Guide as JPEG here:
Ok, so I had this Zotac GTX 1080 TI Mini from a PC with one fan bearing sounding like a chainsaw sometimes. I decided to not RMA it, but fix it myself (less hassle) and hopefully improve its performance too in the process.
There was no online source on which replacement coolers work and how it is done. Fear no more I did the testing!
ATTENTION: I don’t give any warranty that this works for you too and that I didn’t make any mistakes in this document! Do it with a brain and on your own risk!
How did it perform before?
I didn’t plan to create this guide. So I don’t have screens from the time before. Anyway, the card (under full load) just barely and not constantly clocked higher then 1800Mhz and reached temps of up to 76°C (28°C room).
The common “problem” of the mini is its high temps and awfully loud fan noises when under full load.
So, after some mails with Arctic I figured out the Accelero XTreme III and the Accelero Twin Turbo II should fit the card. The Xtreme III was out of stock everywhere and end-of-life, so I got myself both the Accelero XTreme IV and the Accelero Twin Turbo II! I just hoped for the best.
There are probably more combinations possible, but this is mine.
I basically used the small heat sinks and screws from the Twin Turbo II and the big ass cooler from the XTreme IV.
Step 1: Remove the old cooler!
Just unscrew all 6 screws of the rear side of the card and gently but confidently remove the old cooler and its cables. Then remove the old thermal compound from the GPU and all other parts that were covered by the old cooler.
I used alcohol, q-tips and a lot of patience for that matter.
Don’t remove the back panel on the rear side of the card. It’s for stability.
Step 2: Attach the heat sinks!
I don’t have perfect pictures, because I decided to create this guide after I finished it, but basically put a heat sink on all memory chips and VRM’s that were covered by the original cooler.
Make sure no heat sink is touching parts of other metallic electrical components, but I didn’t had a problem.
Use the J) heat sinks for the memory, the L) ones for the VRM’s on the left side of the card and the K) ones for the small chips above the memory chips. I needed a metal saw to make them small enough to fit perfectly.
Use a reasonable amount of thermal compound (a little more than a grain of rice for the memory chips e.g., less for the others) on the cleaned chips and heat sinks, press on the heat sink for 10 seconds and release without lifting it up.
The manual says “wait for 60 minutes”, but i say:
LET IT CURE FOR 8 HOURS!
Step 3: Attach the new cooler!
After some experimenting (the Twin Turbo II and XTreme IV have greatly different mounting plate heights and the spacers in the packages aren’t created for mounting the XTreme IV without the backplate cooler) I ran for the 3.5mm spacers, the M2 screws and the washers, all from the TTII package.
Put the cooler on its back and on the table, and connect the fan cable to the board. Stick the spacers on the holes of the PCB
and gently put the GPU (cleaned) on the cooler just in the right place. Then fasten the screws gently just a little
at a time until all are tightly fastened.
Step 4: Test the card!
Okay, everything should be done already. Remember to make sure the heat sinks are correctly placed, the cooler actually touches the GPU (read: not the wrong spacers), the card isn’t bend and the fans are connected to the board. Install it into your computer.
To my intense joy everything worked just fine. I didn’t run any overclocking tests how fast the card can eventually get with this setup, but the temperatures went down dramatically while playing Fortnite in window mode without frame rate cap in max settings. I made a direct comparison to a Asus ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI.
I didn’t tweak any settings, but the Zotac stays at a stable 1835Mhz while being at an ice cold 57°C (19°C improvement!) without any noticeable fan noise. The Asus stock cooler goes up to 70°C in comparison (but clocking up to 100Mhz higher).
I hope I was able to help some of you who searched for info on how to replace the stock cooler on a ZOTAC GTX 1080 TI Mini for various reasons. I guess the modded card can be OC’ed to some new levels, but this is not my battlefield.