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HELP! Graphics card way too hot

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Rev3nant

Registered
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Hello all, I have just finished my first adventure in the realm of water cooling and I can say that it hasn't worked out too well. My graphics card will not idle under 80 C and I can't even sit on a loading screen for a game for more than about 30 seconds without the GPU shooting up to 95 C. Obviously this is unacceptable and I have tried everything I can think of: reseating the card (3 times), reconfiguring the water loop to favor the gpu (give it the coldest, freshest water) etc. I have no idea where to go from here and what the problem may be other than simply contact between the GPU and its waterblock because CPU temps are down in the 30s - 40s. Pictures of the loop and configuration are attached.

Here's a breakdown of my computer and cooling hardware:

General
- Intel core i7 920 (stock clocks)
- 9 GB corsair dominator ddr3 1600 MHz RAM (stock clock and timings)
- NVidia GTX 280 (stock clocks)
- Asus P6t deluxe mb

Cooling
- EK supreme hf full copper CPU waterblock
- Aquacomputer aquagrafx 200 full-cover GPU waterblock
- EK coolstream rads: 1x 280mm, 1x 360mm (with six fans in push-pull config)
- Swiftech MCP35x PWM pump
- Using distilled with PTNuke as coolant
- Bitspower compression fittings
- Bitspower multi-z 280mm reservoir


Any help, or suggestions, or potential diagnoses of the problem would be great thanks!
 

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jason4207

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2005
Location
Concord, NC
It sounds like the block isn't making good contact against the GPU. I have an OC'd GTX280 w/ an aftermarket cooler and the GPU core doesn't get much above 60*C, but the VRMs get pretty toasty; 100-125*C.

Have you removed the GPU block to see if it is mounted correctly? You said you reseated, but I wasn't sure if that meant the PCIe slot or the block.

If you have remounted the block how did the paste look on the GPU? You should be able to tell if good contact was being made by how the paste looks.

Does the block get super hot to the touch (be careful!)? If not then you know good contact is not being made.

What are you using to measure temps? Is it GPU or VRM temps that are getting that hot? Or both?
 
OP
R

Rev3nant

Registered
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
I thought that the lock wasn't making good contact too. When I reseated it (the waterblock on the car, not in the PCIe slot) the paste looked like it was making decent contact, not great but decent. I was afraid to use too much thermal paste in order to get more contact but that seems to be the only way to improve contact. My other idea would be to use a thermal pad on the GPU just to make sure the height tolerances between the VRAM and HDCP unit do not affect contact on the die.

Good point on the block, it does not warm up at all so that is definitely indicative of poor contact.

Using GPU-Z to measure GPU (what is getting hot) and VRM temps (< 60 C at idle) and speedfan to measure CPU temps.
 

jason4207

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2005
Location
Concord, NC
It sounds like the VRMs are making decent contact, but they (or perhaps the RAM) are also pushing the block away from the GPU. Adding more paste to fill the gap is not a good solution. You'll get better results using the stock cooler.

How hot do the VRMs get under load in that first 30 seconds?

Did you use thermal pads on the RAM and VRMs or paste? Pads might create a bigger gap.

I stick to air, so hopefully someone more knowledgeable of full cover water blocks can offer some experience.
 

Conumdrum

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Location
Small town Emlenton, PA
It has to be the seating of the block. The thickness of the thermal pads on the ram/vrm needs to be corrct, too thick and bad contact on the GPU. Maybe a bit more paste, I don't know.
 

JeremyCT

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Location
CT
IIRC, you use thermal pads for the MOSFETs and paste for the GPU and RAM with that block, correct? Did you buy the block used? Did you obtain the correct thickness thermal pads? There are 1mm and 0.5mm pads available. If you used the thicker pads when you should have used the thin pads, you won't get proper contact between the block and the RAM/GPU.

I don't know which pads you're supposed to use with that block, but it's something to look into.
 
OP
R

Rev3nant

Registered
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
I have some backup thermal pads that I believe are 0.5mm so I can try those. Would it be a terrible idea if that doesn't work to use paste on the VRMs in order to get better contact with the GPU?
 

Jezus53

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
From what I understand, using a mix of Pads and paste is not a good idea. The pads will raise the block and you could get a large gap between the GPU and the block. Try putting a pad on everything instead of paste. And make sure you don't under/over tighten because that can cause bad temps as well.
 
OP
R

Rev3nant

Registered
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Ok, mixing pads and paste seemed like a poor decision but the installation guide for the waterblock said to put paste on the VRAM and pads on the VRMs...which is what lead to my question about just paste on the VRMs as well.

So that leads me to another potential fix which I have been leery of given how hot the GPU innately runs: should I use pads for everything INCLUDING the GPU (even though this may severely inhibit the thermal conductivity between the GPU and the waterblock)?

Also, could you elaborate on how over-tightening may diminish performance? I would assume it would simply squeeze the thermal pads enough to increase the quality of the contact.
 

Jezus53

Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Ok, mixing pads and paste seemed like a poor decision but the installation guide for the waterblock said to put paste on the VRAM and pads on the VRMs...which is what lead to my question about just paste on the VRMs as well.

So that leads me to another potential fix which I have been leery of given how hot the GPU innately runs: should I use pads for everything INCLUDING the GPU (even though this may severely inhibit the thermal conductivity between the GPU and the waterblock)?

Also, could you elaborate on how over-tightening may diminish performance? I would assume it would simply squeeze the thermal pads enough to increase the quality of the contact.


It can cause the block to bow a little, creating air pockets, which in turn causes poor contact. Plus you can break something in the process, which would suck.

If the manual says to put pads on VRM and Paste on the VRAM then do what it says, IMO. What does it say about the GPU though, since this what you're having problems with.