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Could really use some assistance with my X800XT/Arctic Cooling solution

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by Dazed&Confused, 9 Mar 2006.

  1. Dazed&Confused

    Associate

    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

    Posts: 15

    Hi there, I'm basically posting to ask if anyone technically (or better still electronically) minded could give me some advice and possibly help solve a problem I've got at the moment. I'll try to keep things as brief as possible whilst giving the relevant information.

    I've got an ASUS X800XT Platinum Edition (AGP) video card, about a month ago it started playing up causing system lock ups in more recent 3D games, and a quick check with ATI Tray Tools GPU temperature monitor showed it was overheating, badly. The temperatures it was hitting were obscene, I could expect a 45 to 55 degree celsius idle temperature and as soon as the card got a sniff of anything requiring 3D acceleration it would shoot through the 60's, 70's, and usually settle at around the early 80 degree mark. In one instance I was horrified to see it hit 96 degrees, thats four degrees away from boiling water and a particularly nasty explosion I imagine, so something had to be done.

    I discovered the Arctic Cooling series of ATI Silencer products, the one in particular for my card was Silencer 4 Revision 2, and I quickly ordered and installed one. I took great care to install the product and was displeased to see just how shoddy a job the original stock cooling solution had been installed with, but nevertheless when the new cooler went on the card it was an instant success. Temperatures went right down, no more system lock ups, highest recorded temperature it reached was 62 degrees celsius and that was throwing everything possible at it as high as 1600x1200 with all detail settings maxed out on things like Far Cry, Doom 3, Fable and what not. So I was very pleased and obviously relieved.

    So here's the problem last week was about the fourth week I'd been running this cooler and everything was going swimmingly, then all of the sudden I'm sat reading some game forums and there is a loud bang/pop noise, my monitor display changes to a horribly garbled pink and blue corruption mess, and this is all followed by a very strong smell of electrical burning. Worried didn't even begin to describe things. After very carefully and cautiously examining things to see exactly what had gone fubar I noticed that on the plastic shielding above the fan for the new cooler there was a horrible brown singe mark, I carefully disconnected the fan's power lead and cautiously booted the PC up to see if it gave a video display and sure enough it did; everything seemed to be working fine except that my lovely new cooler was now nothing more than a glorified (if very good) heatsink, there was nothing extracting the heat from that though. So I reconnected the power lead, started the PC back up and as expected the fan did not turn. Speeding the whole story along a little, I obtained a replacement cooler from the store I bought the original from via RMA, installed the new one noticing a few differences from the original such as a thermal interface pad for the GPU instead of a tube of thermal grease etc. and once again started the system up.

    Unfortunately, the brand new cooler's fan would not turn either, so it appears that when the original blew out it must've surged along the fan's power lead and taken out the actual socket on the video card itself that provides fan power. Fortunately the fan itself was shielded by a thick plastic case so aside from the scorch marks on it, it would appear the video card was left unharmed outside of the fan power socket. I've had the system running a fair number of times since and am indeed posting this on it too, so fingers crossed, that is all that the bang was.

    So here is the problem I have... without the fan turning all I have is a glorified heatsink, and pretty much any other cooler I put on there will be the same story if the fan takes power from the video card's fan socket. The connector seems to be non-standard too, it's not your typical motherboard/CPU/case fan connector. The connector on the board is female, it fits a small three pin male plug with the dimensions of 6mm x 3mm and wiring red/black/yellow, the standardised fan leads are around 9mm x 4mm and black/red/yellow. I was advised by some technical bods at overclockers.co.uk that I might be able to attacked the cooler's fan to the motherboard case fan socket, or the PSU via a y-adapter, so I ordered the extension and splitter leads. On delivery today, however, I noticed the size difference and wiring difference. So a standard lead is not going to work. What I basically need is any advice possible on what I should do, I'd really like to be able to power the fan externally from the video card to minimise any further expense since I just can't afford to replace the video card right now and it's no longer under warranty after several years, are there any other leads I would be able to buy which would convert this cooler's plug to connect to another power supply? Is there any other workaround that would get the fan working again without any further replacements? Since I cannot risk running any kind of 3D application at present for fear of the temperatures getting too high, and I have to pay close attention to the GPU temperature read out even when using the PC for general stuff like this.

    If anyone could help me out I would really appreciate it, I'm really at my wits' end here and would be devastated if my only solution is to replace the card at cost. Cheers to anyone willing to help.

    Photographs below:

    1. Stock ASUS cooler (and lead)
    2. Arctic Cooling ATI Silencer (and lead)
    3. Standard motherboard/cpu fan male connector
    4. Standard PSU female connector
    5. Standard motherboard/cpu fan female connector
    6. X800XT PE board with female socket for numbers 1/2

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

    Posts: 15

    Done a little searching and apparently the smaller connectors I've shown are a standard video card fan connector found on most video cards, only difference is that in many cases they only have two pins - mine is 3 with the 3rd being for the fan's RPM.

    I suppose I *could* remove the male head from the cooler's fan lead (2) and just rewire the black and red leads to a standard PSU one (4), I'd prefer if I didn't have to take the cooler's lead apart though so if possible I'd like to create an adapter cable, with the same socket as you can see on the video card (6) at one end, and a PSU (4)/case fan connector (3) on the other. Problem is I have no idea what that female socket pictured on the video card (6) is called, if I had a part number for it I could maybe even buy a spare from an electronics store, it fits my three pin video card fan lead (1/2) and is smaller than a standard case fan socket (5) - the three pins are also closer together than they are on a case fan (3)/fan socket (5).

    I'm told with a needle tip soldering iron and a lot of care I could remove the actual socket from my video card and use that, but I really don't want to risk it, so short of finding a cheap dead video card and butchering it is there anywhere I could obtain the same type of connector?
     
