Has your GPU fan stopped spinning, and you can't figure out why? Unfortunately, there could be several frustrating reasons why your GPU fans are not spinning.
This guide will tell you what you need to know to solve some common problems, maintain your fan, and replace it when needed.
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Why Is My GPU Fan Not Spinning? (Likely Causes & Fixes)
One of the most common GPU-related problems is your GPU fan not spinning or only spinning a few times.
One of the most important things for your CPU fan is that it is kept at a cool temperature to perform at its best.
Let's look at how you can prevent it from overheating and ensure it runs smoothly.
GPU Isn't Busy Enough
The GPU won't be busy when the PC is not performing strenuous GPU-focused tasks, like rendering video games or streaming movies.
Related: CPU Vs GPU Rendering Comparison
This won't damage or affect the performance of your GPU, as it helps to cut down on noise pollution by only starting the GPU fans when needed.
You will only begin to hear the fan when it reaches a set temperature to switch on at.
So if you start playing a game that demands a lot more power from your GPU and you don't hear a GPU fan, then it means that something else could be wrong.
Related: What Is GPU Scaling?
Incorrect Pin Connection
Another answer to “why is my GPU fan not spinning?” could be an incorrect pin connection. The power connectors to the power supply unit (PSU) may not be connected correctly.
Usually, there are about 6-8 pins on the connectors, and they need to be fully snapped into the designated slots.
If you don't do this, it could cause the fan not to spin correctly because the PSU can’t send power to the fan.
If they are connected correctly, then there could be something else causing your fans not to spin, such as a faulty power supply.
Failed Power Supply
If you notice fans not spinning on the GPU, it's worth noting that GPUs require a lot of power.
If you have installed a new GPU and find that the fan isn't spinning, then there's a good chance this is due to the power connector.
The power connector is usually a combination of 6-pin and 8-pin, depending on the model.
Make sure the pins are connected and are pushed fully into the card. Also, ensure the CPU is placed correctly in the PCI-E slot on your motherboard.
It would be best to ensure that the power supply unit supplies enough wattage to power the GPU.
A key indicator that the PSU isn't powerful enough is the PC repeatedly shutting down for no reason other than a lack of power.
If GPU fans are not spinning but working is an issue for you, it could be dust. This is another common problem for GPU fans. A lot of GPU fans don't spin very fast.
This leads to a build-up of dust on the blades. The fans are already moving slowly, so it doesn't take much to stop them from spinning.
This problem is compounded when the fans haven't been cleaned, or the PC hasn't been turned on in a while.
You can use a compressed air canister to clean the dust without damaging your fans or PC.
If you choose to remove the blades to clean them, then you could also take some time to clean the heatsink. Make sure to be careful, though, as these parts are susceptible.
Spray from a safe distance that removes the dust.
Fan's Bearings Need To Be Oiled
If you're wondering 'why are my GPU fans not spinning,' and no other reason seems to fit, it could be a mechanical issue.
Like any other mechanical part, the fan's bearings can become less efficient over time.
The best way to solve this problem is with a few drops of standard machine oil or even sewing machine oil.
Simply remove the sticker on top of the fan and take off the protective plastic cap. Then drop a small amount of oil onto the bearings.
Less is more when it comes to oil, so be careful how much you put on.
Make sure not to use WD40 or household cooking oils, as these will either leave a nasty residue that can hinder performance or evaporate too quickly to make a difference.
Time For An Upgrade
This is the last resort if you've tried all of the above and nothing has worked. This is often the most time-consuming and troublesome solution.
You will need to remove the GPU from its case to do this. Do this extremely carefully as it is easily damaged. Once the old fan has been removed, you can replace it with a new one.
But make sure it matches your graphics card. Fans can often be used on a variety of different GPUs.
However, they often need to be from the same series. You will also need to ensure that your PSU has the appropriate power level to power the fan.
Side Effects of GPU Fans Not Spinning?
The primary function of the fans is to cool the computer, and if they're not spinning, it could lead to the GPU temperatures reaching unmanageable levels.
This can lead to a shortening of the lifespan of internal components.
When the fans stop spinning, it can also lead to many hardware and software problems. Examples include damage beyond repair and a loss of data.
If you’re wondering, ‘is it normal for GPU fans to not spin,’ then the answer is yes. Your computer will also work if your GPU fans aren’t spinning.
They only kick in when your GPU reaches a specific temperature to cool it down.
However, if you're playing a very graphics-heavy game and your fan doesn't start working, this could be concerning, and you should try and find out why the fans are having issues.
When Should I Replace My GPU Fan?
The lifespan of GPU fans is pretty good with extended use. They can be used for years and still run perfectly.
A couple of years of regular use is a good rule of thumb. Perhaps a year or two with intensive use.
There are some tell-tale signs when your fan needs to be replaced. One of these signs is the fan being noticeably louder than usual.
Another sign is the fan is not working as efficiently as it should be.
Fans need to be replaced mainly because of a build-up of dust and debris. You can change your GPU fans every few years, as we mentioned.
However, if you want to replace it earlier to keep it running at maximum efficiency, you can replace it every year or two.
Common GPU Fan Not Spinning Questions
Are GPU fans intake or exhaust?
Most GPU fans are intake fans. They pull cold air from your PC case into the GPU.
For this reason, GPU temperature is highly affected by room temperature and the location of your computer.
How do I turn my GPU fan on?
If your GPU fan isn’t spinning on startup, you can select the 'Enable Manual Fan Control' option within your GPU settings or via a third-party application.
You can then adjust the power level using a slider or manually typing the number.
With a slider, adjust the fan speed by moving it to the left and to the right to increase airflow for the cooling fan.
What is A good GPU fan speed for gaming?
If your fan is a stock GPU fan, you can run it at 70% RPM or above. It’s the recommended speed range for a GPU fan.
For gamers, if their GPU temperature reaches 70 degrees Celsius, the RPM setting should be 100%. At 50 degrees, the average GPU fan speed should be around 50% of its total RPM.
How much GPU fan speed is safe?
It depends on your GPU temperature. If your GPU reaches 50 degrees Celsius, you need to keep the RPM below 50%.
It's important to keep fan speed high when you're at 80 degrees Celsius and above for cooling purposes.
If your GPU is under unusually high pressure, it should have a high fan speed to keep it cool.
There are many reasons why your GPU fan might not be spinning. Your PC might just have been idle or not have required the fan to be spinning.
If there's something wrong with the fan, you can troubleshoot it. Ensure all the parts are securely in place, give it a clean, and replace the fan before it gets old.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.