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AMD Radeon 290X Kuhler mod: Taming Hawaii 'Pic heavy'.

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by Boomstick777, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Boomstick777


    Joined: Jan 2, 2012

    Posts: 11,202

    Location: UK.

    Stock fan must go.. Enter ghetto modding..



    Antec Kuhler 620: Dual 120mm fan. Push/Pull.

    Custom D-Wood Bracket inc fan mount (OCN) or 4 Cable ties will do.

    Screwdrivers. (Small ones)

    VRM / Ram heatsinks. Thermal glue or tape/pads.

    Cup of tea.



    Aim is to reduce temps to allow more overclocking headroom. Reduce noise.

    Let's get to work...

    Step 1: Remove stock cooler, it comes apart by removing all screws from the back of the PCB, along with 2 smaller screws on the rear GPU I/O plate.


    Step 2: Clean stock thermal paste off, will give a mirror shine to the chip.


    Step 3: Re-apply some thermal paste, I like to spread the paste across the chip to ensure all areas are covered.. Use a clean plastic like cling film to rub the paste to an even spread with your finger. Then can throw the messy plastic in the bin..


    Step 4: Time to apply your new cooling, this should also have been cleaned to a mirror type shine. I'm using an Antec Kuhler 620, with a bracket from D-Wood to fit onto the card. You can also use cable ties for this, there are loads of guides for cable tie method on other GPU's available. Same method applies with the 290X.

    Antec 620 wPush/Pull config.


    D-Wood bracket.


    I find the easiest way to use the bracket method is to put the screws in place through the PCB, ready to slide the bracket down onto the card with the Kuhler in place, then you can tighten up the screws from the top side by hand. Then turn the card on it's side to finish off with Screwdriver. Only tighten the crews until they are firm, do not want to over tighten them.

    Fitted some heatsinks to the VRM at the front of the card.


    Should have something like this now.


    Time to install the card and Kuhler into the case and test the GPU.


    Silence... Temps have dropped dramatically...

    Temps (Unigine Valley Benchmark loop).

    Stock reference cooler,

    Idle temp 33c

    Load temp 93c

    Antec Kuhler mod,

    Idle temp 28c

    Load temp 55c


    Furmark Test. 53c full load.



    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  2. Geeman1979


    Joined: Feb 14, 2011

    Posts: 7,490

    Cool... literally ;)
  3. Jono8


    Joined: May 20, 2007

    Posts: 29,077

    Location: Surrey

    Nice :cool:
  4. jakspyder


    Joined: Aug 12, 2008

    Posts: 2,991

    Location: London


    Is there a performance improvement now the card isnt thermal throttling?

    get some OCing results!

    I'm very interested to see how this card stacks up once you solve the thermal issues.
  5. benjii


    Joined: Apr 26, 2013

    Posts: 3,393

    Location: Plymouth

    Do you intend on putting heatsinks on the other bank of vrms?
  6. Jeps


    Joined: Jul 9, 2009

    Posts: 965

    This. Is it even stable without heatsinks on the vram? The original heatsink had a thermal pad across the power chips too.
  7. benjii


    Joined: Apr 26, 2013

    Posts: 3,393

    Location: Plymouth

    I'd be curious to see the relevant temperatures at idle/load.
  8. Boomstick777


    Joined: Jan 2, 2012

    Posts: 11,202

    Location: UK.

    ^^ I've never put heatsinks on any modded GPU's vram, just doesn't seem to need it in a decent case.

    GTX 480 / 7950 / 7970 / GTX 670 / GTX Titan / GTX 780 and this 290X, all cooled using the exact same method. Works fine for me.

    I'm impressed with the 290X so far, I already beat my 780 3D Mark 11 score @ 1150core. I will get to grips with the card over next few days, then start attacking the score boards :p.
  9. uksoldierboy


    Joined: Aug 6, 2009

    Posts: 4,113

    Location: Wales

    Looks very effective Boom.

