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Monday, January 3, 2011

How to silence a loud video card fan

A few things to note up front – the steps in this tutorial are specific to my video card. If you have a new super-fancy card, you’ll probably have to improvise a bit as they can be almost completely encased in the cooling system/fan(s). And, I apologize in advance for the rather poor quality pictures, my digital camera is… lacking.
  1. To make your video card run quietly, you’ll need the following items:
    1. A normal sized Phillips head screwdriver
    2. A “small” sized Phillips head screwdriver
    3. Ideally, very fine high-grade machine oil. Sewing machine oil worked fine for me.
    4. A hypodermic syringe. If you don’t have one handy, a sewing needle, sharp thumb-tack or push-pin will also work
    5. A loud video card 

  2. Turn off your PC. Unplug the power to it. Remove the casing from your computer. Most cases have an “easy access door” on the side, but if you have an older PC you might have to unscrew it from the back.
  3. Use the regular size Phillips head screwdriver to unscrew your video card, and carefully remove it from your PC. Place it face up on a wood or plastic surface (nothing metal).
  4. Use the small size Phillips head screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the fan onto the heatsink.
  5. Flip the fan over so it’s face-down.
  6. Fill your syringe with a few drops of machine oil (or sewing machine oil). Use the needle to inject a drop or two (no more) through the sticker into the ball-bearing cavity. You might have to poke around a couple of times to find the cavity – you’ll know you’ve hit it when the needle punctures the sticker.
  7. If you don’t have a syringe and you’re using a sewing needle, thumb-tack or push-pin, poke a hole through the sticker. Carefully put one drop of oil on top of the hole, and use the pin to work the oil through the hole into the ball-bearing cavity.
  8. Now place your finger on top of the small hole created by the needle/pin, and spin the video card fan around a few times. This will work the oil into the bearings.
  9. Screw the fan back on to the heatsink, and plug your video card back into your computer. Plug the power back in, and turn it on. Once your card heats up to the point where the fan turns on, it should be running completely silent! 

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