Modernization of the video card cooling system – down with noise and heating!

In performance mode, the video card remains the noisiest and warmest component of the PC. It can be very uncomfortable due to the noise it generates. How to deal with this and is it possible to implement a quiet system even under load? Let’s consider in practice.

Why change the cooling system
An old video card that was not helped even by cleaning and replacing thermal interfaces , one or more fans out of order, the inability to find an analogue or a noise level that does not suit the user – there can be a lot of reasons for changing the cooling system.

The video card considered in this material is a typical representative of the middle segment. Two heatpipes, a radiator and two 90mm fans, coupled with the factory setting, provide mediocre cooling and very high noise levels under load, as evidenced by numerous user reviews .

GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2060 D6 6G (rev. 2.0) [GV-N2060D6-6GD rev2.0] 64 999 *
Adjusting the rpm and other parameters saves the situation a little, but in productive applications the level of noise and hum from the cooling system still remains uncomfortable.

Please be aware that removing warranty seals and stickers will void your warranty repairs.

Implementation options
To upgrade the cooling system, you will need one or more standard fans, which are used on processor coolers or in the case. It would seem, what’s so difficult? Connect the 4-pin fan connector to the video card in the usual way and that’s it. But this is hindered by one important nuance.

The fan connector on the video card does not have a standard 4-pin connector, but a smaller version of a mini 4-pin. Therefore, an adapter is required to connect. But this is not the only pitfall that the user may encounter when implementing a custom cooling system. Let’s take a closer look at the various installation options.

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The easiest and cheapest way: connect to the motherboard using a 4-pin connector for case fans. If you are going to connect several fans to one connector, then it is worth considering their total consumption. As a rule, standard board connectors are rated for a maximum current of 1A, less often 2A. You can clarify this in the technical documentation for the board.

It is impossible to exceed this value by hanging several fans on one connector with a total high power consumption. this will damage the connector.

Because the motherboard means do not allow you to directly regulate the cooling system of the video card; additional software will be required. For example, the popular Argus Monitor utility . It allows the fan to curve according to heating and has many settings.

Option 2

The fans are connected via an adapter directly to the video card. This option requires a 4-pin -> mini 4-pin adapter.

The advantage of this option is the ability to control the cooling of the video card without any third-party software, using the manufacturer’s proprietary utility. The Active Fan function is also available in this case, but with some caveats. Due to the difference in the characteristics of the fans used, they will react to shutdown, but instead of a complete stop, they will rotate at the lowest possible speed.

Fan Arctic Cooling P12 PWM PST [ACFAN00120A]

Option 3

This implementation, in addition to the 4-pin -> mini 4-pin adapter, will also require a splitter with a separate power supply. The fans are connected to the connector of the splitter highlighted in red (for correct display of the rpm), in turn, the splitter is connected to the PC power supply using the SATA connector. Then the splitter is connected to the video card using an adapter. Although this option is more difficult to execute, it compensates for this with great advantages. Firstly, it is the control of the cooling system using a proprietary utility.

Secondly, the considered nuance in option 1 with the consumption of fans and the connector’s capabilities does not disappear anywhere when using option 2. As a rule, the connector on the video card for the fans is designed for a load of 1A. And it is not always possible to establish the approximate consumption of the drain fans, the sticker with the technical data can be trite to be erased. The use of a splitter with a separate power supply solves this problem and allows you not to worry about the possible excessive load on the video card connector.

If you can determine the consumption of drain fans, then choosing a replacement will not be difficult. The main thing is to follow the rule and take fans with equal or less consumption so that there is a margin.

You can use a simple splitter or buy daisy-chain solutions to connect multiple fans to one connector . This approach is often used by manufacturers in stock systems for more accurate wiring.

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Before installing a custom cooling system, you will need to dismantle the standard system. To do this, we remove the video card from the PC, having previously disconnected the cables for image transmission and power supply, as well as unscrewing the retaining screws and snapping off the latch in the PCI-E slot.

In this implementation of the video card, no warranty seals will be damaged, and to remove the fan shroud, you will not need to remove the entire radiator. We unscrew the four screws in the indicated places. The designs of video cards can vary greatly, so before disassembling, you should familiarize yourself with an overview of the device, which can be found on the network for almost every model.

After removing the screws, the plastic casing with the fans becomes accessible for removal, but there is no need to rush. The cable for connecting the fans is very short and abrupt removal of the cover may damage the cable or connector. To begin with, we slightly raise the casing and when convenient access is provided to the connector, we disconnect the wire.

We connect the fans in a convenient way for you. This can be done using spacers in the form of screws and nuts, if the case allows it, or you can use the usual plastic ties that can be found in the motherboard kit. We connect the fans to each other with ties, and with the next pair we attach them to the video card.

Additional help for cooling will be air ducts (frames under each fan) and air flow guides (similar to those used in PSU fans), which can be made from improvised means. It remains to install the video card in the PC and connect the necessary wires.

Comparison of stock and custom cooling system
To visually compare the performance of cooling systems, we will test them under load. To do this, we will use a 20-minute stress test run in FurMark utility. The indicators will be recorded using the TechPowerUp GPU-Z program. The tuning profile set in the Aorus Engine will be unchanged.