In the Forums...
Posted: May 30, 1999
Updated: July 15, 1999
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy
You've read through the FAQ and now you want to overclock... right? Maybe you're wondering if the heatsink and/or fan included with your video card is enough... well, test it out. If you're not impressed, consider buying a product from one of the companies below. Here are our favorite items for cooling video cards.
TennMax is a well known name in the hardware scene, because they specialize in cooling products for video cards and CPUs. Although the installation of such products may void your warranty and it is somewhat complicated, they are high quality fans and are worth the moderate price tag. All of TennMax's products have a unique style and are very small. This allows you to easily place them on video cards.
The main TennMax cooling item is the Lasagna cooler. The Lasagna's design is very unique because it is quite powerful but only 10mm thick. It can be placed directly on a video card or even a CPU. I have had great success with TennMax products for overclocking, and this is why I recommend them to most users. Check out the site here for more of their cooling devices. You can read our review of the Stealth V3 Fighter (Voodoo3 cooling fan). Other reviews of TennMax products can be found in our reviews section.
The Card Cooler
The Card Cooler is a cheap and simple solution with plenty of power. It consists of two massive 80mm fans with a metal bracket that holds them together and fastens them to the space above your video card. The Card Cooler actually cools your whole computer. When I installed mine, the temperature across the motherboard dropped several degrees, the CPU's temperature dropped, and my video card would reach higher speeds. And to top all that off, the two 80mm fans were very quiet! Really, I was quite surprised when I plugged this cooler in. I thought it wasn't working because it literally made no noise. It wasn't until I examined it and realized it was really working well. This cooler will work even better if you remove your case cover too.
Another big plus about The Card Cooler is that it will work in combination with your current video card cooler. You will not need to pry off any fan or heatsink. You simply must remove the screw that secures your video card and the slot next to it, place the metal brackets in place, and screw it in. And since you are not disassembling your card in any way, it will not void your warranty. Check out the site here for more info. Read our review of The Card Cooler by clicking here.
3DCOOL sells two products specifically designed for cooling video cards. First, the Super Slot Fan, which is relatively inexpensive but quite powerful. Instead of simply blowing air on a card or across the surface of a video card, it actually sucks the air out of your case. The only bad thing about this cooler is that it's rather wide and might take two PCI or ISA slots. For our review, click here. The other product that 3DCOOL sells for cooling video cards is the Super Duper Slot Fan (what a great name, eh?). The Super Slot Fan lacked in some areas because it wasn't as powerful as some other coolers and it was rather big. Well, the Super Duper Slot Fan is very thin, and has a very high output of 42 cubic feet of air per minute. 3DCOOL's items won't void your warranty and are very easy to install. Also, 3DCOOL is releasing new products all the time.
Computer Nerd, a store that specializes in CPU cooling equipment, also sells a few items to cool video cards. Three coolers, to be exact, that are designed for cooling video cards. I have never tested these coolers, but from the descriptions I have received from people, I understand they work much like TennMax's Lasagna. They are very slim and compact, so they easily fit on a video card. Note that with these coolers, just like TennMax coolers, you will void your warranty if you attach these to a video card. Because I know TennMax coolers are very good, and I have not tested the Computer Nerd coolers, I still recommend TennMax for a direct cooling solution.Check out Computer Nerd's video card coolers here.
Radio Shack sells several cooling related items including fans, heatsinks (at some locations), and of course, the Gamma 28/30 blowers. When you head into the local Radio Shack, look around for small fans and blowers. You may find some very large (150mm) fans that would serve well if placed facing toward your computer. This is a fun place to look for cooling equipment because you can use your own imagination and creativity to make a powerful combination of cooling fans. For example, you can purchase a few 50mm fans and an 80mm fan, then a 150mm fan. Add a few Gamma blowers and you're ready to truly push your card to the limit. You can learn about the mighty Gamma blowers in 3 Fingers' Twin Turbo Voodoo2 Cooler article by clicking here. They're very cheap and incredibly powerful.