I’ve just replaced my noisy fan in my “powered by ATI” Radeon graphics card with this one from Kustom PCs. A little pricey at £4.42 including first class postage, but nevertheless cheaper than buying a new card.
For anyone else with a similar card who wants to do the same, here’s what I did. Be careful now, and remember it’s not my fault if it goes wrong…
First of all, power off your PC.
OK, so I skipped this step, but it’s sometimes fun to take risks ;)
Once inside the case, gently unplug the fan from the card and carefully unscrew and remove it from the heatsink (which could be sharp!)
At this point you might decide to blow the fan from both sides with canned air to remove the buildup of dust, and add a few drops of oil underneath the sticker on the reverse of the fan body. If you’re lucky, it might solve the problem.
Assuming your fan is still noisy, you could just leave it unplugged, but it’s generally not a good idea – fans are usually there for a reason. If you’re feeling adventurous, try it by all means. I found it didn’t damage my card but it did raise my case temperature enough for the system fan to increase speed – not what I wanted as I was trying to reduce noise. Alternatively you could replace the heatsink with a larger one, giving you passive cooling for your card, although this isn’t something I looked into in any depth. Kustom PCs and QuietPC have some interesting offerings though.
If you’ve decided to go ahead and mount a replacement fan, the rest should be easy. Unfortunately, I found that it wasn’t… read on!
The height of the replacement fan was approximately twice that of the original, so the original screws were not long enough. I didn’t receive any screws with the new fan, so decided to drill the holes in the fan body down until the old screws did indeed fit. Alternatively, you could hunt down some longer screws or botch the installation with Superglue, tape or adhesive thermal compound.
The other major hurdle is that the fan’s 3 pin connector does not fit the 2 pin header on the card. There are a couple of sensible options here: you could plug the fan into a spare header on your motherboard or remove the connector and splice in the one from the old fan. I went for another option – I pulled the white plastic shield around the fan header pins on the card, and plugged the two “power” (black and red) holes into the bare pins. In my case (no pun intended) it just about stays in place.
So that I can give you an easy step to finish off with, you should be able to carefully peel the ATI sticker from the old fan and stick it on the new one.
I tested the card with ATITool and found the card worked perfectly with the new fan, and I was even able to overclock it a little.
If you’re looking for a budget graphics card, the ATI Radeon 9000 series is looking good. This Sapphire 9200SE model from eBuyer boasts 128MB RAM and TV out for £30.93 inclusive of VAT.