Introduction: How to Fix a Noisy Fan on a ATI Radeon HD 5870 Video Card
This Instructable will show you how to fix the insanely loud noise that will come out of your ATI Radeon HD 5870 video card when your fan starts to wear out.This works for both the PC and MAC versions of this video card
Step 1: Tools Needed
For this instructable you will need several tools.
Your ATI Radeon HD 5870 video card. (I am assuming that you know how to take this out of your computer) (if you do not know how to take it out of your computer look on this site or google it)
Dry Graphite Film Lubricant (DO NOT USE GREASE, or GREASED BASED LUBRICANTS, WD40, MOTOR OIL, OR OTHER WET OIL BASED LUBRICANTS! I will explain why in a bit)
A Set of Small Screwdrivers (both flathead and phillips, I do not know the exact sizes as they were not on the package, you can buy one of these at a Walmart or home improvement store for cheap, you will need at least three of them, I will explain why in a bit, and I also have a ratcheting screwdriver with interchangeable bits. you dont need this but it does help)
A Container to Hold all of the Parts/Screws that you remove from the card (I used an empty ice breakers container that I had lying around)
A CLEAN PLACE TO WORK ON(I cannot stress this enough as you are going to be cleaning dust and other debris from your card and do not want other foreign materials to get in there)
(optional) A Ground Strap (I did not want static electricity to ruin the part I was trying to fix)
The reason that you do not want to use any other lubricant but a dry graphite film lubricant is for several reasons..... first, any grease based lubricants will eventually dry out and GET BRITTLE causing excessive wear on your fans motor and sleeve bearing which will kill it and then your video card. Second, using motor oil, WD40, or any other wet oil based lubricants will create what I call "gunk" when dust mixes with it and will do the same thing as the grease... it will cause excess wear on the fan killing it then your video card. Where as DRY Graphite is not wet, it is dry, and it will not attract any of the dust that will collect in your video card to it like oil based lubricants, or get brittle like grease based lubricants.
The reason that you will need at least three screwdrivers is that you need three of them to "pop/pry" out the fan motor. once again you will need several sizes of phillips and flathead.
Step 2: First Things First.....
This could be considered an optional step, but I did it to make removal of the actual card easier.
these are small Phillips screws and the studs that hold the screws for the DVI cables to go into the card are finger tight and you can remove them with your fingers... that's what I did, or you can leave all of that there but it made taking the physical card off of all of that extra stuff easier
Step 3: Dissesembly Time
I believe that there are a total of eight screws that need to be removed on the back plate of the card, and three more smaller ones on side of the card that faces the inside of your computer. They are just regular Phillips head screws, remove them and then put in a container so that you do not lose them.
Remove the backplate after you take all of the screws out of it. put the screws in a container so that they do not get lost, put the bakplate aside somewhere.
Now you will remove the X style clamp on the board..... BE CAREFUL!!! as these screws are SPRING LOADED and if you just unscrew them in any order YOU WILL BREAK THE CLAMP !
To remove these screws just SLOWLY unscrew them in an X pattern (for example, start off by just unscrewing the top left screw 4 turns, then move to the screw on the bottom left and unscrew that one 4 turns, then move to the top right, then bottom left. Keep repeating this until the clamp comes off.... you will see some warping/bending of the clamp as you do this.... just take it slow and repeat the process as many times as it takes for the clamp to come off) These are also Phillips head screws.
now put the clamp aside and continue the disassembling
Once you have taken that clamp off taking the card out of the front housing is easy.
You do not want to damage/break the power tab for the fan so CAREFULLY grab the card by the side that the fan is NOT ON, hold the front housing with the other hand and pull the card up and to the fan side of the housing like you were turning a page in a book ..... (those are the things that knowledge is normally contained in) and grab the power tab by the tabNEVER TRY TO PULL THE POWER TAB OUT BY THE WIRES... these things are not that strong to do that, and it will possibly break the wires/tab/and the female side of the tab that is soldered on the video card.
if you have a can of compressed air now is a good time to give everything you have a good spraydown, if not no big deal, I just blew the dust off and it got most of it off of the parts
if you have some Thermal paste, then now would be a good time to also get some rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth or something that will remove the old thermal paste off of the card. Then you can apply the new thermal paste when you start to reassemble the card and be 110% sure that this card is being cooled properly, if not, no big deal, I did not do this and it still cools fine. I leave it up to you
Step 6: Getting to the Fan....
