run at high speeds until the GPU cools down to idle temp. ~2 minutes. Takes forever with only CPU-controlled fans.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgdeaner View Post

Very clever.
Thanks.
It works even better than I imagined it would.
I'm hoping others will try it and leave some feedback.
 

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The Asus strix vega 64 has 2 4 pin fan headers on the card to do the same thing.Wish more cards had this since you are right the gpu is the hottest thing now.So why have them set to cpu load only is kinda not smart.
 

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I use a temp sensor stop plug in my loop to ramp up the fans when the water gets warmer, connected to my motherboards 2 pin T sensor and control the fans directly from bios. It's a much better solution than controlling via component temp as regardless of which component gets warm the fans will ramp up to accommodate the extra heat.

Problem with your solution while it does keep the system cool when the GPU is ramped it's doing nothing for the CPU when it's under stress by itself.

Also you don't need to cut up any pwm wires for your solution, Gelid does a VGA PWM adapter cable:

https://gelidsolutions.com/thermal-solutions/accessories-pwm-fan-adaptor/

Using these though are more ideal for AIO cooling a GPU rather than a full custom loop.
 
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