    Last edited: 9 Mar 2006
  3. pieman109

    Soldato

    Joined: 21 Oct 2002

    Posts: 7,266

    Location: Ealing

    One option is to replace the arctic cooler with a zalman vf700 cooler. The fan uses an adapter for 12v or 5v operation and plugs straight into a standard four pin molex. Check on the zalman site got pictures. Works better inho than the arctic cooler, and you get ramsinks with it too. Hope this helps.
     
  4. TaKeN

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Aug 2005

    Posts: 13,155

    Location: Shropshire

    Can't you just rig up fan connector 2, into fan connector 3.

    Then i think its the same voltage, and it will work :)
     
  5. Street

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Jan 2005

    Posts: 7,957

    Location: Liverpool

    Took the words right out of my mouth there. Have had several Arctic coolers in the past and I've found the build quality and cooling performance is no where near as good as the Zalmans. I just plug my Zalman straight into the motherboard, never had a problem with it:)
     
  6. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

    Posts: 15

    I may look into that in future then, in the meantime I'm looking for a quick intermediary solution that will save me any further expense, already forked out enough over the little fan explosion fisaco as it is. :(

    The AC cooler has a huge aluminium plate attached to the top side of the card you might just be able to see, it's got ramsinks there. Oh, and TaKeN, the plug won't fit into a standard socket like that but I could remove the smaller (1/2) plug and rewire it into a normal one, I'd like to avoid doing that if possible since the cooler is new but it's certainly the easier resolution.
     
  7. Street

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Jan 2005

    Posts: 7,957

    Location: Liverpool

    I would just rewire it... won't take you more than a couple minutes, seems the easiest solution to me.
     
  8. TaKeN

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Aug 2005

    Posts: 13,155

    Location: Shropshire

    Go for the rewire :)
     
  9. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

    Posts: 15

    Ordered a couple of new molex connectors, soon as they arrive I'll see about rewiring the cable to a PSU connector. Cheers for the help guys. :)
     
  10. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

    Posts: 15

    Ok, I now have the fan turning again. I removed 1/2 and replaced it with 4, only the red and black wires are in use though, the yellow one at present is not connected to a power source.

    So the fan is working, but looks like it's turning slower than it was before when the video card controlled it's speed, so here is question number two... would it be safe for me to connect the yellow wire the same way I have done the red/black ones? The PSU states that the yellow wire on it's power cables supply 12V, and the stock cooler states that the yellow wire is indeed 12V too, but what I don't know is whether 100% fan speed is normally dictated by no power down the 12V wire or whether it is powered. Judging by the fan speed at present and the temperatures the GPU reached whilst testing it in games again, it would seem to me that at present it is not running at 100% and I need to power the yellow cable, but I'd need someone who knows their stuff to confirm this for me before I go through with it.
     
  11. TaKeN

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Aug 2005

    Posts: 13,155

    Location: Shropshire

    It should be spinning at 100% IMO...

    There is 12V's coming down the line..

    That motor is 12v so it should be spinning at 100%

    Im probably wrong though :confused:
     
  12. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

    Posts: 15

    No the yellow wire is the 12V one and it isn't connected, at the moment only the red and black are, those are 5V and Ground.
     
  13. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

    Posts: 15

    Ok, a friend of mine is telling me that the actual fan speed is controlled by a sensor on whatever fan unit is installed, and not the video card itself. So regardless of where the power is coming from, be that the video card socket, a PSU lead, a floppy power lead or whatever - the video card will always be able to control the fan speed via the temperature sensor on the cooler. If thats true it means I'm a go for joining the yellow wire to a PSU connector, and I don't have to worry about it permanently receiving 12V power since it'll still be controllable by the video card, and in theory no different from when I had the stock cooler on or the working pre-explosion cooler beforehand?
     
  14. Street

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Jan 2005

    Posts: 7,957

    Location: Liverpool

    If you connect it up to the 12V line, it will spin at its max rated speed. If you connect it to the 12V and the 5V it will be at 7V:)

    When connected to the card, the fan can be controlled by the temperature of the core on the card. The graphics card can regulate the voltage going to the fan when it is connected to it, but if it isn't connected to the card then you have to run it at either 12V, 7V or 5V off of the PSU rails or connect it to one of the motherboard fan headers and use some software on your PC or your BIOS to control the fan speed.
     
  15. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

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    So you're saying it is the graphics card which controls the voltage/senses the GPU temp and not some kind of controller/sensor built into the cooler itself?

    Just to summarise, you're saying that if I want the fan at 100% speed I need to disconnect the 5V (red) wire and connect the 12V (yellow) wire instead?
     
  16. Street

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Jan 2005

    Posts: 7,957

    Location: Liverpool

    Yeh spot on:)
     
  17. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

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    Just gave it a shot and it didn't work, 12V + GND and the fan doesn't turn at all, it only seems to spin when it has 5V + GND. I don't have sufficient leads to test what happens with 12V + 5V + GND yet, that will have to wait till tommorow. Any ideas why 12V did nothing?
     
  18. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

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    The Zalman cooler you guys were referring to was the ZM80D-HP heat pipe setup with the optional fan as well? Reading the Zalman website and checking my motherboard against their specifications for distances it does seem it would fit my video card, will definitely be investing in one when I have the £30 spare I think.
     
  19. ajgoodfellow

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    Joined: 24 Dec 2004

    Posts: 11,343

    Location: Shirley, Solihull, UK

  20. Dazed&Confused

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    Joined: 8 Mar 2006

    Posts: 15

    Which of the two do you think would do the best job of cooling? Also does anyone have any ideas as to why 12V and GND seemingly did nothing?