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Why Your GPU Fans Won’t Stop Spinning

GPU fans won't stop spinning

Why won’t my GPU fans stop spinning?

A GPU fan may not stop spinning in case of problems with the hardware, outdated BIOS software, or a fan temperature setting.

  • Hardware fault
  • BIOS driver is outdated
  • Fan temperature setting


Hardware problem

The GPU may not be fitted properly in its slot. Take it off from its PCI Express slot and disconnect it from the power cable. Put the GPU back in its slot and connect the power cable once again.


Software problem

Try doing an update of the BIOS driver to the latest version. The MSI support site will most often have the latest version. You may also want to update the VGA driver and graphics engine software. It’s worth noting that the BIOS update may be quite extensive. Some users have also had to install the Windows operating system once again.


Fan temperature settings

The fans are often set to spin when a specific temperature is reached. You can try adjusting this setting using tools like MSI Afterburner that have a Fan Controls setting.


Should my GPU fans always be running?

On most graphic cards, the GPU fans start running only when the GPU temperature reaches a certain level. As long as it is below this limit, the fans will not run. Therefore, they aren’t likely to run as soon as you turn on the computer.

If the fans are running, it will stop when the temperature of the GPU falls below the preset level.

If there isn’t much activity from the GPU, the minimum preset temperature may not be reached and the fans may not run.

You can use the graphics card software to change the fan settings so that they turn on at the temperature you set or remain on all the time. The latest NVIDIA graphic cards are set in such a way that the fans start running only when the GPU temperature is between 50 and 55°C. They stop running automatically when the GPU cools down to around 30°C.


How do I fix a GPU fan that’s constantly spinning?

If you have a GPU fan that’s constantly spinning, you must check for a loose cable connection. It may sometimes require the fan settings to be adjusted or the replacement of a faulty graphics card or a BIOS update.

  • Loose cable connection
  • Adjust fan settings
  • Replace faulty graphics card
  • BIOS update


Loose cable connection

Check if there is any cable that has been loosely connected to the graphics card. Remove it and plug it back again firmly.


Adjust fan settings

Use a utility tool like MSI Afterburner to customize the fan profile. This will make the fan operate at a set speed and only for a specific temperature range. You can consider setting the fan speed to Auto and the Fan Curve to Idle when the temperature is low. Also, choose Kernel mode in the Enable low-level hardware access interface dropdown menu.


Faulty graphics card

At high temperatures, transistors can fail, resulting in a faulty graphics card. This can also cause the GPU fans to spin non-stop. Replacing the card with a new one will solve the problem. You can first try re-installing the existing graphics card before doing the replacement.


BIOS update

The video card may need a BIOS update to resolve the problem. However, this may affect several other settings and must be done with caution. It’s a good idea to keep this as the last option.


Why GPU fans spin when idle

There are multiple reasons why the GPU fans spin when idle and some of these are given below.

  • If the problem started after you swapped or changed one of the boards, the spinning is likely to be due to a loose connection. Make sure that everything is in place by ensuring proper connection and correct seating. There are chances that the fan connector in the GPU is loose.
  • The lifetime of the fans could be almost over. As a result, the GPU tends to act as if it’s overheated because the speed doesn’t match with what it’s intended to be in the idle state. In this case, the best fix is to go in for fan replacement. If you have an XFX graphics card, you can pop the fans in and out easily just like RAM sticks.
  • Check for a BIOS or software setting that needs to be done to stop the idle spinning.
  • The motherboard may be faulty. You can fit another motherboard and see if the problem persists. If it doesn’t, you might have to replace the motherboard. Sometimes, the graphics card may be faulty.
  • If the fans don’t spin in the idle state when you use the Windows operating system but do so with Ubuntu, it could be because of a driver compatibility problem. You may have to change the driver setting or use a different driver.
  • The graphics card could have a power distribution problem and it might have to be replaced.
  • Uninstall the driver that you have currently and install the latest driver from the driver’s website.
  • Install a utility tool like an MSI Afterburner and set the speed of the fan to 20% when not playing games or doing such graphics-intense activities. You can create a custom profile to make the fans run at a slow speed until the temperature rises and then speed up.
  • The idle temperature setting could be very high. If you have an NVIDIA graphics card, you can lower its setting to Adaptive Power mode.
  • The graphics card is functioning on the slave/secondary VBIOS instead of the master/primary VBIOS. You can change this by sliding the small VBIOS switch to the opposite position. This switch is located close to the PCIe power connectors.


GPU fan spinning but not detected

If you notice the GPU fan spinning but it is not getting detected, you can check out for one or more of the following.

  • There is a compatibility problem between the GPU and the motherboard. Changing one of them, usually the motherboard, can help to fix the problem.
  • The PCIe slot is either damaged or malfunctioning. Getting this set right will enable detection. Before getting a new one fitted, clean the connectors on the graphics card using 90% rubbing alcohol and insert them to check if it works. Sometimes, the damage could be due to a faulty power supply unit.
  • The GPU may be dead. You can check this by fitting it on another system and checking if you get the same response. If so, you have a faulty GPU that should be changed.
  • The power supply unit may not be able to deal with the power requirements of your graphics card. Consider opting for another video card with matching power requirements.


GPU fan spinning but no signal

You can try out one or more of the tips given below if you observe the GPU fan spinning but there is no signal.

  • If you can hear the fan spinning along with the system posting but there is no signal, the GPU is likely to be dead and must be changed. If there is no posting, check for a dead PCI express slot or short.
  • Check if there are loose PCIe cable connections to the graphics card and tighten them. Also, unplug the power cord and monitor cable from the card for a minute and plug them back tightly. This helps in resetting the monitor. You should also reseat the memory sticks by removing them one by one, cleaning the contacts, and fitting them back in position.
  • Turn off the computer and unplug the HDMI cable from your graphics card. Plug it back and turn on the computer.
  • Check your graphics or video card on another computer with a well-functioning power supply unit. If you get the same result, the problem is with your card and you must get it replaced.


GPU fan spinning up and down

You can try some of the tips given here if you notice your GPU fan spinning up and down suddenly for no reason at all.

  • Consider reinstalling the latest version of the driver from its website. They tend to get corrupted sometimes especially if you’re using an operating system like Windows 10.
  • Check to see if anything is blocking the GPU fans and for firm power cables connection. If one fan is blocked, the other tends to spin at 100%,
  • Check the temperature settings of the fans. If they have the correct setting, make the required adjustment to the Fan Curve and increase the Cut-on point. It might also be a good idea to inspect the heatsink position and airflow.
  • The graphics card may have a defective fan control chipset. If this is the case, the card will have to be replaced as the chipset cannot usually be repaired.
  • The temperature sensor of the fan could be broken. If you can’t get the sensor repaired, try substituting the complete fan unit with a new one.
  • Set the PCIe slot to always operate in the Performance mode. This can be helpful if the up and down spinning is because of the power delivered from this slot.

Ernie Lo

Ernie Lo is a qualified web designer and web developer. He works as an IT support technician and website manager at Benleigh Vending, and he also fixes vending machines.

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