does a video card need a fan?


G

Gerard

Hi,

I have a PC that had a really annoying whining noise coming from a fan
inside the CPU case. I ignored it and eventually it stopped. However, after
a while my monitor started playing up and gradually it got worse to the
stage where it was almost impossible to view anything properly on screen.
Opened the case up and realised the video card fan was bust so assumed the
video card (GeForce 32mb) had died because it was overheating each time I
was using the PC. Didn't need anything brilliant for my PC so bought a
GeForce 64mb card off ebay for £10. Works perfectly fine, but the thing I'm
concerned about is should it have a fan to cool the chip down? There is a
slot for the fan but no fan came with the card, althought the heatsink is
considerably bigger than the previous one.

Hopefully someone can advise me, and maybe tell me where I can get a fan
that is 4.5cm x 4.5cm if I do need one to avoid the same overheating problem
happening again.

thanks,
Gerard
 
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F

ft87

Hi. You should not need a fan for any video card that has less then
256 MB onboard. I have a Geforce2 MX 32 MB and it has no fan and does
not overheat. However, if you plan to overclock your card you may need
a fan.
 
M

Mxsmanic

Gerard said:
Works perfectly fine, but the thing I'm
concerned about is should it have a fan to cool the chip down? There is a
slot for the fan but no fan came with the card, althought the heatsink is
considerably bigger than the previous one.
If the card is clearly designed for cooling with a fan, then you should
use a fan, otherwise you may just be right back where you started, with
a damaged card from overheating.

If the card doesn't appear to provide for a fan, then you probably don't
need one.
Hopefully someone can advise me, and maybe tell me where I can get a fan
that is 4.5cm x 4.5cm if I do need one to avoid the same overheating problem
happening again.
Most well-stocked computer stores (especially the warehouse type of
store) have a lot of little fans. They usually only cost a few dollars.
Be sure it's a ball-bearing fan (not a fan with sleeve bearings) or you
may just have to replace it six months later.
 
J

J. Clarke

Hi. You should not need a fan for any video card that has less then
256 MB onboard. I have a Geforce2 MX 32 MB and it has no fan and does
not overheat. However, if you plan to overclock your card you may need
a fan.
And that is of course why most fast Geforce boards have immense coolers that
take up an extra slot installed on them by the manufacturers.

The amount of memory is irrelevant, what is relevant is the design of the
GPU, the design of the heat sink, the airflow through the case, and the
design rules under which the GPU was manufactured. Some very old, very
small GPUs die quickly with no fan, other much more powerful, much newer
ones run fine without one. And some that work fine with no fan in a loose
case with good airflow need a fan in a tight case with poor airflow.

As a general rule, if the case is a reasonably good design and is not too
packed with hardware, if the board comes with no fan then it should be fine
with no fan.

In answer to Gerard's question, if the board he has has the factory heat
sink and no fan then he should not worry about it. However if he wants to
be extra careful, he can use a slot cooler in an adjacent slot set to blow
on the GPU, or, if the board has standard cooler mounting holes, get an
aftermarket cooler such as the ones from Zalman.
 
B

Bob Niland

Mxsmanic said:
Be sure it's a ball-bearing fan (not a fan with
sleeve bearings) or you may just have to replace
it six months later.
If you recognize that peculiar squealing or buzzing
sound and catch it in time :)

If your motherboard has a spare 3-pin fan header,
and has run-time software that monitors the 3rd
pins (fan speed sense line), then seek out a 3-wire
ball-bearing fan, and hook it to one of those headers.

That way, if the fan fails (or perhaps just drops
below some threshold speed you set), the system will
at least alert you, or perhaps optionally shut down,
rather than let the graphics card smoke itself.

If you have a fan controller, you can also connect the
graphics fan to that. It may at least provide audio
alerts for fan speed decay.
 
M

Mxsmanic

Bob said:
If you recognize that peculiar squealing or buzzing
sound and catch it in time :)
If it even makes a noise. I've had fans fail silently. In other cases,
they do make a noise, but it's hard to hear. In one case, it was a very
faint vibrating noise, which I never would have noticed were it not for
the fact that I hear my fans all day long and any change is noticeable
to me (just like parents caring for newborn babies, eh?).
If you have a fan controller, you can also connect the
graphics fan to that. It may at least provide audio
alerts for fan speed decay.
Alas! The last fan failure I had was revealed only by the
characteristic smell of cooked electronics. I replaced that server, and
now instead of the one case fan and one CPU fan (the latter having
failed), I have a case with seven fans operating. Hopefully it is
unlikely that they will all fail at the same time, and it should
continue to operate with three or so in a pinch, I should think
(although the CPU fan in particular is pretty critical--but Intel
processors will at least shut down if they overheat, instead of melting
like the AMD processor I had in this machine's predecessor).
 
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J

J. Clarke

Bob said:
If you recognize that peculiar squealing or buzzing
sound and catch it in time :)
On the other hand, a fluid-dynamic-bearing, which looks an awful lot like a
sleeve bearing, will typically last longer than a ball bearing, and be
quieter besides.
 
G

Gerard

Thanks John, and also to everyone else who responded. Looking at the layout
of the inside of my case I realise that the airflow around about the video
card isn't really that great, in which case I reckon it'll be better to err
on the side of caution and get a fan of one sort or another. Thanks again!

Gerard
 
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B

Bob Niland

Gerard said:
... the airflow around about the video
card isn't really that great, ...
If the air in I/O cage region is stagnant, just adding
a fan to the graphics card may not solve the problem,
depending on the type of fan & shroud.

Conversely, if you fix the stagnancy problem, you may
not need a card fan.
 

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