How to rebuild your graphics card

Getting a new graphics card for its MSRP in 2022 is nearly impossible, so taking care of your current GPU is more important than ever. Sure, a good dusting with an overpriced can of compressed air works, but you can do more: re-glue it.

Replacing the thermal interface material, or thermal paste, on your graphics card can lower temperatures, reduce noise levels, and improve performance, and in the case of older cards where the original paste has dried out, prolong its lifespan considerably.

Although it can be a bit daunting to do, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Here’s how to redo your graphics card.

How to rebuild your graphics card

Before you can actually rebuild your GPU, you need to tear it down. Since the exact method of doing this is different for each card, a good idea would be to search for YouTube videos of your GPU being disassembled. You can also search for forums or social media threads on your map to see if other people have documented their experiences there.

If you can’t find one, don’t worry – chances are that whether or not you’re using an Asus ROG Strix GTX 1080 or an AMD Radeon Vega 64, there are a few general rules that should guide you through the process. along the process.

Take a photo of your board while it is still assembled, as this will help you determine which screws go where when you need to reassemble the board.

In this example, I’m using an EVGA RTX 2080 TI XC Ultra. Luckily, this board only has four screws that separate the heatsink from the PCB itself. Yours may have more, especially if you’re using a fan-type cooler, in which you’ll need to remove the PCIe bracket.

There are two things to pay attention to once your cooler is separated from the PCB: fan connectors and thermal pads. Depending on the company that manufactures your card, the thermal pads may be more fragile, causing them to tear upon separation. The same can be said for the fan connectors, but if you slowly separate the cooler from the circuit board carefully, you should be fine. If you encounter resistance, stop and recheck everything before continuing.

If your thermal pads tear in the process, don’t worry – you can buy better quality Arctic thermal pads for less than $20.

Note: Some graphics card warranties are voided when you remove the cooler, so if you’re concerned about this, check with your card’s documentation or the manufacturer’s website before you begin.

Step 1: Get an alcohol prep pad and remove the thermal paste. Don’t worry about cleaning the capacitors – you just need to clean the matrix as much as possible. Be sure to clean the cooler’s cold plate as well.

2nd step: Take your thermal paste. I tend to lean more towards higher end pastes, like Arctic MX-4, Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut if you can afford it, or Noctua NT-H1, which is one of the best thermal pastes you can buy. .

If you’re using Thermal Grizzly, be sure to buy Kryonaut, not Conductonaut – the latter is a liquid metal solution which is great, but far from beginner friendly.

Step 3: Put a pea-sized drop of thermal paste on your board die and you can either smear it, or put the cooler back on and let the pressure do the smearing for you. Don’t worry too much about this step, as you can’t really put too much on – it will only mess up, rather than risk damaging anything or having an overtly negative effect on cooling performance.

Step 4: Now is the time to reassemble your GPU. Be careful of any fan cables or RGB cables you may have disconnected during disassembly as I’m sure you don’t want to have to unmount the board again to reconnect your fans. Just do it in reverse order and you’re good to go. All you have to do is reinstall your graphics card and you’re done. Congratulation!

Where to buy everything

You can never be too prepared for an experiment or a cleanse, can you? Luckily, you can have almost all the parts you need to get started. I happened to have the Noctua NH-T1 Paste within easy reach of the air coolers I purchased. the Screwdriver, alcohol, thermal pads And one Antistatic Wristband can be found on Amazon.

When I bought my EVGA RTX 2080 TI XC Ultra in 2019, I never thought that three years later it would still get the frame rates I need in-game. However, with a quick meal , I can still run my board at 100% without high temperatures. Now you can too.

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