Keeping Your GPUs Cool – GPU Temperature

gpu temperature limits

GPU Temperature and mining.

When building my second rig, I decided to go with R9 270s.  I started with 2 GPUs of one flavor, then 2 more of another, and added a third flavor to round out my 5 card set-up.   Slightly painful, but in relatively no time was up and running.

For whatever reason, this rig was hard to keep GPU Temperature cool.  I added small fans which helped, and finally a desk fan that helped a little more, but it seemed the GPU Temperature would continue to creep upward to the point where I could not get these 2 cards to go below 80 °C and on one sunny day found them at 90°C.  OUCH!

Well, it was time to take action as more airflow wasn’t going to fix this problem.   I decided the next step was to check the thermal compound, as I have several R9 270s that run in the 60°C range.  Surely, there couldn’t be a 20°C disparity between cards doing exactly the same thing right next to each other, or could there?

This was a new project for me, so I was a little hesitant not to be an electronics guru, but let me share with you what I went through and my findings.  This particular card didn’t seem to have any seal to indicate I had taken the card apart, but performing this operation could void your warranty.

The victim (GPU) was identified in the early morning when my rigs are coolest and were operating at 81°C as compared to low 60°C for most of my other GPUs.

GPU Temperature - thermal compound

Separating the heat sync from the mainboard required the removal of four spring-loaded screws.  Now sometimes separating can be difficult and require a little twist as the thermal compound can act as a slight adhesive, but in my case, the two pieces separated as soon as the screws were removed.  This was interesting as I expected I would at least have to gently pull them apart.

Well, look here! It looks like plenty of thermal compounds were used, it’s just that very little was where it was supposed to be.  You be the judge, but it looks to me like only 50% of the contact area between the GPU and heat sink actually had a thermal compound on it.  No wonder this card was running so HOT!  I should point out that this GPU was brand new just 30 days ago, and I haven’t had such temperature issues with the other two brands in my rig.

GPU Temperature - the fix 2GPU Temperature - the fix 1

Time to clean up and re-apply the thermal compound.   I used some alcohol, Q-tips, and some cotton rounds.  This is a delicate job, but should only take 5 minutes.  Don’t be over-generous with the alcohol or press too hard.  The compound comes off relatively easily, and we don’t want to be drowning or rubbing off the components.

GPU Temperature - the fix 4GPU Temperature - the fix 3

There we go all clean and ready for a new application of the thermal compound.  Just a small bit is all that is needed.  This is one area where more is not better.

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You can re-assemble at this point, but I wanted to be sure I had 100% coverage so I spread the compound out over the GPU. I just used a small flattened straw and then re-assembled it.

Time for the moment of truth.  Upon re-inserting our victim back into its previous location and running for 10 minutes it was holding a steady 64°C.  After 4 hours it was up to 65°C, and the next morning it was cruising at 62°C!

So SUCCESS!  I was able to reduce my GPU Temperature by more than 15°C, which is not only good for the GPU, and its mates, as they are also operating cooler, but it also helps keep my space cooler not having an 81°C heater running continuously!

Be Safe and find MoAr blocks with a low GPU Temperature!

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