The Benefits of Peltierizing The GeForce

I have been struggling for some time now to get my 500E chip passed a rather acceptable 722MHZ. The roadblock is of course the Leadtech GeForce. Even with the 1/2 bus speed AGP setting offered by my Soyo 6VBA 133 Motherboard, I found myself limited to the 144 MHZ Bus speed. Others have tried adding a Peliter to the GeForce, but with a somewhat different goal in mind – overclocking the GeForce itself.

However admirable this may be, my goal was somewhat different. I wanted to see if a low power cooler could nudge the Big “G” into accepting a higher bus speed. Though the goal is different, the methodology remains the same. The following then is my account of how I installed the peltier and the results thereby obtained.

    My System:
    Soyo SY-6VBA 133
    Pentium 111 500E @ 722
    Soltek 370 to Slot 1 Converter
    192 MEGs of Generic PC 100 MHz Ram
    Western Digital 9.1 Gig. Hard Drive
    Toshiba 40X C.D. ROM
    Iomega ZIP Drive
    Diamond Monster MX300 Sound Card
    Leadtech Winfast GeForce 256 Video Card
    Cyborg 3D Digital Joystick

Joe Citarella, who has been continuously helpful throughout several of my cooling projects, not only suggested this experiment but dug about in his sack of goodies and came up with a 30 Watt Peltier, heatsink and fan. Many thanks Joe for getting me off the dime.

First I had to remove the glued-on heatsink and fan that Leadtech provided. A wretched and miserable sort of thing at that. I pried it off by inserting a safety razor and prying. Easy enough. However this left a LUMP of glue covering half the slug’s surface. I dragged out the round mirror I used to lap (sand flat) my previous Pentium, 1’s 2’s and 3’s. I wasn’t trying to lap here, just get the darn glue off.

But as I worked I saw that old copper shine beginning to peek out at me and..and..I LOST IT!! I lapped down until every bit of copper shone bright and luxuriously up at me. Then came the FEAR! Had I gone too far? Was the GPU somehow different from a CPU? Would my wife let me buy a new Geforce if I wrecked this one? Could I blame it all on Joe? What were Geforce’s going for now anyway?

As the adrenaline slowly dissipated, I reconsidered and reminded myself that overclocking ANYTHING was a moral good, that it extended the usefulness of a thing and therefore conserves the world’s resources. And that’s good, isn’t it…isn’t it? So I’d probably be all right if I just got on with it.

Next I took some precautions. Even a low powered peltier can bring down the wrath of mildew. Condensation can destroy any and every thing electrical. This must not be!! The first such precaution was to spray my entire GeForce card with conformable compound. That’s the stuff Motherboard makers spray on their boards to make them waterproof. I sprayed the entire card, both sides, leaving out only the GPU (Graphics processing unit) slug and the copper tines that actually plug into the AGP slot. I let it dry for two hours.

Now, how to attach the peltier and heatsink-fan to the card? I waited till now to ask myself this question so I wouldn’t chicken out. Glue…Some kind of glue. Joe had suggested not using glue right off as it’s Soooo… permanent! Joe said I could try using zip ties though the old holes in the cards until I was sure this was going to work. But ..the..holes…didn’t…match..UP!! What was I to do? HMMM…glue…Glue..GLUE!!! Besides Joe lives in Conn. and I live in Seattle; Joe can’t see me, and anyway didn’t I already decide this was all his fault? I’m just trying to clean up the mess he created by sending me this peltier in the first place. What kind of glue…something strong, something super, SUPERGLUE!!

The large round copper slug (twice the size of a P-2) is surrounded by just enough mounting material to put one teeny tiny drop in each corner. So first I covered the slug with some thermal compound. Then I cleaned up the corners with rubbing alcohol, waited for the alcohol to evaporate..20 min. Then, (wondering if I shouldn’t make a quick phone call to make sure Joe was still in CT) I did the deed; placed the peltier already attached to the heatsink-fan combo carefully on the GPU, triple checked to see that it was centered.

I then balanced a five pound vase (One of my wife’s treasures) on top to give it extra stick’em. I waited a half-hour. Terrific! I put the vase back before SHE got home, (why worry her with the details?) Now to seal The ENTIRE AREA around the heat sink so that no air could reach the peltier, no air, no condensation; no condensation, no zapped electrical parts. For this I was on surer ground – I actually had posts from others to go by. Posts I could show my wife if things went wrong.

I used General Electric Kitchen and Bath Silicone 2. It comes in a squeeze tube and was actually the easiest part to do. The heatsink actually overhung the GPU and the peltier raised it a bit as well. So I angled the Silicone up under the heatsink leaving as little space as I could behind the silicone wall I was sealing the heatsink to the card with. This I let dry for 2 1/2 hours. But Hey what about the back of the GPU chip? It gets hot too, you know.

I dug around among the ten thousand things I keep in a box with which I pretty sure I can fix most any thing smaller than Global Warming. AHAH! – a Fan. Where’s my Shoe Goo? I attached this fan (about the size of the stock 500E fan) to the edge of the GeForce card so that it would blow across the back and keep hot air from congregating and loitering about.

Results, There are supposed to be results! Hmmm. Well I didn’t get to 750MHZ – well not by this means. More about that later.
What I did get was the ability to overclock my Geforce pretty outrageously. Before I started overclocking, the one difference I found was the ability to add 32 bit rendering to my 1280X1024 setting, something that prior to peltierizing dragged my joystick speed to a crawl. My Joystick now seems light as a feather and quick as a 500E on an overclocked bus.

Then I thought, “Can’t hit 750? What can I do?” Overclock the GeForce! How’s a 180MHz memory engine and a 150MHz clock engine running at AGP x2 sound? OK I’ve read of higher clocks, too. But remember this is a relatively low power peltier. So I don’t want to push things too far. I didn’t install a thermometer.

Now about hitting 750MHz and still being able to play games. Well, thanks to Mike Cruz, Secret Squirrel, Murphy Janet, all of whom answered my questions, and Mook who originally asked the question, I now know how to use Power Strip to force X1 AGP down my GeForce’s throat. All these guys hang out in the Overclockers Forum answering many of the questions that plague us, we who dare to overclock! And Yes I did pay EnTech for Power Strip! I’ve been using Power Strip for a couple of years now. The AGP thing is just one more good use to put it to. I can be reached in the forum, or if you’re really, really shy, email me Here.

Best wishes,
Daniel Edgar

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