the other day, while playing World of Warcraft, my monitor turned off. i had no clue why. i ended up restarting my computer after many random key presses did nothing.
after getting back in the game, my mouse cursor turn into a distorted block, and then my monitor turned off again.
this made me think something was up with my video card. i popped the side of my case off, and noticed the fan on my MSI Radeon 9800 Pro wasnt spinning! the card was overheating. i gave the fan a little push, and it started to spin slowly, and then stopped again. i gave it another push, and it started to spin slowly, and kept going this time.
i started to look online for a replacement fan. it didnt look like a standard fan on the video card. it was some weird fan screwed into MSI’s even weirder heatsink.
after some Googling, i found out that some people had put the “VGA Silencer, Rev 3” on their MSI Radeon 9800 Pro. NewEgg had one for $20 shipped, so i ordered it.
i got the VGA Silencer in about a day (NewEgg is awesome). i took the heatsink off my 9800 Pro, and popped on the VGA Silencer.
after booting up the system, i was getting “artifacts” (little colored sparkles). that usually means the card is overheating, but it was at the default clock speed.
i pulled the card, and removed the VGA Silencer, i could see from the tiny amount of thermal compound on the heatsink that it wasnt making good connection with the video card’s core. so i re-applied some Arctic Silver, put the VGA Silencer on again, and i made sure i had it on there good and tight.
after booting up, i started to get a corrupted mouse cursor, and the system locked up. i pulled the card again and saw even less thermal compound on the heatsink. like it was barely touching, and i knew the core needed to be fully touching the heatsink for it to be effective.
so i put the VGA Silencer back on, and tightened it a lot more – and then *SNAP*! i had crushed the core of the video card. when i took off the VGA Silencer, i noticed that there still wasnt much compound on it – even with enough force to crush the core, it still wasnt tight enough to make good contact.
obviously the VGA Silencer, Rev 3 that i was told worked great with the MSI Radeon 9800 Pro doesnt even fucking fit the video card. the original MSI heatsink has a slightly raised part that fits flush with the core. the VGA Silencer doesnt have that, so the flat part of its heatsink doesnt reach the core. i guess i should have caught that before i tried putting it on, but i had read several times that the *exact* model of the VGA Silencer i got worked fine with the *exact* model of the MSI Radeon 9800 Pro that i have.
so, i was left looking for a new video card. luckily, someone on Something Awful says they can sell me their old 9800 Pro cheap.