Now that the actual video card is off of the housing and front plate of the assembly, it is time to get at the reason why you did all of this..... the insanely loud, noise making fan!!!!
To do this you need to remove the plate that is holding it in place with the front plate, this also holds the air to air cooler of the card so as always BE CAREFUL WHEN DOING THIS.
go to the side of the assembly that the fan is on. you will see three Phillips screws , remove these along with several other screws on the assembly, one of them is hidden under the white adhesive/thermal paste(?) squares so just use your finger and carefully move it aside until the screw is uncovered so that you can take it out/put it back in later
now with all of the screws off (I believe that it is just the three holding the fan and the one beneath the pad..be sure to triple check this before trying to remove this last plate)
once the screws are out, remove the plate and give the metal plates a good cleaning, I just blew off all of the dust.
Step 7: Removing the Fan Motor...BE CAREFUL!!!
once you have the last plate off you can just pick the fan assembly out out the front housing and put the housings aside for now.
Here is where the three screwdrivers are going to come into play.
you need to place one of the screwdrivers on each of the three corners of the fan to "pop/snap" the motor out to apply the lubricant.
Here is an important part of the step.... DO NOT TRY TO "POP" THE MOTOR OFF OF THE FAN BY USING THE CORNERS OF THE PLASTIC TAB!!! I DID THIS AT FIRST AND BROKE ONE OF THE TABS OFF!! THE ONLY THING HOLDING IT ON TO THE REST OF THE ASSEMBLY IS THE STICKER....(WHEN I NEED TO DO THIS AGAIN I WILL BREAK OUT THE JB WELD TO FIX THIS BUT IT STILL WORKS FINE FOR ME FOR THE TIME BEING)....
What you want to do is CAREFULLY put each of the screwdrivers UNDERNEATH THE CIRCUIT BOARD that is under the tabs.... once again BE CAREFUL when doing this... if you break the circuit board its game over.
use one of the screwdrivers to hold the assembly form spinning, and take the other two, (preferably the ones on the opposite sides of each other and start to CAREFULLY pry up on one side, then pry up on the next, keep doing this until the motor "pops" out of the assembly. If you hear a pop and it did not come out of the assembly its game over
once you hear the popping sound the motor should easily lift up and come out of the assembly.
now remove the motor and grab your dry graphite spray can. shoot a good portion onto both the metal rod and then inside the sleeve. make sure to cover it all up with lubricant but do not make a mess and get everything else covered in it.
(the reason that this is so hard is because these fans use a cheap sleeve bearing system instead of a ball bearing system... but even the ball bearing fans today do not last as long as the ones made a while ago)
Step 8: Reassembly
now once you have both sides of the fan lubed up CAREFULLY snap the fan motor back in to the fan assembly. making sure not to get any of the graphite anywhere else
you can now put the fan back in the front housing, put the plate with the cooling plates back on making sure that you do not forge to put the screw back on where the second white pad is
then add the actual video card to that plate, but remember to plug in the power tab to the fan first... don't worry it only plugs in one way... do not force it if it does not go in because it is the wrong way.
If you decided to remove the thermal paste, now is the time to apply new paste
put the back plate back on and put in all of the screws.... don't forget the three smaller longer ones as well
once you have your video card assembled put it back in your computer and turn it on... WATCH TO SEE if your fan turns on... if it does you did everything right... if not you need to take it back apart and see were you went wrong. if it works you should no longer hear any sound from it.
pat yourself on the back, you have successfully maintained your video card and your sanity now that it does not make any more noise