Care and feeding of your CUDA cards.


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Profile Tw34k3d
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Message 895766 - Posted: 17 May 2009, 4:27:46 UTC
Last modified: 17 May 2009, 4:31:13 UTC

Hey all.

I just got done cleaning out my Core i7 this afternoon. You would not believe the crap that those Nvidia 295's had inside them! Okay, maybe you would, but bottom line is, I have had them for only a few months now and there was enough crap in there to raise the temps by over 10 degrees.

With the advent of CUDA 2.2, these cards started running really hot. Too hot. But the main problem was that hair, dirt, carpet fibers, styrofoam and other things were clogging the fins of the heatsink in the cards.

Those squirrel-cage fans just wind any animal hair around them. What escapes the fan gets clogged in the fins of the heatsink. Problem is, unless you want to dig DEEP into the card, those fins are not easy to clean out.

Moral of the story is, for those of you that have these things, and you're running on air like I am, you may want to shutdown and clean them out fairly often to avoid failure and high temps.

I know there will be those that think this silly, but if I had left those things for too much longer they might have faied. I will be clearing mine out on a monthly basis now.

Aside from that, I took the opportunity to zip-tie eveything up nice and neat and cut an exra hole in the bottom of the case so the lower 295 can get air. The Gateway FX-6800's have little room between the bottom video card and the bottom of the case. I measured back appropriately and carved a nice hole in the bottom so it too can feed on colder air.

I have also finished my cooling project that I started earlier this week. Thios machine generates so much heat that the room is toasty all the time. SO I decided to build a venting system to force all that hot air out of the office.

Using 2"x34"x12" of foam cut to fit my window, I installed a 6" drier type vent into the front, placed a good sized 6 inch high-rpm fan inside (insluated), then capped it all off with a 6"to 4" pipe adaptor. From there I use aluminium flext tube to the back of the PC where I have fashioned a cover to slip over the back of the machine and suck the hot air out of the case and out of the house.

This will aid the fans in the case by generating some negative pressure on the back end, hoping more high-volume cooler air comes in from the front and bottom of the case.

This has always been my problem with my main SETI rig. In the winter it's great, but in the summer it just unacceptable. But not for any longer.

I will post some numbers and pictures when I get around to it if anyone is interested.

Oh an yes, I cleaned up the floors and put away all the tools. Yea Me!

Rob
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Message 895790 - Posted: 17 May 2009, 5:39:59 UTC

Thumbs up!

I can second everything Rob is saying. I recently, during work outage, decided to take a case/heatsink off a 200xx and was amazed at the stuffs in there since December. Ended up puting the heatsink back on without the case for fun. Had to use a different fan then built in without duct so don't advise anyone else do this. Also, the expensive card is now very prone to shorting as all connections are exposed. It does run ~12-15 degrees cooler in this configuration.

Anyways, thanks for posting this and high five on your rac. Glad to see it will continue to rise.

Keep those cards cool and happy crunching! *waves*

-Brandon
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"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not Eureka! (I found it!) but rather, 'hmm... that's funny...'" -- Isaac Asimov

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Message 895820 - Posted: 17 May 2009, 7:42:16 UTC - in response to Message 895766.

Don't forget the walls and any other surface nearby where dust can stick, I've also had to deal with that and I zip tied the cables leading to the two PCs(Not the power cables though), I'm using a Coolermaster HAF 932 case.
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Message 898989 - Posted: 24 May 2009, 15:54:38 UTC
Last modified: 24 May 2009, 15:55:41 UTC

To the OP:

Can you post the pictures of your setup? I have the same problem with the Gateway case..but mines the DX4800 case.

How are you guys cleaning the gpu? I'd rather not take mine apart..could I just use a vacuum hose on it?

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Message 899216 - Posted: 25 May 2009, 2:46:52 UTC - in response to Message 898989.
Last modified: 25 May 2009, 3:09:31 UTC

Here's the images of my exhaust project.

This first image is the inside of the FX-6800. Notice the GPUs are at the bottom. The exhaust of these cards not only comes out the back, but also out of the top of the cards, back into the case. I tied everything up inside and gave it plenty of room to breathe.

What you can't see, at the bottom of the case I cut out a 4 inch square section just below where the bottom GPU's fan intake would be. I put an old power supply fan grate over the hole to keep large things from getting inside. I also had to cut a hole of similar size in the plastic base the case sits on. It doesn't go all the way to the floor but air does get in from the side and that's good enough.

That red thing between the GPU's is a molly. The kind you use to anchor screws into drywall. I am using it to separate the GPU's just a tad. Gravity tends to want them on top of each other.

Shameless plug for Dr. Pepper is unintentional. :)



This next image is of the back of the case, showing the cover I made to go over the back. I made this using a sheet of tin, some aluminum duct tape and a 4 inch metal hose attachment. I cut the metal to be 4 inches taller than the case and 8 inches wider than the back of the case. So when I cut it out, I could fold it such that there is 4 inches on the top and sides to cover the back of the case. I cut the tin by scoring it with a sharp object and wiggling it till it snapped. Using tin shears would have left it to jagged and ugly.

I used the aluminum tape to hold the corners together and also seal the 4 inch drier adaptor to the metal cover on the inside. The aluminum tape will not shrink or get all sticky and fall off when it is exposed to the heat from the computer like other types of tape will.

Since the back of my case faces away from the window, and the case is pretty close to the wall, I opted to get a plastic 90 degree 4 inch elbow to keep the aluminum hose from getting kinked.

