The cleaning process: first getting rid of the dust
In order to properly clean the graphics card, we first have to remove the plastic cover. On the sides there are some screws that have to be loosened before we can remove the cover.
We can now see the cooling block and we can see that a lot of dust has indeed built up between and against the cooling fins. Over the years, the fan has blown more and more dust against the right side (in the picture) of the cooling block, so that there is no free passage of fresh air anymore. The cooling block on the power supply (left in the picture) also receives less air.
We take our compressed air with us and use short bursts to blow off all the dust and dirt from the video card. We do not only blow out the cooling block but also the fan. This creates a localised snow storm at the Hardware.Info office, but the result is impressive.
The plastic cover can now be put back in place and screwed on to the card. On the next page, however, we will continue to disassemble in order to replace the cooling paste.