    Can't wait to see results.

    What cpu are you using?
  10. trisp


    Joined: Apr 7, 2010

    Posts: 787

    Same as other people very suprised you didnt put heatsinks on your ram especially as it looks like you have the space!!
  11. Donpaolo


    Joined: Oct 23, 2013

    Posts: 62

    Great mod man if its not to much trouble would you mind posting the VRM temps would be very interesting to know how hot things get.

    cheers dude.
  12. varkanoid


    Joined: Dec 31, 2007

    Posts: 8,967

    Location: The TARDIS, Wakefield, UK

    Could you have not used the reference heatsink with the fan installed for the VRAMS ?
  13. pete910


    Joined: Oct 3, 2013

    Posts: 2,548

    Like Donpaolo said, Not sure if my temps are good or bad. VRM temps that is

    Did a log on mine to see what temps are reached on the card, this is with 2/3 hour run in bf4.

    60 highest on VRM1
    47 highest on VRM2
    54 Highest GPU

    Ambient was 20.

    That's on the EK block
  14. Orangey


    Joined: Aug 22, 2008

    Posts: 8,289

    What about that lonely VRM near the PCI-E bracket?
  15. drunkenmaster


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 33,087

    You really should cool the VRM's, though as you overclock and pump more voltage through them is when they really warm up. Also the three chips above and to the left of the core were cooled under the stock cooler.

    However, people are in general a bit overly worried about VRM's, it depends entirely on what they are rated to run at. Also if you have direct air cooling or not. When those chips, memory included, are running underneath a heatsink with no direct airflow they would almost certainly blow if there was no contact with the sink and no direct airflow.

    Several peoples 7970's died when they tried the previous accelero cooler on it and didn't realise you had to cool the area that is now those three chips, it used to be just the one chip IIRC(might have been 6970's actually I can't remember). Again though that doesn't mean these three chips(or even just one of them) needs cooling.

    Free airflow vs tiny heatsinks and some heat insulating frag tape might not be much different, bigger the heatsink/better the thermal transfer better it will do.

    Overall at stock you can probably get away with it. Overclocked/overvolted I think the VRM's could become an issue.

    The biggest difference isn't so much the water, nor the surface area, but the airflow over it. Blower fans(both amd and Nvidia) offer painfully low airflow, sub 10cfm for certain when silent, not even sure 100% fans on either will push beyond 10cfm. A silent, I mean truly silent 120mm fan can push 20+, one you can barely hear can do 30-40cfm easily, and a crazy loud delta can go over 100cfm.

    The limit of 2 slot cards is fitting these daft insanely low blower fans.
  16. mmj_uk


    Joined: Dec 26, 2003

    Posts: 23,155

    The memory will probably be better off without anything on them, they'll probably run cooler without having the heatsink heated by the core contacting them.

    I'm not sure about the VRM's, you'd have to compare before and after results.

    You're better off just waiting for non-reference cards to arrive though.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  17. Gregster


    Joined: Sep 24, 2008

    Posts: 37,748

    Location: Essex innit!

    Nice Boom but would have some concerns on the vrms not being cooled mate. :)
  18. pastymuncher

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Jul 12, 2005

    Posts: 18,036

    Location: Aberlour, NE Scotland

    So these cards don't require a spacer between the core and the cooler like the last gen (7000 series) did?
  19. Boomstick777


    Joined: Jan 2, 2012

    Posts: 11,202

    Location: UK.

    No you don't need a shim, it's pretty flush against cooler. So optional.

    Thanks :)

    Using a 4770K, this lil 290X seems like a very fast card. Will take a couple days to get used to AMD overclocking again.

    Early attempt at 3DMark 11,



    No worries, what prog do I need to show the temps?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  20. Rezident


    Joined: May 29, 2007

    Posts: 4,287

    Location: Dublin

    55! that is sweet. Really looking forward to the custom cards with aftermarket coolers. Anyone know when they are on sale? Is it next week?