Along the inside of the cover I made, where it actually makes contact with the sides of the computer case, I used some weather stripping to make a better seal and to keep from scratching the case.

Notice that the wires come out of the bottom of the cover. I opted to not put any holes in the back of the cover I made for any of the cables. It doesn't make much sense to do that since you would have to route the wires before putting the cover on and if you didn't get a good enough seal around the hole the cabes come in, you're just sucking outside air in instead of the hot air from the case. A small length of weather stripping both on the bottom of the case and the bottom of the cover will make a nice seal around the cables if you line them up horizontaly with out overlap.



This next image shows The front of the case and the hose running along the wall behind my desk. I had to use a 12 foot hose. The 8 footer I originally bought just didn't stretch far enough and I ended up busting it. Live and learn.

Notice the small white dot on the front of the computer about half way up. Thats an older "mod" I made to the case. I cannot stand to not have a hard disk activity indicator, and this machine came without one. It bothered me enough to fix it. In addition, there was also a jumper available on the motherboard for network activity. Theres one of those on the front now too.



This next image is of the window placement of the actual exhaust. I opted to use styrofoam as a mount. It's easy to cut and shape and is a nice bright white on one side just like the window itself. I was unable to find a small sheet of this insulating styrofoam so I had to buy a whole sheet. It's a full 2 inches thick and was 8 feet long. I had it cut into 4 peices just to get it home. This was the most costly part of the project.

I cut one section of the foam 12 inches high and 32 inches long. I then cut a dove tail by notching the short side about half an inch on eiher side. This allows for the styrofoam to actually sit inside the groove of the window so that wind won't knock it about and rain won't get in. The sliding part of the window actually sits right on the top and is nice and snug. This foam is also laminated on both sides so it won't crumble. Yea!

In the middle of the foam I cut a round hole just less than 6 inches in diameter. Inside this I squeezed the 6 inch drier exhaust. Having cut the hole a little short, it's nice and snug. I had to cut about 6 inches off the tube due to it just being too long. At the end of that I have a 6 inch to 4 inch reducer so the 4 inch hose will fit on.



This last image is looking inside the exhaust itself. I took a high-speed 4 inch 12 volt fan and cut the corners off so it would slide inside the 6 inch drier vent. Airflow toward the ourside. I then cut some small cresents of foam to fit along the outside of the fan to help create a better vacuum. I drilled a small hole (after putting the fan in place) and routed the wires outside and put some thick heat-shrink where the wires contact the metal. It vibrates just a little and I don't need it to chafe and short.

Notice that the louvers on the outside of the drier vent are missing. Since I did not want to take my screen out of the window, and I still wanted air to flow, I had to remove them.

I have the fan running on a 12 volt power supply. I am using aligator clips due to being posessed by the demon of sloth lately and not wanting to actually go hunting for wires to use. :)



One benefit to this design is that in the winter months (and it's dry outside) I can reverse the air flow and place the cover I made on the front of the case and blow in cold air.

I think I spent a total of about $85 for this whole project. But now my computer room is between 69 and 75 degrees all day instead of 85 to 90.

I got all my supplies at Lowes with the exceptiuon of the fan. The same materials can be found at just about any hardware store that stocks vent and duct supplies. The foam was back in the wood section.

If you need any help, let me know and I will walk you through it best I can.
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Message 899331 - Posted: 25 May 2009, 14:27:16 UTC
Last modified: 25 May 2009, 14:27:59 UTC

I don't see any pictures?

Edit: Hmm..now I do, must of fixed it? Or it finally loaded?

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Message 899333 - Posted: 25 May 2009, 14:34:27 UTC - in response to Message 899331.
Last modified: 25 May 2009, 14:35:45 UTC

Why did you cut a hole on the bottom of the cpu case if you have it covered up? It looks like you have the computer sitting flat and on carpet..?

I would think if you cut a hole on the case like that you would want some room for air?

Are those 2 Geforce 295's? I don't see how you are getting air to the top one if the fan is on the bottom of the card?

What temp are those cards running at in C?

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Message 899410 - Posted: 25 May 2009, 18:05:07 UTC - in response to Message 899333.

Why did you cut a hole on the bottom of the cpu case if you have it covered up? It looks like you have the computer sitting flat and on carpet..?


There is a gap between the bottom of the case and the plastic stand it sits on. It's about a half an inch wide. So it's actually off the ground. If you look at the bottom of the case, there is an orange line. From the orange line down is a plastic stand.

I would think if you cut a hole on the case like that you would want some room for air?


There is.

Are those 2 Geforce 295's? I don't see how you are getting air to the top one if the fan is on the bottom of the card?


There is plenty of space. The fans in the cards have air holes on both sides.

What temp are those cards running at in C?


71, 72, 71, and 78.
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Message 900595 - Posted: 28 May 2009, 18:58:21 UTC



You're all kidding, right?

We're actually cutting up our cases and doing extrordinary things to our machines in order to run SETI@home via CUDA on our GPUs??

I was all for it until it consistantly shot (both) my BFG 9600GT OCs up to 152 degs F! (FYI: I'm even controlling my fan speeds with Rivatuner and have them both at %70.... Oh, and they're clean inside. MY problem is not dirt, but rather is likely due to the fact that they're OCd by the manufacturer, which I do not plan to mess with....)

I have no plans to burn up my GAs for any project, TYVM!

I can run Crysis for hours with or without SLi-mode and not go over 125 degs!

I think the solution should be a means to control/toggle what & how CUDA-based work runs instead....

Where can I read, find out about, or make suggestions on efforts headed in that direction?



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