Everything You Need to Know
When you’re building your own PC for the first time, the most common problem that you’ll encounter is when your GPU fans not spinning. This can be frustrating because you’ve probably done everything right, or that you might have a potential problem.
But in most cases, GPU fans not spinning is a simple problem to remedy, and you don’t need to do some complicated troubleshooting.
In this guide, we’ll go over how your gaming PC’s GPU fans work and how you can fix the most common problems associated with graphics card fans.
What’s The Most Common Reason Why GPU Fans Not Spinning Properly or At All?
Your gaming PC does not need to run its GPU fans at all time, or at least until they hit a specific temperature. Your GPU software may come with a passive cooling mode that’s designed to reduce system noise, which in this case, is the noise of your GPU fans.
Most first-time PC builders would turn on their computer and take a moment to realize that their GPU fans are not spinning, or spinning slowly. When they do find out their fans not spinning, they immediately assume they did something wrong or that their new GPU is defective.
To find out if your graphics card actually has a GPU fan problem, just simply run a game or do a stress test/benchmark test that will put your GPU under load. You can install MSI Afterburner, or something similar, to help you raise the speed of your fan manually too.
If your fans do not spin after going through benchmarking your computer, or even after you’ve manually set the MSI Afterburner, then you might have a GPU problem.
What Are Other Problems Associated with GPU Fans Not Spinning Properly On a New Gaming PC Build?
If you have a brand new gaming computer and everything is turned on except for the fans, here are some common problems to help you do basic troubleshooting:
PCIe Power Isn’t Plugged In
It’s common for first-time PC builders to forget to plug things in properly. A PCIe power connector might be one of the few things that first-time builders often overlook, which cause GPU fans not spinning.
If you suspect that you might not have plugged in your PCIe power connector, this can easily be fixed by plugging it in to the power supply unit.
You can also check if your GPU is connected to the PSU properly. Take note that older graphics cards such as GTX 1050Ti/1050 don’t have 6-pin or 8-pin power connectors to connect to a PSU because they run on the power provided to them through the PCIe lane.
If your graphics card does not need to be connected to a power supply via a PCIe cable and the fans aren’t spinning, then you might have a different problem.
A Different Power Cable Isn’t Plugged In
If your PCIe cable is connected properly to the power supply and the fans are not spinning, you might have another cable that’s not plugged in correctly. If everything is plugged in correctly but fans not spinning at all (or slowly), then you might have a GPU problem.
To check if you do have a GPU problem, you can reseat all the cables and ensure that they are all connected properly to where they’re supposed to be connected (graphics card included). If everything is properly plugged and other connections are working as intended except for the fan or GPU, then you might need to purchase a new graphics card.
What Are Common Issues That Could Cause Your Fans To Stop Spinning In An Older Build?
If you have an older gaming rig and your video card’s fans suddenly decide to stop spinning, you can look at these following issues:
Your Video Card Might Be Too Dusty
It’s possible that your video card might be too dusty. Your fans not spinning might be due to heavy accumulation of fan dust. Think of them as a heavy piece of cloth dangling around the fan blades.
If this is the problem, you can just pull the video card out and clean it. You can use a can of compressed air to get rid of all the fan dust and in other components of the video card. You can also use small paint brushes together with a can of compressed air to help you clean the dust around the fans. This should make it easy for your fans to start spinning once more.
Your GPU Fans’ Bearings Need To Be Oiled
If you have one of those old GPUs, a common cause for GPU fan not spinning is its bearings. You can expand your video card’s life by re-oiling the fans’ bearings with a lightweight machine oil (like a 3-in-1 household oil). Word of advise: do not use WD-40. They can do more harm than good to your aging video card.
If you’re lucky, a little bit of oil might make it look like your GPU has a new fan. But if your GPU fans are not functioning properly even after being oiled and dusted, then it might be time to replace it with a new GPU.
Different Fixes For Most GPUs
If you have one of those modern GPUs and your fan is not working properly even after you’ve done the basic troubleshooting above, you can try one of these fixes. You don’t have to use all of them. You just need to work your way down with any of the go to fix listed below:
Fix #1 – Update your Graphics Driver
Sometimes, when fans stop spinning, it’s mostly because of a driver issue. It could mean that you’re using a broken or outdated driver. In most cases, when you didn’t install the graphics driver properly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it makes things worse, but there will be problems. Your GPU might not even show up in the Device Manager if you have a faulty driver.
This is also easy to resolve because you just need to visit your video card’s manufacturer website (Nvidia/AMD), download the latest correct installer, and follow the steps provided.
You can also use a software called Driver Easy, which is a software that makes driver installation and updating easy. You just install the program, click Scan Now button and it will do the rest.
It will list down every driver that needs to be installed or updated, as well as drivers that contribute to a faulty component. But note that you need the Pro Version of the software if you want to make this program work for you.
Note that you can still manually download and install all the drivers with the free version even if you don’t have the technical know how, but it’s time-consuming. Some drivers may require a bit of web browsing if the free version has problems installing it.
Once all drivers are updated, your computer hardware should be running smoothly, including your GPU. Any hardware issue caused by an outdated GPU driver should be resolved afterwards.
Fix #2 – Reconfigure Your GPU’s Fan Speed or RPM
If your GPU fan not spinning properly even after you reinstalled the drivers, you might want to readjust the fan’s RPM or fan speed. You can do this by using a hardware monitoring program such as MSI Afterburner so you can adjust the fan speed manually.
