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***Wall of Text Warning*** Skip to bottom of Post #2 for TL;DR version!

First a little background. My 7970 runs in an open frame case, and even though it is a great clocker I kept it at 1125/1550 for 24/7 use since it runs hot. 84-85c in an open case at those speeds even with only 1.18v, and the stock cooler is terribly loud @ 100%. Hair dryer near your head loud.

I reseated the stock cooler with some TIM I had lying around and it dropped 6c, but 79c was still too hot and loud for me. I researched some coolers, but I had two requirements...best cooling performance I could get, but at decent noise levels since my GPU runs at 100% 24/7. I couldn't run a waterblock and add it to my loop, since I run a TEC waterblock setup and even with 3x120 and 2x140mm rad in series my water temps still are 5-6c over ambient at idle. Adding a GPU that runs 100% all the time will dump more heat into my loop, and I don't want that. I couldn't add a second loop, because my case has NO room at all for it. Two big radiators, pump, dual bay res, TEC Controller, two non-modular PSU's, long GPU (sometimes two), and lots of 1/2" tubing...no way could I get a second pump, res, and rad in there.

I researched some air coolers, and planned to mod a CPU cooler on my GPU like I did back in ~2004. That way I could run a single low RPM fan and get some nice temps, and while looking around at coolers I stumbled upon "The Mod". I ordered a Custom bracket from DWood right before he stopped taking orders, and in the mean time I purchased an H70 from Ebay, some tiny zip-ties from the local hardware store, and a shim from EK. I dremeled off the blower portion of the stock cooler to keep the hot VRMs cool and made my own temporary shroud. Lapped the H70, and stuck it on using some old left over Arctic Ceramique (V1, not even the improved V2). Used some scrap metal I had lying around to mount the rad to the horizontal bar on my case, and fired it up. This got me ~61c after the TIM cured. Huge improvement from 85c.











Next post, some RAM sinks and the TripT bracket...
 

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I ran it like that for a while, and things were much better but not perfect yet. Since I was still using the stock blower fan to cool the VRMs, albeit at 55% instead of the 100% roar, it was still the noisiest part of my system. I'm not a silent PC guy by any means, but the reference 7970 cooler is terribly annoying. I patiently awaited my custom bracket w/ fan mount, and was surprised to find it in my mailbox yesterday. I already had some zalman VGA heatsinks that I had ordered, so I spent today redoing the card with the proper hardware.

The bracket looks great, and the cool metallic sparkle gave me a good idea...


Hit it with some translucent red, which gave it a nice Candy Red that the cellphone camera and bad lighting doesn't do justice
smile.gif



I then pulled the stock blower off the bottom portion of the stock cooler (it's a 1.7A(!) beast of a motor on that blower) to replace it with a 92mm .30A case fan. I also had to cut the metal hoop that runs over the power connectors off so the bracket will fit. Zalman heatsinks applied, with a tiny fin style one on the stray MOSFET up top.


After cutting off the metal loop over the connectors, the bracket now clears.


All done and ready to install - I hate the stiff crappy tubing on the H70, and eventually will replace it with some normal tubing and throw a micro res in the loop to lower temps even further.


TL;DR:

Final results with everything else identical and the same ambient:

GPU:
85C->58C before curing. I expect 56c in a few days.

VRM #1:
82C->71C

VRM #2:
71C->60C

Noise:
From a hair dryer, to a quiet low whir
smile.gif
.

Thanks a ton to DWood and the Forums for sharing so much info!
 

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I was contemplating gutting an OEM heatsink like yours and doing the same thing. My other thought was to use the Heatkiller DIY 40 kit and simply mill the factory sink flat and use it as a plate/heatsink to cool off the VRMs. I may still do this, but I should have the copper plate cut down to slide into place tomorrow. It looks good and I m glad to see it was so useful at cooling the VRMs.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmwookie View Post

I was contemplating gutting an OEM heatsink like yours and doing the same thing. My other thought was to use the Heatkiller DIY 40 kit and simply mill the factory sink flat and use it as a plate/heatsink to cool off the VRMs. I may still do this, but I should have the copper plate cut down to slide into place tomorrow. It looks good and I m glad to see it was so useful at cooling the VRMs.
Yea, I wasn't sure if it would work well or not because of the short fins on it, and I reused the crappy thermal pad that was already on it but spread a little bit of TIM on top to make sure it contacted all the chips.

It does a much better job at cooling the VRMs when the plate is not getting heated by the RAM and GPU. The tiny finned heatsink I put on the top VRM is too small though, that VRM is ~10c hotter then the bottom ones. The little heatsink is much hotter to the touch so I know its transfering heat into it, but without any direct fan over it it doesn't dissipate it fast enough. Still way cooler then with the stock cooler and 70c is well within range for a VRM so I'm just going to leave it like that.
 

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i didnt see any mention of a copper shim did i miss it or did you not install one.
btw thanks for taking the time to post all of that info. You did a much better job at organizing your thoughts than i can and photos to boot. I really like the idea of using current items and modding them to solve the problems. Thats a 10 out of 10 in my book. easy cheap mission accomplished.
i test fitted my psudo lighting . the msi pe version and i only test fitted the block and carefully moved the copper shim with a small screwdriver and had small nicks on the side of my chip.. i freaked.
i was sooo careful.
the card is fine but i planned to move it from machine to machine so i decided to use a swiftech water block and modded a clc with it.
thanks for a very informative post.
sunset1
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunset1 View Post

i didnt see any mention of a copper shim did i miss it or did you not install one.
btw thanks for taking the time to post all of that info. You did a much better job at organizing your thoughts than i can and photos to boot. I really like the idea of using current items and modding them to solve the problems. Thats a 10 out of 10 in my book. easy cheap mission accomplished.
i test fitted my psudo lighting . the msi pe version and i only test fitted the block and carefully moved the copper shim with a small screwdriver and had small nicks on the side of my chip.. i freaked.
i was sooo careful.
the card is fine but i planned to move it from machine to machine so i decided to use a swiftech water block and modded a clc with it.
thanks for a very informative post.
sunset1
I used the EK shim, it is .5mm thick and makes it just about perfectly flush with the cores protective bracket. Also has the corners to match up well with the space it fits in, instead of being perfectly square.

