Are your GPU fans not spinning or spinning sporadically? Here are some primary causes and potential fixes.
GPU fans; help cool your graphics card, but they may unexpectedly stop working, triggering a moment of panic.
If you’ve just installed a gaming PC and you find the fans on your new graphics card aren’t working, chances are they’re not broken. However, if you’re on a deficit, don’t think about it.
There are some incredible graphics cards under $200 that you can buy.
In most cases, simple solutions solve minor problems with graphics card fans. However, in most situations, the fact is that it is possibly a simple error that the designer has made, and the answer is simple.
So, in this section, we’re going to go through some of the most growing reasons why your GPU fan doesn’t spin. So, if your GPU fans don’t spin, here are some causes and fixes to get them back to work.
Common Reasons Why Your GPU Fans Aren’t Spinning
Before you start panicking too much about your misplaced GPU fans, you must first realize that most modern fans don’t have to spin continuously. So, when is a GPU fan going to start spinning?
Believe it or not, some graphics cards don’t spin until they reach a specific temperature. They come with a passive cooling mode designed to help them reduce system noise.
In this case, a lot of users are finishing their build and using their systems for a certain amount of time until they realize that their GPU fans are not spinning.
And when they eventually remember that it doesn’t spin, they conclude that something is wrong, when in fact it was just the way the card was programmed to work.
To test if this is what’s going on with your graphics card, just run a game or stress check/benchmark that will load your GPU.
You can also add MSI Afterburner and manually increase the fan(s) rpm. If the fans of your graphics card don’t turn on when the game/benchmark begins (and the card gets hotter) or when you manually set it to MSI Afterburner, you’re likely to have a different problem.
Issues That Causes GPU Fans Not Spinning On A New Build
If you have a brand-new PC build where everything is switched on except the GPU (and its fans), check out these other common reasons why your graphics card fans may not be spinning:
1. PCIe Power Isn’t Plugged In
Many first-time designers have failed to put things in. I’ve designed a lot of systems, and I’ve forgotten to plug stuff in before.
It’s going to happen. So, one explanation why your GPU fans may not be spinning is simply because you failed to plug the PCIe power cable into it from your PSU.
Test to see if your graphics card is connected to your power supply. Notice, however, that some graphics cards (such as GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050, to name a few) do not have 6 or 8-pin PCIe power connectors because they only operate off the power supplied to them through the PCIe path.
So, if you have a graphics card that doesn’t need to be linked through a PCIe link from your power supply, and the fans don’t spin, and the GPU doesn’t function, then there’s something else wrong.
2. Another Power Cable Isn’t Plugged In
Although you’d probably be looking for a term other than ‘GPU fan not spinning’ for this possible problem, it’s always a good idea to double-check all connections on your device if anything doesn’t work to make sure that all connections are A) plugged in, to B) seated correctly.
My guess, though, is that if you’re looking for reasons why your GPU fan isn’t turning, the other components (and fans) in your system are probably working, but it’s not just your GPU.
So, if you’ve reseated all the cables and made sure they’re all plugged in and your GPU fan still doesn’t turn, then you’re facing another issue — and you might have a defective part.
Issues That Causes GPU Fans Not Spinning On An Older Build
If you have an older computer and your graphics card fans are no longer working, the following can trigger the following problem:
1. Is Your GPU Too Dusty?
If you have an older machine, and the fans on your graphics card used to work correctly, but don’t spin now, you may want to take the card out and clean it.
You may use a can of compressed air to clean any dust from the fans. After you’ve cleaned it out, you can either recheck it or try the potential fix mentioned below before you recheck it.
2. Do the GPU’s Fan Bearings need to be oiled?
When you have an old graphics card, and the fans don’t spin anymore, you might be able to get any extra life out of it by re-oiling the fans’ bearings.
You’ll need to remove your graphics card from your machine (if you don’t already have it), remove the fan(s), peel off the sticker on the back, and add a few drops of 3-in-1 household oil (light mechanical oil will work, but don’t use WD-40.)
If the oil gets your fans spinning again, then lovely. If your graphics card may work for you anymore.
GPU Fan Not Spinning? Here’s How To Fix It
In most instances, if you have an output display on your computer, your GPU will be idle. When idle, graphics cards use passive cooling hardware, such as the heatsink, to prevent core temperatures from increasing when performing simple tasks such as web browsing.
But this doesn’t mean your fans are working. You’ll need to run a game or benchmarks to see whether they’re in working order.
What happens when you run a GPU intensive game, fans will start running as the core temperatures of the GPU will increase. Unless the fans don’t start running after at least an hour or a game, then there’s a question.
If your graphics card is still cooling passively, it is likely to slow and even shut down. But if the fans don’t speed up under heavy loads and high temperatures, keep reading for more options, because there’s undoubtedly something wrong!
Restart Your PC
If you’ve ever mentioned that you’re having a technology problem, the response you’re going to hear is, “Have you tried to shut it off again? “As dumb as it may sound, 90% of the time it works.
When it comes to your GPU, simply turn off your computer and fix your problems. We’re real, even though you spend loads of cash on the best CPU for gaming out there, it could still be malfunctioning because you failed to restart your PC in a while.
