Sagging is common with heavy graphics cards, especially those covering three or four slots. It’s not just aesthetically unpleasing, it can even lead to VRAM failure or damage the motherboard’s PCIe slot in the long run.
I understand that you’ve done everything right on the installation part. The thing is – every GPU can sag and it becomes a major concern only if it’s too noticeable. Luckily, this can be mitigated with very little trouble.
You’ll find dedicated brackets and support frames to prevent GPU sag. But the cheaper option would be adopting a DIY solution.
So, why take the risk when you can invest a few bucks or just a few minutes to prevent this problem?
Try These Basic Things First
- Since poor installation is one of the main culprits, ensure you have fitted every screw. A good idea is to lift the card to the right height before screwing them in.
- When the PSU-to-GPU connection is done from the bottom, the PCIe cable will pull the card downwards. A good approach is to manage the cable in such a way that the cable comes from the top, pulling it upwards.
- The graphics card tab that goes into the PCIe bracket is often loose and with even a simple wiggle, your GPU sags too much.
In such a case, Jaytwocents’ idea to screw the opposite side of the bracket ensuring the card doesn’t move is a great approach. But do note that this solution is only relevant for the supported PC cases.
In severe situations, the basic measures also don’t help and this calls for a proper anti-sag solution. But before picking a product online, going for a DIY solution is always a better idea.
Insert Multiple PCIe Slot Brackets
Modern graphics cards are designed with a backplate that somewhat prevents the sagging issue.
Some even have a metal bar that’s directly mounted to the heatsink, providing sturdy support to handle the heavy weight:
However, the older and low-end GPUs aren’t entirely secured. In this scenario, the removed and unused PCIe slot brackets (adjacent to the ports) can be reinstalled just underneath the graphics card.
All you have to do is break the tabs, mount two/three brackets, and screw them in. The sag will significantly reduce.
You can even get help from Jaytwocents’ video on how to do it the right way.
Tie a Fishing Line
The above step won’t work for PC cases that don’t support screwing the brackets or if the card has a metal bar underneath.
Instead, use a fishing line or a string/wire of appropriate length that’s strong enough to handle the graphics card’s weight.
The idea is to tie one end to the sagging section (a vent would do) and another somewhere on top of the case.
This way, the string pulls the GPU upwards, preventing it from sagging.
Place Legos or Props
The main issue with a fishing line is that it’s clearly visible, which may ruin the aesthetics. So, a better alternative is to use props that can lift the GPU slightly upwards.
Legos are another common choice among enthusiasts. They don’t just help prevent sagging but even make your setup look cool.
Build a DIY Stand
Even if you don’t own a prop or Lego, it’s completely fine! Some handy tools I’ve come across include a pencil, chopstick, piece of wood, dog’s army belt, etc.
The only thing you need to ensure is the length from the card to the PSU shroud.
The one that I’m currently using is a screwdriver handle. I have wrapped it with black electronic tape to match the case’s aesthetics.
Purchase an Anti-Sag Product
DIY stands are temporarily useful, but they can break or slip, which happens to be a major issue. For a more reliable option, you can go for any anti-sag product available online.
One with a telescopic screw design is anti-slip and has a magnetic suction to hold the GPU properly. Also, it can blend with either your black or white PC case, making it unnoticeable.
Just make sure you research well and look into multiple reviews to understand your needs. Most of these products aren’t pricy and should come from $10 to a maximum of $30.
Note: Most 40-series graphics cards and a handful of high-end cases come prepackaged with an anti-sag bracket. Such cards also have high-quality backplates that prevent the GPU’s PCB from bending or causing damage.
Mount GPU Vertically
For the final option, you won’t require purchasing any anti-sag solution nor do you need to create a DIY product.
However, you’ll require a riser/extension cable and a vertical mounting bracket. Once the setup is done, connect your GPU to the motherboard.
In a horizontal setup, the entire stress was on the PCIe slot, which caused the right end to sag. With the vertical mount, the graphics card weight is well supported and there won’t be any sagging!
Also, the graphics card fans stay right in front of your eyes, making your rig aesthetically pleasing.
Do note that this can abrupt the overall airflow of the PC case and can even overheat your GPU.
Should You Be Concerned?
Don’t go for the myth that GPU sags aren’t bad. For anyone who’s looking to future-proof their PC, GPU sag is definitely concerning!
The major cause is the poor design of graphics cards that can only support the weight at the I/O panel end. While that part of the card is lifted upwards, the other end sags (sometimes to an extreme point).
When this happens, you might face one of the following consequences in the long run:
- While it’s a rare case, the GPU connection may loosen, leading to frequent crashing.
- If the PCB is poorly designed, the PCIe contact pins can severely be damaged. The worst-case scenario is for the slot to rip off entirely from the motherboard.
- In rare cases, some poorly designed graphics cards’ PCBs may get bent. This can desolder the VRAM chips — not immediately but due to repeated heating and cooling in the long run (thermal cycling).
- Note that even poorly mounting a graphics card can lead to such an issue. KrisFix, a professional repairman has explained how GPU sag broke a 2080Ti. He had to get into 12 layers of PCB to fix it.