The cooling fan on my graphics card was beginning to drive me insaner, so I finally took the card out, cleaned off most of the dust, and then removed the fan from the card.
There are lots of instructions on the internet (including some youtube videos, made mostly by people who ramble on and don’t get to the point) on how to silence it temporarily using a drop of oil.
None of which worked. Peeling off the labels (as suggested by most instructions) didn’t reveal bearings that could be accessed. The fan appears to completely enclosed and glued shut.
So I tried getting some oil inside anyway, and put it all back together.
This appears to have had some effect. The noise was a little bit less, but very different and much more annoying.
So I took the card out again and removed the fan.
I know the fan is to stop the card overheating and frying the chips — but I am not totally mad: before I did this I downloaded some software for monitoring the temperature sensors, and it showed that the chip was running (with the fan) at about 40 C.
I stopped the fan (with my finger) and the temperature rose very slowly, so I thought I’d risk it.
When the fan is motionless on my desk, instead of spinning noisily inside the computer, it is much quieter. Bliss!
It’s been running for a couple of hours now, without the fan, and the GPU’s max temperature has hit 68 C. The chip should be ok up to about 105 C, although running near 100 C would shorten its life considerably, but up to about 80 C shouldn’t be too serious.
I have, though, bought a replacement fan on e-bay. It will probably take a few weeks to arrive from the USA (economy international shipping) but it cost less than £2. Maplin and PC World are trying to sell replacement coolers for about £40 and up.
The holes for the fixing screws are the wrong distance apart – but the fact that the seller bothered to supply details like that is reassuring, so I decided to glue the fan into place (on the heatsink, but it doesn’t need a good thermal contact: it’s job is to blow air through the heatsink, and it doesn’t need to be screwed in tightly to do that). That will make it hard to remove, but it should stay silent for at least a couple of years, I reckon, by which time the PC (and card) will be 5 years old.
Meanwhile, until I install a replacement fan, I will leave the side off the computer. The more air can circulate, the better, probably.