Thermalright T-Radē GTX VGA Cooler
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 10-01-2009
Provided by: Thermalright

The test subject for the T-Radē GTX installation will be an EVGA GTX 260 core 216 card. Although the older 65nm core 260 cards are not supported, the single-sided 55nm 260 cards are. I assume this has something to do with components, specifically memory chips, being placed on both sides of the PCB on the older cards, however if this were the case it seems simply including some additional RAM sinks would do the job. Please note that although this particular card has the older 260 flame style graphics sticker on the front, it is in fact the 216sp core.

The newer GT200 cards are a bit easier to disassemble than the old style since they don't have a backing plate. There are thirteen spring-loaded screws that must be removed from the rear of the PCB, and an additional two from the bracket end. The factory cooler will likely seem to still be firmly attached because the thermal paste usually dries and hardens, however simply twisting the housing back and forth a few times is usually all that is required to loosen it.

Once the factory cooler comes free from the card it can be laid aside. Remember that there is a 4-pin connector for the fan cable that must be detached. The surfaces of the GPU core as well as the memory chips and voltage regulators should be thoroughly cleaned. You won't want any old TIM (thermal interface material) to contaminate your new application, and any pad residue left on the chips will likely prevent the new thermal tape from adhering properly. You do not want your heatsinks falling off the card while in use!

Carefully peel the backing off the bottom of each component heatsink and press firmly against the card. Exactly where and how to place each style of sink is mostly left up to the individual user, although the instructions depict two typical installation configurations, one nVidia and one ATI. Basically any component that was in contact with a thermal pad on the factory cooler you will want to make sure and cover with a new heatsink. The most important factor when choosing which size/shape of sink to install where, is to place the very short sinks over the memory chips to the left of the GPU core, as there is a height restriction due to the cooler's heatpipes. Once this is done, apply your thermal paste to the core, then the four posts are screwed into the corners of the base, plastic washers applied, and the assembly inserted through the mounting holes in the PCB. Rubber washers and threaded caps are then placed over the posts and tightened down.

Here we can see that the installed T-Radē GTX easily clears all the components on the card, yet were it not for the extra thickness of the fans the heatsink itself would actually be thinner than the factory cooler. Although the fans come mounted with the power cables coming out of the top of the cooler, this is easily switched around by simply unscrewing and remounting them. The power cables have 3-pin connectors and are approximately a foot long, which should leave plenty of length to reach an available motherboard fan header.

The T-Radē GTX with 92mm fans installed is no taller than the height of the card itself. It does not take advantage of the factory cooler's airflow path, which blows the heated air through the vented riser bracket and out the rear of the case, however the increased airflow from the larger axial fans and greater fin surface area should provide a substantial performance benefit. You will need to have efficient case cooling in order to remove all the hot air from around the video card(s) and exhaust it out of the case.

Now let's install the T-Radē GTX-equipped card into a system and perform some testing.

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