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Monday, July 9, 2012

XFX 4890 Graphics card fan replacement - Shameful hack

Because of my sense of humor, I'll share my fix for a bad fan on my XFX Radeon 4890 graphics card, otherwise known as a VGA cooling fan.  Why did I do something this lame?... here is the story.

The fan began making noise, which my son ignored for many months.  Eventually the machine started randomly rebooting.   Finally it started rebooting after about every 1 minute of operation and I had to give in and figure out what was wrong.    The card was smokin' hot and the fan was not turning.  Obvious.   Here is what the card looks like with the factory fan.

I went online, and searched for a replacement fan.  Not much out there, and most of the fans did not have dimensions, or the reviews said they didn't fit.  Really hard to figure out what to buy.  I finally bought this one.  It looked like the one I had from the picture:

Doh.  Total fail.   It came in a tiny envelope and here it is next to the fan from the 4890.   WAYYYY to small.

I had no confidence that any of the other fans out there were the right size either.   I could play dialing for donuts and keep buying fans until one fit.  Nahhhhh.

Measuring the fan against a standard case fan, I saw that they were the same size.   Originally I thought I'd hack something together and ordered this case fan.

You may be able to see that the fan has three plastic spokes that attach it to the case, that could easily be clipped to remove the fan, which appears to be exactly the same size as the fan I'm replacing.  However i'd be stuck trying to figure out how to attach it to the metal heat sink with no screw holes.  Glue wouldn't work here, it would be too hot.

Since the computer case is fairly empty, and the PCI slot next door is open, I had room to simply glue the case fan over the hole to the VGA card.   I spliced the red and black wires into the old fan's connector since the case fan's connector wasn't the same size.

As soon as the glue dries it's going into the machine.  I'll update the post with how it works out.  Crossing my fingers.

Turned out if you look, the video card had a plastic film still on it from the factory, that I never had peeled off.  So my glued-on fan fell off immediately.  If you look you can see that the sticker on the top of the card is a bit hazy.  Duh.  I peeled off the protective film and used some JB weld epoxy this time.  I didn't drill holes in the black cover, because there is a metal heat sink directly underneath it.

Now I'll try again when the new glue is dry....

Success!  Here it is back in the computer.  You can see the case fan glommed on the side of the video card. Luckily that slot is not used, and the fan is away from the CPU side where it might have collided with the motherboard chipset cooler.

The computer is up and running and seems fine under normal load.  W00t!  $6 case fan saves the day.



  1. Video card has been working perfectly since July. Case fan did the trick

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