There was one posted in the other thread on ebay UK that is .8mm thick and will work also, but I wouldn't go any bigger then that. A thicker shim will hurt your temps, and make it easier to damage the core if tightened unevenly.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck View Post

I used the EK shim, it is .5mm thick and makes it just about perfectly flush with the cores protective bracket. Also has the corners to match up well with the space it fits in, instead of being perfectly square.

There was one posted in the other thread on ebay UK that is .8mm thick and will work also, but I wouldn't go any bigger then that. A thicker shim will hurt your temps, and make it easier to damage the core if tightened unevenly.
Do you mind sending me links to the heatsinks/adhesive tape you used? Thanks!
 

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thanks for the update.. i used the ek shims also.. in the end becauae i move my video card from machine to machine i wanted a totally solid type mount and the swiftech was $$$ but it has the shim built in ( the 7900 series ) im really happy tho seeing someone use just the mod.. to solve the issue and each person that shows us valid solutions ( the cheaper the better ) the better the mod gets.
thanks again for your valuable input as it helps us all out.
 

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So about that steel mousepad of yours... what does it feel like? I've thought about getting an aluminum one but I have no idea if they feel rough or smooth. Nice mod though, I've been debating if I should do this to my 7950.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by starships View Post

So about that steel mousepad of yours... what does it feel like? I've thought about getting an aluminum one but I have no idea if they feel rough or smooth. Nice mod though, I've been debating if I should do this to my 7950.
Feels like heaven
laughingsmiley.gif
. I game @ 1800DPI in mostly twitch games like UT, Borderlands, and L4D so I'm definitely not low sens but not a crazy high RTS gamer either. I like as little friction as possible, and keep the weight tray out of my mouse so its nice and light as well.

It's brushed 304 stainless with a thin dense neoprene backing, and the mouse has teflon feet. After over a year of use you can barely see the mouse track marks as just slightly shinier spots in the normal movement range. Being much stronger then aluminum there is not a single scratch. My Steelseries aluminum pad that was over 60 bucks got polished smooth, started leaving marks all over my hand, and had an texture difference after like 3 months.

Only downside is that if it gets even a little dirty you can notice it right away, and it wears out feet faster.

The raw steel:

Trimmed:

Finished(Was taking a pic of the jewelers style hammer I used to tap the razor when I delided my 3770k):
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck View Post

Feels like heaven
laughingsmiley.gif
. I game @ 1800DPI in mostly twitch games like UT, Borderlands, and L4D so I'm definitely not low sens but not a crazy high RTS gamer either. I like as little friction as possible, and keep the weight tray out of my mouse so its nice and light as well.

It's brushed 304 stainless with a thin dense neoprene backing, and the mouse has teflon feet. After over a year of use you can barely see the mouse track marks as just slightly shinier spots in the normal movement range. Being much stronger then aluminum there is not a single scratch. My Steelseries aluminum pad that was over 60 bucks got polished smooth, started leaving marks all over my hand, and had an texture difference after like 3 months.

Only downside is that if it gets even a little dirty you can notice it right away, and it wears out feet faster.
The raw steel:

Trimmed:

Finished(Was taking a pic of the jewelers style hammer I used to tap the razor when I delided my 3770k):
Very nice, I've been using a Razer Destructor which is a hard mat with some friction for the past few years, but I've been wanting to switch to something smoother. I was looking at Geareds pad which is only $30, I don't have the tools to make my own or I would probably try my hand at that.

I don't like what you said about the Steelseries aluminum pad though, one of the reasons I was looking into metal mouse pads is because I figured it would be a tank and last forever. I think I'll yolo and get the Geared one though, hopefully it won't mirror the Steelseries' durability
rolleyes.gif
. I looked into all of this a few months ago and forgot about it after I decided to buy something else, but you've reminded me now. Do the edges ever dig into your wrist? I feel like that could be an issue, although I guess you could just round it down.
 

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If anyone needs the EK Shim I ordered a second one due to Frozen CPU being out of stock when I ordered and it was supposed to take 2 weeks. If anyone needs it just hit me up and Ill drop it in an envelope at cost of the shim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck View Post

Yea, I wasn't sure if it would work well or not because of the short fins on it, and I reused the crappy thermal pad that was already on it but spread a little bit of TIM on top to make sure it contacted all the chips.

It does a much better job at cooling the VRMs when the plate is not getting heated by the RAM and GPU. The tiny finned heatsink I put on the top VRM is too small though, that VRM is ~10c hotter then the bottom ones. The little heatsink is much hotter to the touch so I know its transfering heat into it, but without any direct fan over it it doesn't dissipate it fast enough. Still way cooler then with the stock cooler and 70c is well within range for a VRM so I'm just going to leave it like that.
The VRMs differ a lot on both my other watercooled 7970s so don't sweat that at all! Maybe I have a bad mounting, but it isn't anything I d worry about.
 
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