So you have switched on your shiny new computer only to see a lack of movement from your GPU fans. In some cases, we only notice the fans have stopped working when the graphics card has started to stutter and underperform with games it could previously handle. Sometimes the fans not spinning can be a fault and not just the GPU fans sitting idle, which can be highly frustrating.
For those that have just spent a small fortune on the best GPU, we start to get a bit concerned when the new build isn’t running smoothly. There are a few ways to solve this problem and the promising news is that it is often a small issue that can be easily fixed, saving you from a costly replacement/ upgrade.
How Do I Force My GPU Fan to Spin?
If your GPU is idle, the only thing you need to get that fan spinning is to fire up your favorite game and have a hearty session. As your GPU’s temperature rises, the fan or fans will automatically kick into action. Using a graphically demanding game will speed up this process.
If you want your GPU fans to spin at all times, you can use MSI Afterburner to tweak your fan’s behavior. Simply find the ‘Fan Speed’ section, then click ‘Manual’. From there you’ll be able to dial in your custom fan curve.
If that old chestnut didn’t do the trick, now’s a good time to check all your cables are properly seated. With so many involved in a PC build, it’s easy to miss one loose or missing connection.
Still no luck? Try reinstalling the latest drivers, and failing that, remove your GPU and give it some TLC with a thorough clean.
How Do I Know if My GPU Fan Is Working?
GPU fans aren’t known for being the quietest things in the world, so a sure-fire way to test if yours are working is to throw on your most graphically dense game, and play it on the highest settings.
Before much time has passed, you should hear what sounds like a plane taking off in the room. Don’t worry, it’s not a plane; it’s your GPU fans. If you’ve got a top-of-the-range case with a tempered glass panel or two, it might be best to leave it open, so you can hear clearly.
If the hearing test doesn’t suit you, you can just use the Global Wattman program found in the Radeon ‘Global Settings’ menu to keep an eye on your GPUs temperature under load. In the event that your GPU is going beyond 80-85°, and you can’t hear any fan activity, there’s a good chance your fans aren’t working.
- Crashing – If your GPU seems to be doing a sterling job one moment, then seconds later, your PC crashes and won’t reboot, there’s a good chance your GPU is giving up the silicone ghost.
- Excessive Glitching and On-Screen Artifacts – Noticing that your games are glitching out more than they used to? This could be another sign your GPU is not long for this world.
- Abnormal Performance – Sometimes rising temperatures can just mean it’s time to replace the thermal paste on your GPU, but occasionally, the paste isn’t the problem. High temperatures and erratic fan behavior and noise can be symptomatic of a GPU about to kick the bucket.
How Do I Know if My GPU Is Dying?
If your GPU is walking the valley of the shadow of death, there’ll be a few tell-tale signs…
Is it Bad to Have GPU Fans Running All the Time?
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping your GPU fans running all the time, even if they’re set to 100%. You get the option to run them this way because they’re designed to handle the workload. That said, after years of constant spinning, the bearings will start to wear, but by that point, you’ll be well overdue an upgrade anyway.
Having your fans running constantly will help to keep your GPU temps way below average, which is great, but if you like peace and quiet, we can’t recommend it. Constant fans are an extremely noisy prospect even if you have a case with tempered glass paneling. If you mostly game wearing headphones and a directional mic, it’s not such a problem, but in any other circumstance, it’s not all that practical.
Time For A New GPU?
If nothing in this article worked but your component is still in warranty then it is worth contacting the seller directly to organize an exchange/ repair as you clearly have a faulty product. If it is old and way out of its warranty then these steps above may have been your last-ditch attempt to get more out of your GPU and it could be time to upgrade. Whether you need a low profile replacement, want the best possible GPU card for your setup or fancy the all-new RTX 20 series cards then you can head over to our in-depth guides for help and buying options.