How to Volt-mod your ATI Radeon videocard


Overclocking before modifying (continued)

My next attempt was to attach my CPUFX watercooler, however I had to modify it to fit this Radeon board since it was designed for a GeForce4. I also had to remove the metal frame on the Radeon processor because it is about 0,1mm higher than the core. Thus the water block would not make proper contact with it. The standard cooler on the Radeon boards up to 9700 uses a thermal pad that makes up for this 0,1mm gap. The 9800 uses a special cooler with a very good thermal compound that has had its bottom milled out so that it does not rest as much on this metal frame, and thus it makes much better contact with the core.


So what I did first was to remove the cooler which was very easy because it is attached with standard pushpin clips. When the cooler was removed I used a sharp razor that I cut in-between the metal frame and processor on all corners like this:

Be very careful not to cut too deep with the razor and accidentally cut away one of the tiny resistors on top of the processor package. When you have cut all corners the frame will simply pop off when you bend the razor carefully, what you end up with is this:

Next I tried attaching my watercooler; I will not show pictures of that because it was a failure. I had already done the volt-mod at this stage and thought it was the volt mod that was causing problems but in fact it was the watercooler not making good contact so I just reattached the standard cooler again. If you choose to go for watercooling I would recommend you to buy a watercooler designed for specifically the Radeon 9X00 card.

Moving along I can tell you the memory modules on the Radeon I tested where quite sensitive to heat, in the other hand, the core seemed to cope with high temperatures quite well. I will need to test my card with a watercooler designed for it before making any final judgment though, while the core might cope with heat pretty well it produces an enormous amount of it; in fact the card itself will act as a pretty good heatsink. I read somewhere that it was designed specifically for this. But thus the core will also heat the memory and power circuit, which is not a good thing. For optimum results I recommend water cooling for the core, heatsinks for the memory and a fan blowing air over the card.


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