VOGONS


First post, by appiah4

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The fan on the heatsink is dead so I want to replace it with a brand new GPU cooler, seeing as it has standard peg holes.. However the original heatsink seems to be fixed with a thermal adhesive of some sort - how do I take this think off?

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Brute force it by twisting it? Leave it in the deep freezer for a bit and hope it gets more brittle? I don't want to cause it too much harm.

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Reply 1 of 20, by The Serpent Rider

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Warm it up and use something like wooden ruler with a flat head screwdriver as a lever.

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Reply 2 of 20, by matze79

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Replace only the FAN, remove the Screws ?

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Reply 3 of 20, by appiah4

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matze79 wrote:

Replace only the FAN, remove the Screws ?

That was my first choice but a variety of vga coolers I ordered did not produce a compatible fan.

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Reply 4 of 20, by Richo

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appiah4 wrote:
matze79 wrote:

Replace only the FAN, remove the Screws ?

That was my first choice but a variety of vga coolers I ordered did not produce a compatible fan.

30 mm fan should work otherwise:
Get a solder iron or anything you can tranger heat through at reasonable levels. Keep your finger on the heatsink, as soon as it starts to becoming to the touch stop heating it and start turning the heatsink gently in a rotating fashion from the left to the right without using to much force. This way it should come off without damaging the chips.
The heat is required to loosen the grip of the old thermal paste. Using a screwdriver can damage the chips and most people here should know better then using a screwdriver as a lever 😵

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Reply 5 of 20, by appiah4

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I don't think there is thermal 'paste' underneath, it's probably thermal 'epoxy' so I'm more considering freezing the thing and twisting it, hoping it will become more brittle and snap off.

EDIT: No, that didn't quite work 😒

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Reply 8 of 20, by Sammy

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I did it remove with a screwdriver... but i damaged some connections to the Chip...
There is a scrat in the PCB. But it is not deep enough to break connections... card still work.

Next time i will try another Method.

Reply 11 of 20, by The Serpent Rider

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That's why you need something between PCB and screwdriver to avoid damage (wooden ruler in my case).

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Reply 12 of 20, by Richo

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The Serpent Rider wrote:

That's why you need something between PCB and screwdriver to avoid damage (wooden ruler in my case).

don't encourage people to use crude and possible harmfull techniques to remove a heatsink, there are much safer options out there which are less likely to damage old hardware. Its bad enough alot of old hardware gets thrown away, lets refrain ourselves from destroying them ourselves 😲

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Reply 13 of 20, by appiah4

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Richo wrote:
The Serpent Rider wrote:

That's why you need something between PCB and screwdriver to avoid damage (wooden ruler in my case).

don't encourage people to use crude and possible harmfull techniques to remove a heatsink, there are much safer options out there which are less likely to damage old hardware. Its bad enough alot of old hardware gets thrown away, lets refrain ourselves from destroying them ourselves 😲

I ended up giving attaching a 40MM fan on top of it with zip ties but to his credit it really IS impossible to remove this thing without crude methods.

It's NOT thermal paste that's keeping this heatsink fixed to the GPU, there are no screws or rubber plungers. It's practically GLUED onto the GPU with apparently some thermal epoxy. Who thought this was a clever thing to do in early 2000s (my Radeon 8500 also has a similar HSF, but at least it's fan is readily available) must have been out of his mind. I deep froze the gpu and forced it off - no go. O heated it with a hair drier to the point I could barely touch it - no go. I pulled at it, I twisted it, I levered it - NOTHING removes this thing.

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Reply 14 of 20, by Richo

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appiah4 wrote:

I ended up giving attaching a 40MM fan on top of it with zip ties but to his credit it really IS impossible to remove this thing without crude methods.

It's NOT thermal paste that's keeping this heatsink fixed to the GPU, there are no screws or rubber plungers. It's practically GLUED onto the GPU with apparently some thermal epoxy. Who thought this was a clever thing to do in early 2000s (my Radeon 8500 also has a similar HSF, but at least it's fan is readily available) must have been out of his mind. I deep froze the gpu and forced it off - no go. O heated it with a hair drier to the point I could barely touch it - no go. I pulled at it, I twisted it, I levered it - NOTHING removes this thing.

the card was never supposed to live that long 🤣
anyway thermal epoxy can be removed several ways:
- freezing it then cutting it with a knife (scalper works best)
- desolve it with isopropanol, just get a small container that fits the card and submerge it in iso propanol. Let it do its work for a few days and stir the isopropanol every day, then try turning it off the chip if not try cutting it with a scalpel. Don't worry Isopropanol is not bad for the card, its used to clean them and also dissolve thermal paste etc.
- Heating it with a hair dryer or solder iron like I suggest at first

what method works best depends on what thermal adhesive they used and how long it has been glued together. Had this very problem with a Voodoo 3 2000 and got it off with second method (sad thing was that it also desolved the inscription on the chip)

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Reply 15 of 20, by nforce4max

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Normally the cooler should pop off with minimal effort especially when the thickness of the heatsink is rather thin allowing it to flex without causing damage to the card. The other is to use the freeze method with duster can turned upside down allowing the contents out as a cold liquid which causes the heatsink to shrink just enough to crack the epoxy. I even had a card where the cooler popped off in shipping 😮

90% or stronger rubbing alcohol works great on removing the epoxy, I wish that you hadn't done any damage to that card given how much they are worth now. Had one myself but lost it along with the rest of my collection to arson years ago (sucks to know people).

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Reply 16 of 20, by appiah4

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I've done no damage to the card so far (aside from freezing it and heating it once). Its fan was already dead so it was discarded, that's all.

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It still works. It's just fairly impossible to find one of those AddA fans anywhere.

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Reply 17 of 20, by vvbee

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I have some doubts whether the hairdryer with "could barely touch it" (<60 c?) got it notably warmer than what the gpu pushes in normal operation. My dryer can barely get a temp sensor to 80 c if I stick it inside the nozzle and wait around, so it for sure takes some time and effort to heat things up with it. You may or may not break it, who knows.

Reply 18 of 20, by kanecvr

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Using brute force might damage the ball grid array (thing that holds the chip to the board). Remove the fan, then heat up the heatsink with a hairdryer util hot, then gently twist off the heatsink.

DON'T PULL IT OFF or try to PRY IT OFF!!!!!

Remove the leftover glue using concentrated isopropyl alcohol or WD-40 contact cleaner.

Reply 19 of 20, by swaaye

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When these garbage fans were dieing even back in 2000-2001, I used to freeze the heatsink with the compressed air upside down trick, pop them off with a credit card and screwdriver, and then clean the glue off with Goo Gone or Oops (xylene,acetone? mixture that really annihilates that glue without damaging the chip package). 😀

Kanecvr's idea might be best though.