Replacing your GPU cooler isn't rocket science, but we're dealing with expensive hardware so follow these steps carefully. Don't skip, rush or overtighten anything and you should be good.

If you need support at any point, feel free to join the discord or contact me on the bottom of the support page.

Preparations

You should've received your cooler along with some accessories. Make sure the box contains the following:

  • Cooler
  • Thermal pads for the memory
  • PTM7950 phase change pad for the die
  • M2.5 shoulder screws to attach the heatsink to the PCB
  • T6 and T8 screwdriver

Recent revisions also come with hardware to attach the shroud to the cooler:

  • 2x M2 threaded offset
  • 2x M2 washers
  • 2x M2 flathead screw (A2000 only)
  • 2x M2 countersunk screw
  • 1x M2.5 countersunk screw

You will need to provide for yourself:

  • Phillips screwdriver (PH0 or PH1 preferred)

Note on the Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny

Before we start, ThinkCentre Tiny users need some special attention. The cooler fits the case, but it's a very tight fit. You will probably have to take off the shroud to be able to close the case. The PCIe retention tab that is integrated into the shroud isn't compatible with the back of the case either way.

You'll have to undervolt your card because the PCIe connector officially only supports 50 watts of power. Limiting the frequency to 1500Mhz and the voltage to 0.700mV seems to do the trick. Read more about undervolting here. You may also need to enter the BIOS to put the slot in Gen3 mode en disable ASPM on recent models.

1.Remove the PCI bracket screws

The first screws to remove are the two screws that hold the PCI bracket to the shroud. They are both T8 screws, which is the largest screwdriver of the two included.

Don't pull off the PCI bracket just yet, as it's still fixed to the PCB.

2.Remove the shroud

To remove the shroud, we need to unscrew all screws apart from the ones in the backplate (the retention bracket). They are all T6 screws.

Unscrew the right two screws first, as they are the ones still keeping the PCI bracket in place. You can take off the bracket and then unscrew the rest of the screws.

RTX 2000 Ada and 4000 Ada owners will be able to take off the backplate at this point.

Lift the shroud a little bit and carefully detach the fan header. This may require small pliers. When the header is detached, you can take off the shroud.

3.Remove the stock heatsink

The heatsink is attached with two T6 screws in the backplate (four for Ada generation owners). When unscrewing those, be wary that there is quite some force on the backplate, and it springs back when it comes loose. You may want to hold it when unscrewing the screws in order not to damage things. When all screws, you can take off the heatsink. It may be glued to the die due to the thermal paste, carefully tilt it to the left and right until it comes off in that case.

4.Clean the die and memory

Wipe the original thermal paste off the die using a lint free cloth. Clean the die using a bit of Isopropyl or other cleaning alcohol.

For the A2000, the original thermal pads are bad and should be replaced. They are brittle and probably come off in multiple pieces. You can use some Isopropyl here too.

The Ada generation cards have better pads. We will only replace the ones from the top of the pcb, the backplate ones can stay in place.

5.Thermal pads

We'll start by putting the phase change pad (the thin one) on the die. Be careful as it's very fragile. Remove the plastic from one side, put that side on the die and press the other side gently with plastic still in place. You should now be able to take off the second plastic without the pad coming off the die.

If you damage the pad, don't worry, thermal paste of your choice or liquid metal works and performs just as well.

The pads for the memory are easier as they are much stronger. They are already cut to size, just don't forget to take the plastic off both sides. For Ada generation cards, you only need to replace the thermal pads between the card and the cooler. For the back, you can reuse the original ones.

6.Mount the cooler

Lay the cooler upside down, with its fan against the back of the card and plug in the fan header. Pivot the cooler into place on the card. Turn around the card along with the cooler so you can mount the cooler to the card.

Put the backplate into place and screw the shoulder screws through the backplate and PCB into the cooler. You will have to squeeze the backplate and the cooler together to do so. It requires some force, be careful not to put force on the PCB or the fan as they are fragile.

When all screws are in place, gently tighten them but don't overtighten them too much. There are 'shoulders' on the screws which prevent you from screwing them in too far, but it's still better to be safe than sorry.

7.Standoffs

This step is only for the second revision, which ships without the shroud attached to the cooler. Take the two 15mm M2 standoffs and attach them to the PCB as shown below, with the washers between the pcb and the standoffs.

If you own an Ada generation card that comes with a backplate, use the original screws and attach the backplate to the standoffs.

For the RTX A2000, use the included flat head M2 screws (non-countersunk).

8.Backplate

Ada generation cards now need to mount two more screws to attach the backplate. Use the original screws like you have done with the standoffs. It's important to notice that you only use 4 screws to mount the backplate rather than 8. I have marked the required screws in the image.

Don't tighten these screws too much or you risk bending the backplate and pcb.

9.Mount the shroud

This step is only for the second revision, which ships without the shroud attached. Use the countersunk M2.5 screw to attach the shroud to the standoff that holds the fan. Use two M2 countersunk screws to attach the shroud to the M2 standoffs we mounted earlier.

Remember that the shroud is optional. Is the clearance in your chassis is very limited, you can use the card without shroud. It will perform just as well.

10.Cooler installed!

You have successfully installed the single slot cooler! You can now start using the card, but there are some next optional software steps to tweak it a bit.

11.(Optional) fan curve

The stock fan keeps the fan runnig at low speeds, even when the card is running hot. While a fan curve may be up to personal preference, I advice a linear or exponential curve that increases the fan speed from 30% to 100% between 40°C and 80°C.

Custom fan curves can be configured using software like Fan Control or MSI Afterburner and require a recent driver version (Game Ready or Studio).

12.(Optional) Undervolt

Undervolting your card means tweaking the voltage the chip uses at a chosen frequency. Chips usually have a very conservative voltage/clock speed ratio, meaning you can reduce the voltage a lot without reducing the clock speed by a lot. Your card will draw less power, run cooler and more silent and be more power efficient.

While not required, cooling the card with such a small cooler is challenging so it will benefit from the reduced power draw. For an in-depth guide on undervolting, please refer to this article.

Do you want a single slot card too?

Purchase the single slot cooler and follow this guide to enjoy the tiniest possible RTX A2000 or RTX 4000 SFF!