Round 1: How super glue got its name
Creative Labs HSF (Heat sink and fan combo) units on TNT2U’s are worthless. My TNT2 sounded like “Garbage Disposal VS The Fork Deathmatch.”
Removing the heatsink from your nVidia card is actually quite easy. Just use a piece of cardboard or such to cover up your precious green real estate (I learn from earlier mistakes to leave room to make more), put a knife under the heatsink and twist. Not much force is required and the heatsink pops right off.
Now on to the stupidity.
With the heatsink off, I decide to try and run the TNT2U. I had heard that the only reason the heatsink was on there was to make people feel better, and served no real purpose.
WRONG! I found I could play Quake III for a whole two seconds before my Chip got hot enough to nearly burn me.
Time for evil plan #1: Install large socket 7 heatsink, and fan, onto TNT2; massive overclocking to follow.
So I do as I have seen on many hardware sites, and grabbed the good ol’ crazy glue. I attach the heat sink and apply some pressure. Let it dry for 20mins. I boot the PC up, install the Creative Labs overclocking utility, and off I go. Quake III plays for probably 2-3 minutes before I got artifacts and a lockup.
Hardware as normal for me…. Thankfully the Creative Labs overclocking utility allowed me to underclock my card to a whopping 135 core/164 memory. I can now play Quake III for an hour or two before I get a lockup. I decided that was good enough until I got around to getting some thermal compound so I could reattach my heatsink correctly.
Round 2: General malaise
About a month later, I got around to Radio Shack and picked up a small amount of thermal compound for way too much money (almost as expensive as the new arctic silver compound). Armed with this, I decided to reattach my TNT2U heatsink and my CPU’s heatsink.
The latter was an Athlon heatsink with dual fans, zip-tied on. So I open my quiet case and remove my video card and processor.
Lesson #1: Never work on 2 things at once. You can’t tech a problem with 2 unknowns. So I get the knife and try and remove my heatsink.
Lesson #2: They call it super glue for a reason; because its SUPER hard to remove! I seriously thought I was going to pop the cap off the chip. It would not come off.
Lesson #3: Use thermal compound * before * you glue your heatsink on.
Now I’m stuck with my underclocked TNT2U. When I’m putting this back in I also realized that I had aligned the heatsink fans so that the air was directed out from the motherboard and towards it.
That made one side completely useless because the motherboard blocked most airflow out that side. It also made the motherboard hotter.
Lesson #4: If you’re going to attach a video heatsink attach it so that the fins direct the air parallel to the motherboard.
Let’s see what I can do to the PII. I lubed up the old .35um core with thermal compound perfectly, and lined up the heatsink. I grabbed my new bag of also too expensive zip ties, and proceeded to thread them thru the holes in my PII. Grabbed my pliers and started to pull them though.
It struck me as odd that one side was tightening better then the other. Hmmm… what the heck? I give one more yank on the zip tie and I hear a small * crack *. I could almost see the soul of my processor heading off to join Kyle’s.
Turns out that the expensive construction grade zip-ties get slightly wider as they go towards the middle; the zip-tie had caught and caused my processor to bend.
Lesson #5: Take your time, don’t be a frickin dumbass like me.
I finished my work and slapped the processor and video card into the computer, hoping for the best.
Repeat lesson #1: Wasn’t sure if I had screwed up my TNT2U or PII or both. After much searching, I found a friend that had both a video card and processor to lend me. Turns out that my video card was still fine (if you can call 135/164 “fine”).
On closer inspection, I had actually broken a small logic chip off the processor.
I plan to take the PII to an electronics shop in the hope that they have the chip/skills to fix it. If not, looks like its time to build that ASUS K7V/Duron 600@900 I’ve been dreaming of.
(ED. note: And the nightmare of Durons everywhere. “Oooooooh, noooooooo!!!” Great start for the next article, Dave! Wrong mobo. Excellent choice of CPU, though. Rank amateurs can break them, just think what a pro can do. Don’t forget the Golden Orb. 🙂
Maybe this article should be titled “How to destroy your system so you can convince to your girlfriend/wife you need to buy a new PC” : )
(ED. note: I was thinking more like “My Hands Are Lethal Weapons”)
David Craig – “Sometimes, he would accuse heatsinks of being lazy – the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.”
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