How to Speed Up Your Graphics Card Fan


If you are noticing that your GPU fan doesn’t spin faster, or your GPU is getting hot when you play a game, here’s how to speed up your graphics card fan when it matters.

Keeping the components in your computer cool is essential to preserve the overall longevity of your system.

One component running too hot can cause the internal temperature of your computer (in an enclosed case) to rise higher than it should.

How the graphics card fans should work

When playing games, or doing anything else that increases your graphics card’s workload, the GPU heats up.

The heatsink on the graphics card can only do so much on its own.

That’s why graphics card manufacturers have included a fan on the models that require some extra cooling.

These fans usually idle along when the GPU temperatures are low.

As the heat increases, so should the fan(s). Sometimes, this doesn’t happen.

You will notice immediately if your fans don’t spin any faster when playing a game. Fans make quite a noise when they are running at higher RPMs.

This is where you need to take action in order to prevent damage to your graphics card.

How to speed up the graphics card fan(s)

To solve the issue of your fans not spinning up to the speed you need, we are going to install a free program called MSI Afterburner.

Don’t worry if your graphics card isn’t manufactured by MSI. This software will work for most cards.

1. Download MSI Afterburner

Click here to download MSI Afterburner.

2. Install MSI Afterburner

Now that you have downloaded the installation file, it should be in your Downloads folder.

If its a Zip file, right-click on it, then left-click on the ‘Extract All…’ option in the contextual menu. Follow the prompts to complete the extraction process.

If the downloaded file isn’t a Zip file, right-click on it and left-click on ‘Run as administrator’ in the contextual menu. This will run the setup file as an administrator.

Once you have extracted the contents of the Zip file, right-click on the setup exe and left-click on ‘Run as administrator’.

Follow the prompts to complete the installation. It should be straight forward and easy to complete. If you are in doubt as to which options to choose, simply leave it as default and continue the process.

3. Setup a fan speed control profile

Click on the gear icon, then click on the fan tab.

Make sure ‘Enable user defined software automatic fan control’ is checked.

gpu fan speed profile

Recreate the curve of my fan settings and click on ‘OK’ to finish. If you find that your fan is too noisy with little or no workload, click and drag the 40 and 50-degree marker a bit lower.

Make small adjustments at a time until you are happy with the noise levels. The crucial thing is to have a maximum fan speed from 65-degrees upward.

Info Nibble: Left click on the plain white line to create another temperature reference point. You will only be able to add a certain amount of them in total.

Relaunch the game or program which puts a heavier workload onto your graphics card.

You should notice an increase in fan speed after a few minutes.

After you exit the game or program, look at MSI Afterburner. You will be able to see a history of the last few minutes of temperatures and fan speeds.

I personally don’t like to see GPU temperatures over 176 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Celcius.

Most graphics card’s maximum temperatures are somewhere around 190.4 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit and 88 to 100 degrees Celcius.

Signs your graphics card is overheating

1. Your computer is stable when performing low-intensity tasks

If your computer runs perfectly fine when you are checking emails or browsing the internet, but starts to play up when gaming, you may very well have an overheating component.

It may be the case that your CPU is the culprit. To make sure, install HWMonitor to have look at which component is overheating.

2. Graphical artifacts

If you notice that some artifacts are making their way onto your screen during gameplay, it’s very likely that your graphics card is overheating.

And by artifacts, I mean anything that you wouldn’t see normally. Like extra lines, blocks of graphics that look like they don’t belong in the scene, or patches of various colors.

3. Crash to desktop (CTD)

When you are playing your game you may find yourself back on your desktop with an error message to do with NVidia, AMD or graphics card. I have seen occurrences with no error message appear. And apart from that, maybe the game itself reporting a crash.

4. Your computer reboots or powers off

In cases where it’s a little more serious, your computer could reboot during gaming or shut down completely. When you experience the latter, it’s usually not good. Further damage could have occurred. If your computer won’t start aftward try these steps:

  1. Unplug the computer from the mains power.
  2. Remove the graphics card.
  3. Plug the computer back into the mains supply and try to start it up.

If it starts up without the graphics card, it’s time to replace it. If your computer still doesn’t want to power up, you will have to do some further diagnosing. It will be from damaged components like the power supply, CPU or motherboard.

Things to try when your graphics card is overheating

Check to see if your fans are able to spin freely. Sometimes a cable inside your case can find its way to the GPU fan jamming it in place.

Power off your computer. Use your finger to flick the fan in order to produce a few revolutions on its own. If the fan stops immediately after you spin it, the fan needs replacing.

It’s also important that your heatsink and fan area is clean. To clean it, remove the card and give it a blow with some compressed air in a can.

Wear something over your nose and mouth so you don’t inhale any dust blown off the card. And safety glasses won’t do you any harm either.

Be careful not to touch the copper contacts on the edge of the card where it plugs into the motherboard.

If you experience overheating even with a clean card and good fan speeds, try replacing your thermal compound between the GPU and the heatsink.

If all that fails to produce results, try the following:

  1. Check your computer case’s cooling.
  2. Reset your motherboard’s BIOS to default, just in case anything has been set incorrectly.
  3. Replace your power supply, especially if it’s around five years old or more.

Conclusion

I’ve used MSI Afterburner for years. It’s a program that has been around since 2009 or maybe even earlier.

After trying these suggestions, your GPU shouldn’t overheat and gaming should be more stable.

While it is slightly annoying having a bit of noise from your GPU fans while playing a game, it is vital.

After all, you do want longer lasting components and a reliable computer, don’t you?

Marlo Strydom

Marlo is a full time professional computer programmer, electronics engineer and computer technician.

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