A few months back I upgraded my EVGA GTX 760 SSC for a brand new EVGA GTX 1060 SC Gaming. The 1060 is a great card and a very worthwhile upgrade over the 760. But, in my opinion, the cooler on the 1060 is pretty poor. I should add that I didn't need a low profile card as such, but it was pretty much the only card I could find stock of at the time, so I went for it.
Before I explain the cooler swap, a little background is needed: The GTX 760 was a great card, it ran pretty cool and pretty quietly, BUT, it has this bizarre problem (apparently it was done deliberately) where the fans cannot be set to any level lower than roughly 40%, or around 1200 RPM. This keeps idle temperatures lower than is really necessary (28C to 30C), but at the expense of a lot of noise (relatively speaking of course). Under load the fans barely ramp up much further as they are already so high, so under load the cooler is very quiet. There were all sorts of arguments about this whole 40% idle fan speed thing back in the day, but nothing was ever resolved, and I think I now know why.
The GTX 1060 at idle, on the other hand, after a BIOS update was issued (mine came with this BIOS already installed), is capable of fan stop, IE the fans don't run at all when the card idles. This is awesome, as it means that the loudest thing in my system at idle with the newer card fitted is my external HDD. Perfect. But, during this whole process of BIOS updates, something strange happened. The cooler fan on the 1060, is now capable of running much much faster than it was originally capable of when the card was first released, meaning that about 66% fan speed on the new BIOS (from my rough calculations), roughly equates to 100% fan speed on the old BIOS. As far as I know this was done quite deliberately to ward off any concerns people may have been having about VRM cooling and the like, after possible issues with other 10 series cards were raised in the press. However, this has turned what was already an unacceptably loud card into something that sounds frankly ridiculous. Even after setting a custom fan profile in Precision X, the card is just far far too loud under load for my tastes. It is massively louder than the older ACX 2.0 cooler from the GTX 760, although that isn't entirely surprising given the trade off between a one and two fan cooler.
All of this led me to consider a cooler swap for my 1060 then, as the rest of my system is near silent, even under load, and I just cannot put up with the noise levels of the pre-installed cooler. Never mind the fact, that even with the ridiculous fan speeds possible on this cooler, it does a pretty poor job of actually cooling the card at the same time! 85C whilst heavy gaming, at stock speeds, isn't great when it sounds as if the fan is about to rip itself apart due to high RPM's. I honestly believe if you were to run the fan at 100% permanently (as unlikely as that may be), not only would you go deaf, but I think the fan would outright fail in a very short space of time.
Anyway, having been put off aftermarket GPU coolers because of their sheer size, I began to wonder if the cooler from the 760 would work on the 1060, so I gave it a go, and lo and behold, it fits no problem!
The process went something like this:
- Remove the coolers from both cards. I started with the 760, and found that only four screws secures the cooler to the GPU (just around the die package itself). Once undone the card eases apart from the cooler, and you can disconnect the mini fan connector. This was a bit fiddly, but easy enough. That was it. Now I did the same with the 1060. Again all that was needed was to unscrew the four screws surrounding the GPU package and disconnect the fan.
- Next I prepared the 760 cooler to attempt fitting to the 1060. I had to pull the fan cable on the 760 cooler out of some little securing tabs, so that the connector would reach the header on the 1060, as they are located slightly differently, but do have the same connectors at least so no issue there. Cleaned the thermal past off the cooler.
- I then prepared the 1060. All I did here was clean off the old thermal paste (which was still wet for some reason?? Dunno what that means!) and apply some Arctic MX-4 I had lying around.
- Next I connected the fan from the 760 cooler to the 1060. This required a bit of manipulation of the wire, but connected easily enough in the end, and sits snugly.
- I then lined up 760 cooler with the 1060 and slowly lined them up. NOTE - The 1060 uses the four inner screw holes for securing to its' original cooler. The 760 however uses the four outer holes. But, both sets of holes are present on both cards, so it's easy to swap to using the other outer screw holes in this case.
- I attempted to secure 1060 and 760 cooler, but found that the screws from the 1060 despite looking identical to those from the 760, just wouldn't go in, so I reused the 760 screws and they worked fine.
- That was it! I reinstalled the card, and after some heart stopping moments where it didn't seem to post (before I realised I had connected the bloody HDMI!), it all worked fine. Job done!
Now, during heavy gaming, in my initial results, temps are down maybe 10C-15C, AND the sound of the system under load has been cut in half, if not more. The difference is night and day, and the card even boosts higher now as the temps are more under control. BUT, the cooler will not under any circumstance let me set the fan speed lower than 40% (1200 RPM)! Sound familiar?
So, it seems from all of this that the ACX 2.0 cooler from the GTX 760 SSC, is just not capable of running its' fans at a speed lower than roughly 40% or 1200 RPM, no matter which card it's attached to, or which BIOS is used on the card in question! Arghh! Therefore at idle the GTX 1060 with the ACX 2.0 cooler sits at 29C roughly, but it is far far too loud! My system is now much louder at idle but much quieter at load. Overall the system runs quite a lot cooler (anywhere between 10-15C from my observations so far), but I've solved one problem only to create another!
Not willing to be beaten, I have just ordered an Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo II. It looks awful, and will probably be horrible to fit, but I am determined to quiet this 1060 if I have to attach a blooming Noctua NH-D15 to it! I will update once the Twin Turbo arrives and I get it fitted (if I even can!), and let you know the results.
To sum up, the EVGA GTX 1060 SC Gaming 6GB, is a great card. It has a decent overclock out of the box, has the advantage of being really easy to fit due to its diminutive size, is silent at idle, and if you have a big case with excellent airflow then YMMV, but in my Fractal Node 304, it is too hot (only just) and unacceptably loud. The sound is subjective of course, and it won't bother many, but it will drive others like me to distraction, and lead them to consider their options just as I have done. Don't get me wrong, I like EVGA products (hence why I went with this 1060 after the EVGA 760), and I love the fact that disassembling your card as I have done, does not affect your warranty as long as the card is returned to factory condition before being sent in for RMA or warranty purposes (at the time of writing, check the terms and conditions, etc), but the cooler on this particular card just isn't up to snuff in my book.
So there you have it, GTX 760 cooler on my GTX 1060 = Better temps and much much less noise at load, at the expense of much more noise at idle. Was it worth it? Probably not actually, and I can't live with it like this indefinitely, but as a proof of concept, I would say it was a success!
TLDR - fitted a GTX 760 ACX 2.0 cooler on my GTX 1060 SC Gaming (which fitted perfectly BTW!), to reduce temps and more importantly noise, which succeeded under load, but has raised noise levels considerably when the card is idling. Next I'll replace it with an Arctic Cooling Twin Turbo II, to see if it can deliver the holy grail of decent enough temps, with much much less noise, both at idle and under load! Will report my progress.
P.S. Note to all GPU makers, acoustics are extremely important when it comes to computer components, and it seems to me that this is being forgotten! For the sake of everyone's hearing, please reverse this trend. Some won't be bothered by loud fans of course, but others will be as frustrated with things as I am, so maybe it's time to start offering cards that are specifically tailored to meet the obvious (I think) demand for a fast enough card, that doesn't sound like jet at take off! Just my opinion. Cheers.
post edited by thedons1983 - 2017/06/22 21:21:57