Why you should clean old graphics cards :)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by drasl, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. drasl macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2014
    I found a Mac version graphics card for sale locally at a very good price (HD 4870) and desided to purchase it.

    Right away I could see that there was dust on the fan, but went home to try out the card.

    The card ran very hot, and the fan speed was very high even with no real processes going on so I tried opening the card.

    The amount og accumilated dust (and probably tar) was incredible, and obvious that the fan was not able to get any air into the heatsink of the card.

    The dust was really sticking the the fan blades and took a lot of work to clean them.

    But after a long cleaning session and thermal paste the card runs virtually silent now, and hardly revs up when under heavy use (I actually opened the side door once just to be sure the fan on the card was running :)

    Some of the more experienced computer DIY guys here have probably seen worse, but this was by far the worst I have seen lol. asd.JPG
  2. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    What did the seller live in a sand trap? That would embarrass me
  3. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Nasty. Was this a smoker's video card? Usually I see light grey dust, not brown.
  4. skinned66 macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    My favourite when I used to work at a help desk was a sales guy bringing his computer in, and the entire inside was caked in ½" of drywall dust. It was fun blowing that out.
  5. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    We get dusty cards all the time but that 4870 would make the top 10. Definitely a smoker. Lucky it didn't fry itself.

    If I hadn't quit long ago, cleaning out GPUs would convince me.

    Compressed air backwards through the fan does for light dust but tobacco residue can sometimes require complete disassembly and running fan parts through dishwasher to get rid of all stink.

    Have had many cards that ended up needing an hour or more of work to become presentable.
  6. drasl thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2014
    Not sure about the smoking, but the amount of work that went into just skrubbing that dust off the fan blades is a pretty good indication of it.

    Hopefully there is no permanent damage to the GPU, but as someone one said, you get what you pay for lol.
  7. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    It's not just graphics cards - any system or component can accumulate dust/lint/grit like this.

    One of my people complained of a laptop running hot, with noisy fans. When I opened it up, there were piles of pink lint everywhere in the airflow path.

    I asked him "Andrei, do you have a red sofa?". He was surprised, but said "Yes - how'd you know?".

    I showed him the insides of his laptop, and suggested putting it on a tray or a magazine or a newspaper - rather than directly on the sofa.

    ps: I have cats (see avatar), and opening up a system always means a quick vacuum for cat hair.

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