Replace noisy GTX 770 SC EVGA cooler (blower) with cooler from Radeon 4850 x 2?

May 26, 2018
Scored a GTX770 like this cheap from family. It had been used in SLI with water cooling.

t's noisy as! The blower fan sounds like an old whistle off a blowing kettle and, around 40% use, like an alarm going off (not as loud but gets right on your nerves). Touching the card in use can feel a wobble, I guess from the fan, even after I oiled it.

I'm on a tight budget and this is for my secondary kids gaming PC, not my main PC. Otherwise I'd go and buy a replacement GPU cooler, or better yet a replacement video card (new 1100 NVIDIA series can't come out soon enough and hopefully prices go down!). Considering grabbing a GTX 1050s 2Gb when they get cheaper later. The system is pretty old:

System specs:

  • ■ AMD Phenom II x3 720 (2.8Ghz) CPU
    ■ Zalman CNPS9500A (copper flower) CPU cooler
    ■ 6Gb DDR3 RAM
    ■ GA-MA785GT-UD3H MB
    ■ Corsair HX850 PSU
    ■ Corsair Carbide SPEC-03 case w/2 x front Bitfenix 140mm fans on SYS_FAN ports, rear 12cm fan on 1100RPM resistor. Can't fit a fan up the top of the case due to the big, ol' CPU cooler.
Have played Minecraft Bedrock Edition and that was ok. However, when we tried Fortnite is when I saw FPS jumping around to be unplayable in game (Don't know if that's the CPU's problem). But in the loading screen it hit and exceeded 80C very fast, which doesn't take full CPU power. (System supposedly meets system requirements, except CPU wants quadcore).

Used MSI Afterburner and compared 5 minutes in the loading screen in different scenarios.


    ■ Although the GPU cooler recently put together, removed the cooler, redid GPU paste (with Noctua) and oiled blower with 4 drops of oil into the underside (removed the sticker) of the blower fan. Did two drops at a time and spun fan around upside down by hand for a bit.
    It reduced some of the fan rattle and noise. (The paste had been recently done anyway and cooler is clean, barely used, the fan oiling helped definitely). }

    Did notice some spots from ?leaking on the top of one of a solid capacitors. Also some missing gold on the contacts area below some liquid marks, probably had a coolant leak at some time.

    RESULT: Core clock no longer down-clocking (was before from 1176 to 1084 Mhz) and it can maintain 79C with 39% GPU fan vs 80C with 46% fan before. Good improvement

    ■ Moved the PC to a new case, as above, so it has no cables blocking blower fan intake and a 14 cm fan blowing straight into it. (The top fan is plugged into Sys_Fan2 and that is blowing at a good 1264RPM on startup according to BIOS).

    RESULT: temperatures down by 1 - 2 degrees! That was testing with side and front covers off. With the side panels installed (case has closed clear panel with no side fan) less than a degree hotter.
    Strangely, when I put my hand between the front fan and the intake for the blower (end of video card) the fan gets louder (I guess it's being choked of airflow and straining).

    ■ Test with top front case fan unplugged (that blows into GPU):

    RESULT: Fan up to 47% and temp 81 (probably down-clocked I didn't notice). That front fan seems to reduce temps by 1 - 2 degrees. Strangely, it's much noisier without that front fan helping the blower turn I guess.

    ■ Removed GPU shroud (so heatsink and blower are exposed).. Don't do this at home!

    RESULT: The whistling noise disappeared from the blower!

    Temperatures were terrible though. Got up to 83C in 3 minutes with fan going fastest yet 57% (still couldn't hear it). But couldn't feel any hot air being exhausted out of the case so I guess it was going everywhere inside.

    The heatsink has grooves made for the blower to blow air through and out the rear. Guess the heatsink doesn't work so well without the cover on helping the blower focus the air (and the pressure on the blower, to do so causes the fan noise).

Just thought above may be interesting to others! Couldn't find much info about blower fans anywhere. Have read that the fans often get wobbly and think that may be what's happened here.

MY QUESTIONS (finally) :)

    ■ I know the GTX770 card has a TDP of 230W, but I wonder if I could take a cooler and newly replaced fan off my old Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 x 2 and try that on the video card. The GPU screws are the same width apart and seem the same.

    The old shroud wouldn't fit over, so it'd be commando-style. The good case airflow may help it along (or interfere with the fan not sure).

    The 4850 has 2 x GPUs in one card with two separate, copper based coolers. The TDP of the 4850 GPUs are 110W each. Couldn't find any info on the TDP the 4850 cooler is capable of though. Pics here:

    Is it worth trying? Am I nuts to even consider this? ;-)

    ■ Maybe I should give the video card back and ask for money back (though he's family and I don't have a spare video card except the 4850 x 2 which only one fan comes on for once video driver is installed!).

    If you read the above, one of the capacitors had evidence of leaking on top. Also some missing gold on the contacts area below some liquid marks, probably had a coolant leak at some time.

    ■ Or should I just put up with the noise for now, don't try to play Fortnite with my kid and save for a GTX 960 secondhand or GTX 1050 2Gb later. Would that suit this system as above?

Don't want to waste much more time on this power hungry, hot-running video card.

Annoying how expensive the custom GPU coolers are, more than I've paid for this secondhand card! (Wish family member bought a better cooler for the card in the first place!). Makes me understand how custom coolers, design, fans and are a big part of price of GPU prices. (My main PC is rocking an i5-6400 and a GTX 1060 Windforce OC 3G. So cool, fast and quiet comparatively, love it!

Thanks for reading! Will appreciate your kind advice.

May 26, 2018
Update on this. I hadn't noticed till looking back at photos, family member had left off some of the thermal pads on the MOSFETS and Inductors!!! Lesson learnt there to check second hand video cards thoroughly!

Put thermal pads on all of those. Meaning had to pull apart the GPU again, ho hum. So re-oiled fan, plus redid the thermal paste again (used too much first time). This time just spread a thin layer. Also changed the fan curve profile up in MSI afterburner (was too low originally, less than 50% fan at 80C?)

With the fan, this is the second time I oiled it. Could tell oil was going in both times, as it was not lingering in the well after I spun it around a bit. Could see after my first sewing machine oil, some had leaked out onto the inside of the sticker so I guess it didn't stay in there well. Tried to pull the c-clip off to get it more in there but couldn't get it off. :-(

Kept it facing down and spinning longer this time. It was much quieter at first, then when it got 45% in game, started whistling again at all speeds! Oh the joy and then the disappointment :-( But half an hour later, actually played Fortnite this time not just the menu cos not afraid of it melting, it stopped whistling again. Fan is definitely having issues.

Combination of all the above, it's running around 60C in game and is quieter most of the time. Fingers crossed that fan doesn't whistle again. Looked at replacing the fan but bit overpriced on ebay and have to get from overseas.

Blowers aren't that bad I've found now if the fan isn't whistling. Like how not worrying about heating up everything else in your case. Now getting into overclocking CPU. Unlocked the fourth core on the Phenom II x3 720 yay!

I did look again and the HD 4850 heatsink wouldn't have fit with the base plate anyway and despite having copper at base is smaller overall. So didn't bother trying it.