Some of you might remember our guide from last year on How to Maintain and Repair Dual-X and Other Non-Serviceable GPU Fans covering the whole procedure on how you can fix the fans of old mining video cards that use cheaper sleeve bearing fans. That guide was demonstrating the whole procedure for Sapphire’s old Radeon Dual-X video cards that were very popular back in the Litecoin mining days and are still usable for mining ZEC for example or any other Equihash-based altcoin. Back then we mentioned that the same procedure works for Gigabyte’s Windforce fans as well as many other cheaper fans that find their way on a lot of video cards nowadays, even on very high-end products such as even GTX 1080 Ti. The basic procedure fro replacing the metal bushing with ball bearings is pretty much the same on all fans, though there are some specifics from brand to brand and from model to model and now it is time to talk a bit more about Gigabyte’s Windforce fans.
Gigabyte has been using the Winforce series of fans for quite some time and they have never been our favorites, especially for GPU mining rigs due to the fact that they are essentially cheap sleeve bearing fans that are less durable when used in higher temperature and dusty environment. The high temperature and dust are the two very common things for many GPU mining rigs and Gigabyte even used the same fans on their Nvidia P106-based mining GPU and we have recently checked what is the situation in just a bit short of three months of use for mining with these. We even had bad experience with Windforce fans starting to fail in just about a month of use on RX 400/500 series of GPUs as well as on GTX 1070 when used for mining, so you can imagine why video cards from Gigabyte with these fans are really not our first choice for GPU mining rigs.
With all of the above said however there is one important advantage that Gigabyte’s Windforce fans have over some other cheaper sleeve bearing fans found on expensive video cards used for mining and that is the fact that you can relatively easily upgrade them. We are talking about replacing the metal bushing with dual ball bearings thus fixing fans that are starting to show signs of the metal bushing wearing off and the fan destabilizing or the fan rotating slower due to dust buildup. The important thing here is to catch the potential problem on time and fix it promptly and not wait for the fan to stop rotating completely and then start to think about a solution as then it will be most likely too late to do anything. Sure, with fans starting to fail in a month or just a couple of months since purchase of a new GPU you can get a warranty replacement, but when used for mining this means downtime and the newly replaced card can start showing problems soon as well… imagine if you have tens or hundreds of Gigabyte Windforce, Gigabyte Gaming and even some Gigabyte Aorus cards that do come equipped with the cheap sleeve bearing Windforce fans.
The metal bushing used by the Gigabyte Windforce fans is 2x5x5.5mm in size (2mm inside diameter, 5mm outside diameter and 5.5mm height) and you can easily find the right size of ball bearings for these sizes. You will need two 2x5x2.5mm bearings as well as a single spacer with at least 2mm inside diameter and 5mm outside that has a thickness of 0.3-0.5mm that you need to place between the two bearings. If you do that you will get a perfect replacement of the standard metal bushing essentially upgrading the fan to dual ball bearing one and getting it to be like a brand new one or even better. The dual ball bearing upgrade will make it more durable and resistant do higher operating temperatures and dust and you will have more problem free time for mining without issues with the fans. The only drawback is that the upgrade procedure can or will void your warranty, unless of course you do the procedure carefully and save the metal bushings to reinsert them back should you need to return the video card for replacement due to an issue with the board itself and not the fans.