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Author Topic: Alternate cooling for GTX670 (Nvidia reference design)  (Read 6800 times)

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flobelixTopic starter

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    • Afterburner New Features Introduction | MSI

Introduction

Who owns a nvidia reference design GTX670 like N670GTX-PM2D2GD5(/OC) or GTX660ti most likely realized it performs well but unlike the superior N670 PE 2GD5(/OC) uses a quite cheap cooler with just little potential. If wanting to overclock that can be a sticking point. Best way to improve the card would be using an aftermarket cooler.   



That seems not to be too tough looking at the card with mounted reference cooler as it looks to be possible to even use a big dual fan cooler.

Looking at the back of the card on the other hand reveals its very small pcb and the cards length being extended just by the cooler.



A possible solution is the Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS



Disassembling Guide

To replace the cooler we have to disassemble the card ( this part of the guide will also help those just wanting to replace the thermal compound). That way we will also see why the Mono Plus is the best solution for a reference design GTX670/660ti.

The cooler is mounted with ten srcews on the back of the pcb. Those have to be untightened and the cooler can just be taken off.

The best way to do that is going by the markings in the following photo. First untighten the screws with green markings. Continue with the red markings. These are the screws around the gpu holding the heatsink. Untighten them in a cross pattern (e.g. upper right, lower left, lower right, upper left) to ensure no uneven pressure is applied to the gpu or pcb. After untightening red marked screws the blue one finally releases the cooler.



Just take the cooler carefully off as it's fan cable is still attached to the pcb. It needs to be removed and disassembling is done.



After disassembling it is obvious how poor the reference cooler is compared to the Power Edition one. The reference design just uses a simple aluminium heatsink with copper base. There are no heatpipes at all. The memory is not even cooled by airflow.
Due to the compact design the VRMs need to be cooled by a huge aluminium heatsink in an awkward place. Any dual fan cooler or bigger will collide with it preventing to mount all high-end solutions. Replacing it on the other hand is not recommended as VRM cooling is crucial and none of the small glue-on heatsinks coming with aftermarket solutions can compete with the reference heatsink. The perfect aftermarket cooler therefor allows to keep the reference VRM cooler.

Not surprisingly at this point of the topic that perfect cooler is the Mono Plus.

Mounting the Mono Plus



The Mono Plus is already preapplied with high quality Arctic MX2 thermal compound so we don't need to worry about that. All we need to do is mounting it.
Also we don't need to worry about the tiny memory heatsinks  because we don't need those. What we learn from the reference design is that memory cooling isn't critical. Just a bit of airflow that the Mono plus will supply in any case is already a big improvement and by far sufficient.

First we need to prepare the cooler with rubber spacers. There are two sets of four spacers and we need the slim ones.



Strip them off and stick one on the outer mounting hole of all four corners of the cooler



Now we can connect the fan to the cards pcb. This way the cards automatic fan control or manual control via Afterburner will stay fully fuctional. Also the gpu needs to be cleaned of remaining old thermal compound.



Now we can prepare the four screws with the red ring washer.



The screws will hold the heatsink using the four mounting holes around the gpu (those with the red markings in disassembly guide). Like untightening one needs to make sure to thighten the screws in a cross pattern.



DONE!



Although the card looks a bit odd now the results are great. While gpu was running at 83 - 85°C under gaming load (Crysis 3) before it is now not exceeding 59°C in my secondary machine. The noise level is also a lot lower creating a silent gaming vga. Also the annoying fan speed up sound under load almost vanished.

A possible problem for slim cases could be the increased height of the card due to the massive cooler. Who is wondering if the Mono Plus will fit should check Arctic's >>Height Restriction Drawing<<

 

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