Open the MSI Afterburner program and click on the A Icon to toggle auto control. Once the fan speed control is accessible, drag the slider to manually toggle fan speed. If you don’t hear anything even if the slider is already at 100, proceed to the next fix.
Fix #3 – Scan and Repair Your System
To proceed with this step, try and remove your graphics card and install it in a test PC. This test PC may or may not have the same specs are your actual unit. You just want to make sure that the components are properly installed, including your graphics card, PCIe power connectors, and more.
If your graphics card works on another PC perfectly, but it’s not working on your actual unit, then it might be a system issue. When we say system issue, it could mean that you have bigger problems than your graphics cards. It could mean that your power supply unit might not have enough power to boot up your graphic card, or there are missing or corrupted files in your operating system.
To help determine if your system is at fault here, you can use a program called Restoro. This is a professional repair solution that lets you scan and fix system issues without deleting or losing personal data.
Much like Driver Easy, there’s a Free Version as well as a Paid Version. The Free version only allows you to scan your system but not repair the files. The Paid Version lets you do the full repair. Don’t worry as there is a 60-day money-back guarantee if Restoro is unable to fix the problem.
If GPU fans not spinning yet after running Restoro or checking for system files, then proceed with the next fix below.
Fix #4 – Upgrade your GPU BIOS
Much like a corrupted driver, a corrupted GPU BIOS can also cause problems that make things worse. BIOS problems are uncommon, but they’re still problems regardless. You need a little bit of technical know how to upgrade your BIOS, but nothing that a quick site search can’t fix.
If you aren’t confident about your technical skills, you might want to refer to a computer specialist to help you do upgrade your BIOS.
Frequently Asked Questions About GPU Fans Not Spinning
How Do I Force My GPU Fan to Spin?
If you really want to manually spin your GPU fan, you’ll need a third party software such as MSI Afterburner. This is a software that lets you manually toggle the speed of your fan. Just go to the Fan Speed section and click Manual.
Then just slide the dial based on the speed you want. If this doesn’t force your GPU fan to spin, then you might have done something wrong when you built the PC the first time, or you’re already dealing with an old GPU that needs to be replaced.
How Do I Know If GPU Fans Are Not Spinning?
GPU fans aren’t exactly known for being silent, so you’ll actually know whether or not your fans are spinning just by listening.
Doing a stress test, or manually firing up a graphically demanding game at the highest settings possible, is a sure way to make your fans spin and sound like an airplane taking off.
If you have a top-of-the-line case with a tempered glass side panel, you might be able to see for yourself if the fans are spinning or not. If not, you might want to de-lid the PC casing and see if the fans are spinning or not.
How Do I Know My GPU is Dying?
If your GPU fan is dying, it will show the following symptoms:
- Abnormal Performance – Lastly, when your GPU temperatures spike for no reason at all, even when it’s idle, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong with the GPU fan or the GPU itself. Note that when this happens, you might not need to replace the GPU just yet. Simply reapply the thermal paste on your GPU and see if it’s working fine after that. If the temperatures still spike after a new thermal paste, double check if your fans are spinning or if there’s something that’s pushing your GPU to the limit when there shouldn’t be. If there’s nothing suspicious with your GPU and fans don’t start spinning still, it’s time to buy a new video card.
- Crashing – When your GPU suddenly crashes unexpectedly and you’re unable to reboot, chances are your GPU is dying and needs to be replaced. Note that you don’t need to put your GPU under heavy load as well. It’s actually worse if your PC crashes even when it’s idle.
- On-Screen Artifacts or Excessive Glitching – If you’re noticing FPS drops for no reason, or if your game is graphically glitching, your GPU might be having problems and it’s letting you know that it’s not going to last long. When you ignore glitching or on-screen artifacts, you’re putting more load on your GPU and PSU, so you’re at risk for further component damage apart from your GPU.
Is It Bad To Have GPU Fans Running All The Time?
There’s nothing wrong with having your graphics card fans spin all the time, even if they’re at 100% (if you use MSI Afterburner or its counterpart). You can run them this way because GPUs are meant to handle heavy workloads.
When fans are always running, it will keep your GPU temperature below average, which is what you want regardless if you’re gaming, working, or editing. The downside here is that having your fans constantly on creates noise pollution if your case has a tempered glass panel. If you’re wearing gaming headsets or if you live alone, the noise shouldn’t be completely detrimental.
But note that years of constant spinning might wear off your GPU fan bearings faster than they should. You can refer to the previous section above that talks about maintaining fan bearings with lightweight machine oil.
The methods mentioned in this article to fix GPU fans are only possible if you have ample time. You must primarily check the power cable and graphics card fan are appropriately connected. If under these multiple stress tests, too, there is a fan spinning issue, and there it is under warranty, you must contact your seller.
We hope this article gives you some details about the GPU fans of your computer on spinning, but you should always upgrade it to keep your PC safe. GPU fans can make you worry about your PC’s motherboard, which can be very risky. If your GPU fan becomes a faulty product, it must be replaced with a new one.
You can either go with a lower-range GPU fan or a higher-range GPU fan. If you want the latest GPU card, then you can go for the all-new RTX 20 series cards, which can be your best buying option at a higher rate. This new series will work fine and live up to your imagination while playing a high graphics game.