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How to install a new graphics card fan?

09 Mar 2023

A step-by-step guide to installing a replacement graphics card fan, including tools needed and helpful tips for a smooth installation process.

Tools needed:

  • Replacement graphics card fan
  • Screwdriver
  • Thermal paste
  • Thermal pads (if necessary)
  • Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Tweezers (optional, for handling thermal pads)

Step 1: Prepare your workspace

Before starting, ensure that you have a clean and well-lit workspace with enough room to work on your graphics card. It is important to work on a flat and static-free surface to prevent damage to your graphics card.

Step 2: Remove the old fan

Start by disconnecting the power supply to your computer and removing the graphics card from the computer case. Locate the screws holding the fan in place and remove them using a screwdriver. Carefully remove the fan from the graphics card and set it aside.

Step 3: Clean the graphics card

Use rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs to clean the area where the old fan was attached to the graphics card. This will remove any old thermal paste and ensure a clean surface for the new fan to be installed.

New Step 4: Replace the thermal pads (if necessary)

If your graphics card also uses thermal pads to dissipate heat from components like memory chips or VRMs (Voltage Regulator Modules), inspect them for wear or damage. If they appear dried out, cracked, or otherwise compromised, it's a good idea to replace them.

  • Remove the old thermal pads: Gently peel them off the components. Use tweezers if the pads are hard to grasp. Clean any residue from the components with a bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab.

  • Measure and cut new thermal pads: Measure the thickness of the old thermal pads and purchase new ones of the same thickness. Cut the new pads to match the size of the chips they will cover. It's crucial to use the correct thickness to ensure proper contact between the chips and the heatsink.

  • Apply the new thermal pads: Carefully place the new thermal pads on the components. Avoid touching the adhesive side too much to prevent oils from your fingers from reducing their effectiveness.

Step 5: Apply new thermal paste

Apply a small amount of thermal paste on the graphics card where the new fan will be attached. This will help transfer heat from the graphics card to the new fan.

Step 6: Install the new fan

Align the new fan with the graphics card and attach it with the screws that came with the replacement fan. Be sure not to over-tighten the screws as this can damage the graphics card. Reconnect any cables that were disconnected during the removal process.

Step 7: Reinstall the graphics card

Carefully place the graphics card back into its slot in the computer case and secure it in place with the screws. Reconnect any power supply cables and turn the computer back on.

Step 8: Test the new fan and thermal management

Once your computer is back on, use a program like MSI Afterburner or SpeedFan to monitor the temperature of your graphics card. If the new fan and thermal pads are working properly, you should notice a drop in temperature compared to before the replacement. If the temperature is still high, check to make sure the fan and thermal pads are properly attached and the thermal paste is applied correctly.


By following these steps, you should be able to successfully install a new graphics card fan and replace thermal pads if necessary. Remember to take your time and work carefully to avoid damaging your hardware. Proper thermal management is crucial for maintaining the performance and longevity of your graphics card.

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