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English Translation of Passive Cooled GeForce3
in Cube article

Posted: 2/19/2003


Zalman Heat Pipe Note: As mentioned in the original news page item, the Zalman product pages note specific orientations of the heatpipe to ensure proper cooling (GPU/Hot end pipe lower than the backside heatsink pipe), since their heatpipes rely on gravity. (As I said before - heatpipes work on the principle of phase change - liquid heated to vapor, then cooled and returned, etc.) Although some heatpipes use wicks/capillary action rather than gravity, the Zalman models as they note in their installation/orientation diagrams rely on gravity for proper cooling flow (Per diagrams on the Zalman ZM 50 product page.)
The Cube's graphics card (when in use) is vertically mounted, output ports down, unlike normal computer systems AGP card orientations. The original author's (japanese) page notes they swapped the larger heatsink to the front and didn't note any problems, but long term reliability remains to be seen. (Personally I run a 80mm case fan in my Cube which has dual 500 CPU upgrade and fanned GF3 OEM. With the way even the stock Cube G4/450 w/Rage128 soaked the entire core with heat, I'd want an 80mm case fan in any cube I had with an upgraded graphics card or CPU - it makes a big difference in internal temperatures and I think will extend the life of the components.)


Yesterday's news had a link to a .Mac page in japanese at http://homepage.mac.com/yukihiro_i/bind_it/mac/geforce3.html (no longer online) on how to install the smaller ZM 50 Zalman passive graphics card cooler on a Geforce3 in a Cube. A reader sent an email with attached word doc english translation.

"this time I saw you mention a Japanese website with instructions how to install Zalman heatsink into Cube and looking for translation into English.
I am not a professional translator and English is not my native tongue - so its surely non-professional translation, but I can read Japanese and made an English translation of the instructions for your site- maybe it will useful even a little bit.
Thanks for the great site!
Hash Chuluun"

Hash's english translation of the japanese .mac page follows.

This is a brief translation of the article on using Zalman heatsink in Cube for Geforce 3. (homepage.mac.com/yukihiro_i/bind_it/mac/geforce3.html was original japanese page w/photos but no longer online)

Step1
After checking the conditions for installing Geforce 3 in Cube, I again understood that heat was a serious problem. The graphic board increased temperature to 70 degrees C. The small space for fan makes fan noise even louder. When I tried to connect 7V to the 12 V default fan, rising heat made the system stop. I had to rethink the whole cooling system from the beginning. The problem was to make fan noise as low as possible while keeping cooling effect untouched. That's why after browsing Net I found Zalman VGA Heatpipe Cooler, which uses heatpipe to use the backside heatsink as well to cool down the system.
The larger ZM80-HP can't be used in Cube; so I selected the smaller ZM-50HP, which is used for installing on Geforce2MX, 4MX and Radeon 7500.

Step2
The heatsink has a manual (nice!). When I disassembled Geforce 3 I found that the memory heatsink obstructs the heatpipe path; moreover, the heatpipe's bended spot didn't fit the cube from inside. So I had to modify the Geforce 3 card itself and had crossed the no-return point from the moment.

Step3
The heatsink's larger part in on the reverse side of the graphic card; but it touches the logic board, so I installed the heatsink on Geforce by reversing the heatsink. I also added small 5 V fan to the backside of the card, (airflow destination upward from card) since heatsink alone cant cool down the card. The current is taken from J2 connector with 3.3 V so it also helps to reduce fan noise (smaller turning speed). I have removed the modem module for better air intake and thus have obtained the necessary space for the fan. Removing the modem module also creates airflow corridor in the lower part of the computer. For even better airflow I have removed graphic board bracket.

Step4
After the preparations were completed, I still couldn't put the card in; after removing the power supply board and looking at the card from the sideways, I found that lower heatpipe was obstructed by modem module connector and the heatsink was jamming into logic board condenser. After some hesitation I decided to go on; took off the modem connector; and decided to remove lower part of the heatsink (Yamato spirit - i.e. fighting spirit)

Step5
After installing both sides' heatsinks on the graphic card, the geforce 3 was installed in the computer with one more trick. To widen the heat transferring area, on the backside heatsink I put an aluminum list for HDD cooling. Heat thus will move to Cub's lower frame- that's good since the lower frame also servers as air intake hole. Also, I used a modified PCI slot bracket to transfer heat to Cub's upper frame. Also, I closed the graphic board hole by plastic pieces to make airflow better.

Step6
With my heart trembling, I switched the power on and began to measure heat. Listened to iTunes while browsing Net. Little by little, temperature rises. After 30 minutes, its stabilizes at 59.5C degrees. Its same temperature as of Rage 128 and lower than non-fan Geforce2MX. The heatsink fan, to my immeasurable pleasure, almost silent - big difference with the stock Geforce3 fan. -- Wisdom and courage

Evaluation
With Geforce 3, still the Cube is silent and has low temperature - isn't it an achievement? Of course, it was made possible by the wonderful original cooling system of the Cube. I can't help but to adore even more the Cube. Cube+Geforce3 - I would like to recommend this combination (even though you have to cut the board). (Reader FYI: No cuts to the board are required for installing a standard OEM Mac Geforce3 card in a Cube. The cuts he refers to are for the Zalman cooler mods.-Mike)

I have to note that even after installing the card, I found no difference in Finder speed. In postpet benchmarks it even lost to Rage 128 - I don't know why. What is for sure, is that it has now much more vivid colors than Geforce2mx and more beautiful lines. I am expecting future power-ups with CPU upgrades and driver improvement. I also would like to put in the high-end Radeon.

Note: Geforce 3 in Macs seem to be weakened not by AGP speed but by drivers. Thanks for tip."

(If the author of the japanese page objects to this translation being posted here let me know and I'll remove it..)


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