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Video card backplates: do they really make a diff?

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magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
I've only had one card that had a backplate (an ATI 6970) and I removed it.

Is the function of backplates just as a stiffener to keep the PCB from bending?

Do backplates inhibit cooling of the video card?
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
They are there for a couple reasons:

Prevent the card from bending

Looks

To prevent scratching the back of the card by accident

I imagine if it is decently applied it may act as a small heatsink to transfer heat/cool the back of the card a little bit.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Looks nicer with a backplate.

Card is stiffer.

Protects the backside of the PCB.

If there are thermal pads between the PCB and the backplate, it has the potential to lower temps some. Basically, you are adding a large heat dissipation area. The heat transfer is limited by the surface area contact and contact efficiency of the thermal pads.

When I put backplates on my GTX 970s, the temps lowered by about 1 to 2 C.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
They are there for a couple reasons:

Prevent the card from bending

Looks

To prevent scratching the back of the card by accident

I imagine if it is decently applied it may act as a small heatsink to transfer heat/cool the back of the card a little bit.
+1

I have only seen a very rare few back plates have a thermal pad between it and the pcb. If it doesn't it won't cool a thing.
 
OP
M

magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
+1

I have only seen a very rare few back plates have a thermal pad between it and the pcb. If it doesn't it won't cool a thing.

If a back plate (like the one on my 6970) didn't have any thermal pads between it and the PCB would that tend to make the card run hotter?
 
OP
M

magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Are there any downsides to removing a backplate that doesn't have thermal pads to assist in cooling? Would the card tend to sag/bend without the backplate installed?
I'd like to remove the one on my GTX 980Ti because there's not much room between the topmost PCIe slot and the CPU cooler.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
It's going to be less rigid, sure. But remember there was a time not long ago.......wait what am I saying that time is now too....... where there were no back plates or cards without back plates. It should be fine.

However if you are that close with the heatsink, I'd keep it on...what if the heatsink touched the card without the backplate?????!!!!
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
As Joe said, I'd leave it on. It made me very nervous when I had my non-backplate 290x sitting directly under my Phanteks cooler where the fan clips were a couple mm away from touching the back of the pcb.
 
OP
M

magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
The Zotac GTX 780 I have installed there now (in the top PCIe slot) doesn't touch the heatsink, but I think the Zotac GTX 980Ti w/its backplate installed might end up touching the heatsink (a Phanteks dual tower job), which is why I was thinking it might be a good idea to remove it.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Better to touch the backplate than the card itself...
Just put the card in, with the backplate, and see if it hits... not rocket science.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
The Zotac GTX 780 I have installed there now (in the top PCIe slot) doesn't touch the heatsink, but I think the Zotac GTX 980Ti w/its backplate installed might end up touching the heatsink (a Phanteks dual tower job), which is why I was thinking it might be a good idea to remove it.
Funny how there can be two completely different answers from the same data...

Anyway, that tells ME to keep the thing on, honestly... see my post earlier.
 
OP
M

magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
I have ~12mm clearance w/the Zotac GTX 780, but w/the Zotac 980Ti and its backplate there's only 3mm tops. The big problem is that if I install the Zotac 980Ti I won't be able to see or get to the little tab that releases the videocard from the PCIe slot, so since I'm not getting rid of my CPU heatsink the backplate on the Zotac 980Ti is going to have to go.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
You can reach the tab from the 'business end' of the card (front where fans are). I use a small Phillips head to reach it.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
I had the exact same problem mag, it was part of the reason I'm moving from 2 cards to 1, so I can put the card in the one slot lower so I don't have to deal with that.
 

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
I use a long skinny screw driver to pop the tab. That's the easy part.

The harder part is getting it in! :D


 
OP
M

magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
You can reach the tab from the 'business end' of the card (front where fans are). I use a small Phillips head to reach it.

I wish that was the case, but this video card, in addition to being 12.5" long covers more than two slots.

- - - Updated - - -

I use a long skinny screw driver to pop the tab. That's the easy part.

The harder part is getting it in! :D

I can't even see the little tab anymore because it's covered up by the backplate. There's only 3mm clearance between the backplate and the two tower Phantek's heatsink.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Which can? Your signature is still not updated...(how many times are we going to have to ask for your hardware, :rofl:)

You are able to reach it with a dual or triple slot card too. The heatsink shroud cant be below the level of the pcie slot. There is plenty of room to slide a small flathead there and reach it. The card I had was dual slot. ;)

As I said, do it from the other side where the fans are.. slide it perpendicular to the board and press it down.
 
OP
M

magellan

Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
Which can? Your signature is still not updated...(how many times are we going to have to ask for your hardware, :rofl:)

You are able to reach it with a dual or triple slot card too. The heatsink shroud cant be below the level of the pcie slot. There is plenty of room to slide a small flathead there and reach it. The card I had was dual slot. ;)

As I said, do it from the other side where the fans are.. slide it perpendicular to the board and press it down.

It's not an issue anymore, the PCIe clip broke. I pushed down on it too hard.

There's no way in hell I could've seen the PCIe clip under the fan assembly on this card. This card takes up two and a half PCIe slots.