So, either turn off your PC for at least a minute before you turn it back on or just restart your computer to make sure everything works fine once it starts again up.
The graphics processing units require a lot of power and a lot of it. If you have recently mounted a new GPU only to find that the fan is not spinning, then it is likely that the power connector (a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin depending on the model) connecting it to the power supply device is either not connected or the pins are not fully pushed into the board.
In the same way, ensure that the GPU is correctly located in the PCI-E slot on the motherboard.
Another factor to look for is if the power supply unit provides enough power to power the GPU. If the peripherals are not responsive or the PC shuts down repeatedly for no reason, the PSU can not be strong enough.
Doing advance research before buying a new card is no brainer, but you’d be shocked how many unexpected builders dive into the top of the RTX line without double-checking the wattage requirements.
If your current power supply unit is underpowered by the GPU, you will need to invest in a more compelling replacement, at which point the GPU fan should work again.
Another essential check while the PC is open is to check that none of the other connections is loose, particularly anything connected to the motherboard, including power cables.
While not explicitly connected to the GPU fan, these types of connections that have an overall impact on the device, which is a bit like a microcosm where something needs to operate for the amount of its part to function correctly.
Oil the Bearings
Like any mechanical element, the fan bearings may lose some of their spinning capabilities over time, and the best way to remedy this is to refresh the engine with a drop or two of any standard machine oil or sewing machine oil.
Remove the sticker from the top of the fan, remove the plastic protective cover, and put a small amount of oil on the bearings. Be sparring as a little can go a long way, while too much can ooze on the blades and, God forbid, on the GPU below, causing vital problems. We need to bring the cap back to hold the oil again.
Stay clear of WD40 or household cooking oils as they either leave residues that can impair functionality or evaporate too quickly to be of use.
Clean the Fan and other Obstacles
The most common culprit for GPU fans who don’t spin is the build-up of dust and debris on the blades. The fans used on the GPUs have a very low torque, which means that it doesn’t take much to prevent them from moving or completely immobilizing the blades.
With their very function of moving hot air away from the GPU, fans interact continuously with errant particles and dust that invariably end up inside a PC.
Over time, this debris has come to rest on the blades. The issue is especially prevalent if the machine has not been used or cleaned for a while.
Invest in a compressed air bottle, open your Laptop, find your GPU, and remove any dust from the blades. You could even go further by removing the fan from the GPU and removing any compressed air dust on both sides of the blades.
If you choose to remove fans from the GPU, take the opportunity to clear the heatsink (if the GPU has one) of any dust build-up and clean the card itself. Focus on being careful not to spray so close to avoid damaging the components and the circuitry.
Another common cause of idle fans is the misplaced wiring of the fan motor, which over time, may inch its way into the direction of the blades, obstructing movement. Also, if your overall cable management is missing, let’s say, then check to make sure that no loose cables come into contact with the blades.
Drivers and GPU Software
Get the latest drivers from the Nvidia or AMD websites, depending on the model of your GPU. Install the drivers or, if you did so recently, uninstall and reinstall them.
Do the same for any proprietary Nvidia and AMD GPU applications such as GeForce Experience and Radeon Applications. Specific settings can inadvertently mess with the fan controls and affect when and under what circumstances it spins or does not spin.
Driver issues, more often than not, arise when you’ve installed a newly released version, and the procedure hasn’t been completed correctly, or a manufacturer’s end issue has been modified in a recent patch.
Test It on Another PC
If none of the above measures was working, your computer could have a defective part. You can check a GPU on a working machine by installing a graphics card to see if it turns on.
Whether it runs perfectly on a test PC, your computer might have a faulty motherboard that needs to be replaced.
Replace The Fan
If none of the remedies above work, you likely have a mechanical failure on your hands. Fan failures occur, particularly with older models that have been running away for thousands of hours use.
Conversely, newer GPUs are not immune to the occasional failure of the fan due to an unforeseen malfunction in production.
A perfect way to test this is downloading the MSI Afterburner, overclock and GPU monitoring code, and then set the software to run the fan or fans at full speed.
If they don’t fire up and you’ve covered all points above, the problem is more or less guaranteed to be a hardware failure.
Unfortunately, in this situation, given that you have the know-how to open up a fan and repair it manually, the only choice is to invest in a new fan.
Luckily fans are among the lowest priced PC components, and it’s possible to fit a good GPU fan around $40 to $50.
Stick trusted brands such as Cooler Master and Corsair for the peace of mind of product reliability.
If it doesn’t, and you’ve followed the steps above to a T, the problem may be with the motherboard, in which case it may be time to invest in a new one, or, if it’s new, to send it back to the vendor and get a replacement.
Most modern motherboards come with no-nonsense guarantees, so it shouldn’t be a matter of concern.
The Last Word On GPU Fans Not Spinning
GPU fans not spinning can be an enormous issue. Most hardware beginners I know instantly believe their entire gaming system is dying out. The real problem, however, may be much less severe.
Outdated GPUs can be temperamental, and while bearing oiling can make fans work smoother, it’s not a long-term solution.
So, if you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to solve the problem, you might just need a new graphics card.
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