Operation Irritable Hedgehog

Note: This post makes no further mention of hedgehogs.

I recently built myself a fancy new computer. It's awesome and fast and nice and quiet and I really like it a lot. Quiet? Not so fast.

It's quiet about half the time. The other half the time a fan is, noisy. Not okay. So I tracked it down to the graphics card fan and unplugged it.

That's right. Charlie doesn't mess around. Zero tolerance.

Not being a crazy person, my next step was to reach for my thermometer. Here's what what passive cooling gave me:



That first rise is some hulu, then we've got some full screen 3D graphics, then idle. These numbers were too high and passive cooling wasn't cooling during idle.

Unwilling to plug the fan back in (like a quitter), I launched Operation Irritable Hedgehog!

In other words, I oiled the fan. The only "oil" I own is some White Lightening bicycle chain grease - so that's what I used.

The first challenge was removing some really small screws that join the fan to the heat sink. This proved more challenging that I anticipated. First attempt:



My smallest flat-bladed screwdriver (failed). Also, a 1/4 inch drill bit (also failed). After spending a few minutes looking for something like a tiny phillips screwdriver, I emerged with a couple candidates for round 2:



Here we have a smallish screwdriver (too big, failed), and Mr. Stabby (failed, but closest of the four).

At this point, I was facing the very real prospect of having to either go without my computer for a while or actually plug the fan back in (i.e. quit). Instead, I rounded up Julie and the dog and we headed to my office - where I once saw tiny tools.



Success! I greased it up and put it back together. I'll never regret this move because all greases are the same. Yeah...

Anyway, I brought everybody home and plugged it in and there was no growl so I guess I won. I'll probably end up with melted bicycle chain wax all over my card, but at least it'll be quiet for a little while.



As you'll notice, now the graph is slightly flatter. Sweet.

A condition of bringing Julie was that I get her a snack (the dog came for the company). I got myself an ice cream cone but, as I was driving, I requested it in a cup. Here's what I got:



Touché MacDonalds :)

EDIT: Fail! Fan still sometimes makes a griding noise.

EDIT: Tested how the card handles overheating by removing fan and running a 3D fur simulation. At 108 C, screen blanked. Now fur simulation always crashes, but most 3D continues to work (i.e. limited physical chip damage). You'd think a chip w/ built in thermometer would be smart enough to turn itself off.

Comments

Scott Harmon said…
I was quite surprised to see hedgehogs in your post after been assured there would be no more hedgehogs.
julie said…
I don't know, I think Daisy expected snacks, too...