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Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5, Part 2

by: dsmith - May 07, 2006

Installing the Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5

These are the steps:

  1. Remove the video card from the computer. I can't imagine anyone trying to do this with the video card installed, but still...

  2. Remove existing fan.

    • Unplug the power connector from the fan to the card.

    • Unscrew the fan from the back of the card. The screws on my BFG 6800 GT did not seat a standard phillips screw driver well, but with a little pressure I was able to loosen them.

    • Congratulations! You have just voided your warranty!

  3. Clean all paste residue. There were 8 memory chips as well as the GPU that I cleaned. I was able to use a soft tissue and gently rub the paste off the chips. As with every step, care needs to be taken to not damage your card.

  4. Install new fan.

    • Place the fan upside down for installation.

    • Remove the mounting backing and the rubber shield from the new fan by removing the four post screws

    • Place the graphics card by the fan and plug in the power supply. On my 6800 GT, I had to loop the power cord over the fan. It will not fit underneath the plastic air scoop.

    • Remove all of the paper backs from the heatsink paste for the memory modules ( 8 ) and the plastic shield on the paste for the GPU.

    • Place the graphics card (as it is much lighter) over the posts on the fan. Alternately tighten the posts to get an even tight fit. Check for space between the paste and the memory/GPU.

  5. Install passive memory cooler

    • Keeping the card upside down, remove the thermal pads from the included strip and place them on the back side of the memory modules on the graphics card. There are 8 of them.

    • These thermal pads are double sided sticky and the backing pad will need to be removed next. Arctic Cooling recommends using a cutter. All I had was a banana knife; it worked but was a bit awkward.

    • Place the passive cooling plate indentation side down over the sticky thermal pads and press firmly over each module to attach.

  6. Re-install video card into your computer. This is a more important step than it may seem...

Performance

First of all, there is a reason that this is called a silencer. I didn't think that this thing was working when I first turned it on. It is much quieter than the stock fan. This is not the reason that I bought the card, but it should be noted that it does its job in quieting things down.

Let's take a look at my GPU temperatures now:

  • Immediately at boot up it records at 51C. 11 Degrees cooler than the stock fan.

  • Letting it sit for 15-minutes at Idle raised the temperature to 54C. Still 8 Degrees cooler than the stock fan.

  • 30-minutes of Game Play on Civilization IV at 1600x1200 with no underclocking (running at 350 MHz) gave a temperature of 71C. 13 Degrees cooler than the stock fan! And the stock fan temperature was recorded with a clock speed of 300 MHz).

Observations

  • The stock card is attempting to keep everything occupying only 1 slot. Therefore there are some inherent design restrictions that prevent the stock cooling device from performing as well as the Arctic-Cooler.

  • There was disturbing little thermal paste on the GPU from the stock fan.

  • There are three things which I believe makes the Arctic Cooler achieve the cooler temperatures:

    1. Blowing the air out of the back of the system, instead of co-mingling with the ambient air inside the case

    2. Better thermal paste and better contact to GPU and memory modules

    3. Bigger cooling fins

  • I did try to overclock my video card while playing Civilization IV. Using a overclocking optimizer, the core speed was set to 435MHz with the memory timing set to 1.1GHz. After 20 minutes the game crashed as the card overheated. What the optimizer felt was adequate temperatures for overclocking did not agree with Civilization IV. That being said, with the cooler temperatures, the more likely overclocking can be more aggressive while being stable.

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