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 â€œVGA Silencer, Rev 3â€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.
here are some pics of my (now broke) MSI Radeon 9800 Pro and the VGA Silencer, Rev 3: