Heatsink and GPU fan mod

I would like to share some of the work I've done modding my computer and thought this would be the most appropriate heading to put it under. 

Please excuse the poor lighting and photo quality as I took these at night on a camera phone with nothing but room light and two led booklights to assist me.

My main concern when doing this was to cut down on noise. 

The graphics card is an XFX 6870 that looks something like this stock.

The stock fan brought to mind a dust buster even under slight load. 

I also modded the CPU heatsink which is an older version of a Zalman cooler ripped from an old socket 1366 build that I did a bit of cobbling to get to fit on 1155. 

I went with Noctua fans because of how impressed I was with the amazing performance and near silent operation.

This is the before photo with the stock Zalman fan and vacuum esque 6870.


I ordered an 80mm fan. Truth be told I wasn't sure how fans were measured so ordering an 80mm one was sort of a leap of faith that ended up fitting the hole in the graphics card perfectly. I was just as ready to leave off the housing but it does help in directing the airflow.

I used a roto tool with a cutting disk to liberate the fan from the housing. I then used some really strong and thick double sided tape to secure the fan to the top of the heatsink.


I then ran the wire for the fan out of the top of the ventilation holes already cut into the housing. I have the cord running back into a straight molex to 3 pin converter.

There is was an option of modding the connector from a 3 pin to a 2 pin which would allow the fan to be controlled by the graphics on board voltage control but the fan is virtually silent as max speed so I didn't see a point. I'm not sure if the 3-2 pin mod would work but it would run the fan basically on variable voltage which I hear isn't great for longevity.

Here is an action shot.



The CPU heatsink wasn't all that noisy but I wanted to mod it anyways with a larger and more quiet fan that would move a lot more air than the wimpy Zalman one.

I've got a pretty kludge worthy mounting setup. I took bits of solid copper wiring of which gague I'm not sure but its thick enough to hold its shape when bent, and threaded it through the screw holes and made a sort of hump in the wire to keep it from moving back and forth. I then bent it gently around the heatsink. 


There is absolutly no discernable vibration to my ears and the fix has worked amazingly well. You can also see a bit of the canabalized mounting. I stole hardware from a kit that was meant to go on 1135 and it bolted right in.


Another action shot.



The rest of these are pictures just showcasing the build. Things like how I managed the cables etc. etc.


Parts used are

Case:  Fractal Design Define Mini

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K

Motherboard: ASRock H77M

Graphics card: XFX HD-687A-ZHFC Radeon HD 6870

Hard Drive: SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series MZ-7PD128BW (+ some old western digitals I had for storage)

RAM: **(I would NOT reccomend using this ram as it is 1.65 volts and the motherboard only supports a max of 1.5 volts so it runs at 1333, if you use this board get a kit that runs at 1.5 volts @1600, this was a silly oversight by me) 

CORSAIR XMS 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX8GX3M2A1600C9 

PSU: CORSAIR HX series HX650 650W Semi-Modular 

Fans: Noctua except for the fans that came with the case which are excellent. 




Nice, looks pretty good.

As far as the RAM, I always use/suggest RAM that runs at stock voltage (1600 mHz, 1866 mHz, etc.) if at all possible. It usually is within $5 of the cheaper stuff and can possibly OC better, due to the stock speeds at stock voltage.

Your pictures aren't too bad for a camera phone and some lights, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

How much did this upgrade cost you? I always like it when you can re-use some parts and create a good upgrade for little $ (I'm cheap and I can be quite handy too).

Noctua fans are expensive. I think the 200mm one was 25 bucks and the 80mm one was 20. Its totally worth it for a near silent system that runs this cool though.

Also something I forgot to mention is that the fan on the card sticks out enough so that I couldn't get a sound card into that PCI slot right under it so if I wanted a sound card it would have to be a PCI Expressx1 card stoved into that second PCIe slot. 

That is pretty awesome. Not pretty awesome, that's fantastic! Great job :)