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Silent Video Card Heatsink Installation Instructions

Revision 1.1 © 2000

These instructions will tell you how to install your Silent Video Card heatsink in an easy-to-follow manner. If you are used to taking the lid off your PC, you should find the installation reasonably straightforward. You may like to print out these instructions so you can refer to them while you are upgrading your machine. However, if you are in any doubt as to your own skill in PC hardware installation then for the safety of yourself and your PC, please ask an expert engineer to do the work for you! These instructions are for guidance only and no responsibility or liability can be borne by for damage or loss incurred, (including data loss) howsoever caused, either directly or consequentially. Performing this work may affect the warranty of your PC and/or video card.

IMPORTANT: Before starting, backup the data on your hard drive. You should do this regularly in any case, as hard drives are never 100% reliable and total data loss can be disastrous if no other copy exists. The hard drive is at a higher than normal risk of failure due to accidental damage while a PC upgrade is in progress. Right, now on with the installation!

1. Getting Started

Remove the video card from your PC and place it on a clean work surface with plenty of room for manoeuvre. Do not work on a carpet, (especially not a carpet containing nylon), as static electricity can damage electronic components. If you have an anti-static wristband then wear it.

The picture shows a video card with a noisy fan on it, together with the new silent video card heatsink and two tubes of thermal adhesive (type A and B).

Before proceeding, please examine both the video card and the new heatsink very carefully. Ensure there are no components on the video card which will be in the way of the heatsink fins when it is installed. If there is any doubt that you will be able to mount the new heatsink without obstructions on the PCB, please do not continue.

2. Removing the fan

Firstly, unplug the fan connector from the video card PCB. Then, unscrew the four screws which hold the fan onto the video card heatsink, as shown. The fan will then lift off the card, leaving a bare heatsink in place. If the wires which carry power to the fan are held to the PCB with a blob of glue, then try to pick the glue off to release the wires. If you find this difficult, you may prefer to simply cut the wires on either side of the glue rather than risk damage to the PCB.

3. Removing the old heatsink

Now that the fan is gone, you need to remove the heatsink. Most heatsinks are stuck onto the graphics processing unit (GPU) with thermally conductive adhesive. Therefore the heatsink needs to be carefully prised off, so that the GPU is fully exposed. This needs to be done when the video card is cold, so that the glue is more brittle. If you have been using your video card then you must leave it to fully cool down before attempting to remove the heatsink.

Firstly, place an old credit card (or similar) onto the PCB as shown, to protect it. Then, using a wide flat blade screwdriver, carefully and progressively apply a twisting motion to the handle of the screwdriver, so that the heatsink is slowly lifted from the surface of the chip. After a few seconds it should "pop" off.

4. Cleaning the GPU

Once the heatsink is gone, you need to remove all traces of dried glue which remain. This is most easily done using a sharp knife, holding the blade at an almost-horizontal angle to prevent cutting into the GPU itself. Gently scrape away at the glue and remove all traces, so that the surface of the chip is as smooth as possible.

5. Cleaning the GPU (2)

Once all the old glue has been scraped off, you should use an appropriate solvent (e.g. Isopropanol or rubbing alcohol) to get the surface of the chip absolutely clean. You should also use the solvent to clean the surface of the new heatsink so that it is absolutely pristine (no finger marks).

6. Ready to mount the new heatsink

You should now be at the point where you are ready to begin installation of the new heatsink. Note how clean both surfaces are.

Now is your final chance to ensure that there are no obstructions on the PCB of the video card which will prevent the new heatsink seating fully on the GPU chip. It is easy to determine this by placing the heatsink on the chip and checking clearance all the way around it.

7. Apply the adhesive (A)

Remove the cap from the tube of adhesive marked "A" and slowly squeeze the entire contents of the tube onto the surface of the GPU, spreading the glue as evenly as possible over the entire chip. Take your time - there is no need to rush because the glue will not set until it comes into contact with the curing compound, on the surface of the heatsink. Only apply the adhesive in a well-ventilated area and try not to breathe the fumes.

8. Apply the adhesive (B)

In the same way as in the previous step, squeeze the entire contents of the tube marked "B" onto the surface of the new heatsink. Try to spread the adhesive as smoothly as possible over the entire surface.

9. Final installation

Once both surfaces are covered with their respective adhesives, place the heatsink on the surface of the GPU and press downward. If necessary, slide the heatsink slightly one way or the other, so that it is located centrally. Once you are happy with the position, leave the card flat on the desk for at least 15 minutes in order to give the adhesive time to cure.

(15 minutes later) - Voila! One perfectly silent video card. Carefully re-install it back into your PC, switch on and be amazed at the difference. A high performance video card with zero noise - that's what you call having your cake and eating it!


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