I have an aging MSI n6600 video card.. I know it is not an all time great but I paid $160 for it when new and it delivers enough performance for what I do. The only problem is that the integrated fan stopped working.
I tried all of the local computer stores, but nobody had a replacement fan for such an old card. Online, there are fan/heatsink assemblies for sale which will fit into pre-drilled holes, but the price is high, $40 – $60.
If you look at the picture on the right, you will notice that the card is fitted with a substantial fan/heatsink. There is a thin clear plastic cover over the heatsink fins which helps direct air better, and the fan takes its power from the video card.
Guess what? The heatsink is large enough to accept a fan from a Socket 370 CPU assembly. It is possible to get three of the four screws tightened between the fins just as they would be on a CPU heatsink, and as long as the original plastic cover and fan are removed, it works really well, maintaining a temperature of around 64° C in normal use. Obviously, power has to come from elsewhere, and the choice of fan may preclude the fan speed being monitored, but I don’t care. It didn’t cost me much to fix the problem, and that works for me.
Why so many sizes?
Looking through ads for cooling products, I noticed that there are numerous designs, many of which have fans of non-standard size and design that cannot be easily replaced or replaced at all other than to buy a whole new assembly.
My AMD CPU was originally supplied with a 70mm fan and heatsink. When it came time to replace the fan, I couldn’t get one that size and so had to replace the entire assembly. Now, any 80mm fan will fit, including a standard case fan in case I need to replace the fan at at time when I can’t get to a store. It is not right that CPU fans can’t all be replaced so easily. Having to unsettle the heatsink/CPU joint is total madness.
Likewise video cards. If one removes the fan/heatsink, they are almost all the same design underneath. So why not standardize on a design which either has one or dual fans which can be swapped out easily? And yes, I understand the concept of planned obsolescence and product life-cycles.