graphics card mod - chilly fx
I recently decided to rebuild my shuttle PC (sn45g). Upon the first test boot to check everything still worked, I noticed a horrible grinding noise. After testing each fan in turn by stopping them with a piece of paper momentarily I found the culprit. The graphics card fan a horrible 40mm unit had killed its bearings after being in my main rig for about a year...
immediately I began scouring the Internet for replacement coolers but none would fit in the confines of the shuttle case... the only option was to mod!
As you can see the card in its stock condition is pretty unremarkable. Its an nvidia geforce fx5200 128mb 64bit memory manufactured by an obscure company "milky star". The stock fan as you can see is rather weedy but kept the card cool so the chip must have quite a low heat output... this will be important later.
The card after removal of the stock cooler. To achive this I simply snipped the ends of 2 plastic pins on the rear of the card and lifted the cooler off. The cooler had a thick layer of generic white thermal goop on the bottom, some cards may use thermal pads whereupon removal of the cooler is much more difficult. To clean the chip I used tissue paper, taking care not to spread any grease on the board as this could cause short circuits later. IF this chip output more heat then Id recommend using a thermal paste removal fluid as there will be still some of the old grease on the chip, slightly inhibiting performance.
I found an old pentium heat sink in a junk box. Here I am test fitting it in my shuttle to make sure there is enough clearance. There is enough clearance for the heat sink but not enough to use a fan with it. Hopefully this will be enough to cool the card, but I would recommend a fan if you try this mod yourself simply as a peace of mind measure!
A few days later my As thermal adhesive arrived. Its a powerful epoxy which also is non electrical conductive and highly conductive of heat. The package it came in contained two tubes which when mixed in a 1:1 ratio produce a bond so strong that the heat sink will never come off.
following these instructions I squeezed a small quantity of compound form each tube onto the chip and mixed it with the supplied plastic mixer. Although in hindsight I would have mixed some on a saucer and then spread it on the chip with the mixer as I put a little too much on.
The complete mod, now my 5200 is completely silent. I did make one mistake though I managed to stick the heat sink on slightly crooked which although still leaving good thermal contact, would look bad in a windowed case.

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