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Graphics Card Refurbishment


Arcade Snowmew Of Doom
I thought I'd start this thread because most tech forums are mostly just 'Why my thing broke?' and 'What are your specs?' so why not something new? :) I run a couple Home Theater PCs and I have a 'hand me down' process setup between and my workstation for graphics cards. When my workstation gets a new GPU, that GPU will go to the living room HTPC, and the living room HTPC's GPU goes to the bedroom HTPC/Server. The living room machine is an i7 3770K with a 1GB Radeon HD 6950 for graphics. I bought the HD 6950 used off a friend last spring and I've been using it since, I expect it to be in use for another two and a half years. Having been running for four years already it's cooler is a little worn and in general I wanted it to be quieter since it runs in my living room. Time to refurbish it!

As you can see here, it also had some cooling issues as shown by the FurMark stress test pushing the GPU to 97'C.


The Arctic Accelero Mono PLUS was chosen for it's compatibility and promises of lower noise compared to stock coolers. ( Link )

The original graphics card with it's stock cooler:

Stock cooling assembly removed:

The Accellero kit included thermal adhesive and heat sinks to apply to the RAM so I did that even though it does not seem to be needed by the graphics card:

And after one hour for the adhesive on the heat sinks to cure I connected the main cooler. It's not pretty, it's big and not pleasing to the eye but it's a nice big fan that doesn't run too loud and a good chunk of copper and aluminum:

Finally we boot it up again. It boots up fine, it's much quieter and it's time to run it through FurMark again and see a nearly 30'C improvement in temperature. Even when under stress testing load the card is MUCH quieter than it was before. Since this machine will operate till Oct 2015 in my living room HTPC and then spent two more years till Oct 2017 in my bedroom HTPC this'll give it the life it needs.


I've used a similar, smaller kit already on the Radeon HD 6850 that's on my current bedroom HTPC/Server. In that case the cooler fan had formed a rattle and while it cooled effectively, it would have driven me crazy at night. Since I was pleased with that kit I moved on to this one for another refurb job. The HD 6950 may have come out in 2011 but it's a pretty capable card and it was the third fastest card in the entire HD 6000 series. This living room HTPC not only plays movies but also does Steam gaming and it's effectively a 'Game Console' to me. It should even run GTA5 decently if the game is ever released.


Something I'd love to see is a low-power GPU like a GTX750 (or 760? I forget which is Maxwell) with a passive cooler on it. You might have to rig up some cooling fins for the memory and other chips on the board, but think about how cool it would be (pun intended) to have a completely fanless gaming pc!


Yeah it's more about the idea than any actual practicality, hah. My PC is very quiet, but it certainly isn't silent.
135 watts, though, wow! that's significantly more that the CPU coolers i was thinking of..
Now I'm imagining an open-air rig with dual GTX960s (which would outperform a GTX 980!) with absolutely no moving parts... mmmmm >=D