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How can I find a replacement heat sink/fan assembly for a graphics card? Are there any standards as to size and screwhole placement?

I have a fairly old PC, to which I wanted to add a USB 3.0 card. Unfortunately, the heat sink on my video card (a PNY GeForce GT 430 RVCGGT4301XXB) hung right over the only 1x PCIe slot on the motherboard. As an experiment, I decided to take a Dremel and cut off the fins of the heat sink in the way of the other slot.

The Dremel process was a huge pain and the end result was very messy, but it seemed to allow just enough space for the other card. Unfortunately, although the video card worked initially, it shut down the (HDMI) video signal after a few minutes. I rebooted and confirmed a recurrence of this behavior.

I'd like to replace this heat sink/fan, preferably with one that doesn't stick out quite as far over the other PCIe slot. Is this possible?

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    Could you clarify exactly what you're looking for? Add some specific requirements for what kind of heatsink you need. – Adam Oct 2 '15 at 3:37
  • Well, the kind of heatsink I need is part of what I'm trying to find out. I don't know if they come in standard kinds. Looking at cards similar to mine from PNY and EVGA at least, it looks like there's a variety of them, so I'm guessing replacing it with similar will not be feasible unless I just buy a whole card. And, judging by eBay, there are cards out there (for fairly low cost) whose heat sinks don't start as far back as the one I'm trying to replace, so I may just get a new card. – echristopherson Oct 2 '15 at 4:34
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Unless you go for the "ghetto cooling" option you are not likely to find any after-market cooling options for a lower end card like the 430. This one supports the 440 but does not list the 430 and I suspect it would not be an improvement in terms of freeing up the neighboring slot.

Do you have any other full size PCI-E slots available (x4 or x8)? If so, your x1 card will work in that slot without any modification and that may solve your issues from a slot perspective. You could then look for a replacement heatsink from a second hand or broken card to replace the one that has been modified.

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  • Unfortunately the two PCIe slots I mentioned are the only ones. It looks like I might be building a new system at some point in the future, but until then, there appear to be other cards with more clearance. I'll see if I can get one refurbished or used. (My 430 was refurbished and sold at a low price, so I don't feel too bad about messing it up.) – echristopherson Oct 5 '15 at 7:59

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