Err, is XFX working on swappable GPU fans?

A tweeted picture from XFX, showing what appears to be a removable GPU fan
(Image credit: XFX)

How do you improve upon an existing design? Stand out from the pack, even? When it comes to GPU cooling variations, it all comes down to mostly the same old thing: your choice of one, two, or three fans and some fancy shroud graphics and greebles, or perhaps, hardly any at all.

XFX, on the other hand, may have different ideas. While I can't be exactly certain of what we're looking at here, it's tweeted a picture of what looks suspiciously like a removable fan in a GPU cooler:

Alright, let's get into this then. Polling the vast experience of the PC Gamer hardware team, none of us can remember a time a GPU fan has died and needed replacing, although we have come across the odd squeaker. That's hardly a huge sample size, granted, but you'll find few people who have used more GPUs in their lifetimes than us.

In the case of squeaky fans, well, as the old adage goes, there's always lube. I'm sure there are some of you out there who have experienced a dead GPU fan, though. In which case, rejoice?

In all seriousness, however, while it's tempting to knock XFX for teasing a feature that at first glance looks mostly unnecessary, what it might show is a deepening commitment to repairability.

And that, I can very much stand behind. Far too much tech these days is difficult or even impossible to repair should a part fail, and while GPU fans aren't known for giving up the ghost too often, making them easy to remove does seem like a concession towards user repair. And if that's the case, I applaud it.

On the other hand, maybe I'm reading this image all wrong. Perhaps the fans are spring-loaded for, err, vibration-dampening purposes, and what's being demonstrated here is the tension of the spring. 

Or perhaps the fan units themselves come in different, swappable flavours, some with higher airflow, some tuned for lower noise. The possibilities are...well, there are some possibilities, it seems.

I really don't know. Something odd appears to be cooking in the cooling department at XFX though, and at the very least, I'm intrigued.

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Andy Edser
Hardware Writer

Andy built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 12, when IDE cables were a thing and high resolution wasn't. After spending over 15 years in the production industry overseeing a variety of live and recorded projects, he started writing his own PC hardware blog for a year in the hope that people might send him things. Sometimes they did.

Now working as a hardware writer for PC Gamer, Andy can be found quietly muttering to himself and drawing diagrams with his hands in thin air. It's best to leave him to it.