Building a gaming PC is fun and fascinating. One of the problems that a builder fears after turning on their system for the first time is finding out one of the components is not working correctly. GPU is not an exception.
After booting the newly built PC for the first time and finding that the GPU fans are not spinning, it can be incredibly frustrating and scary. The problem might sound scary, but in reality, it happens due to a little mistake or wrongly plugged wires.
The solutions to this problem are generally very straightforward. In this guide, we will explore multiple reasons why your GPU fans might not be spinning. The most common solution to this problem is some graphics cards come with silent or energy-saving mode.
With this mode, the fans do not spin until the temperature crosses a particular temperature limit. Meaning during idle and lighter workloads, the GPU fans will not rotate. For heavy workloads like gaming, after reaching a determined temperature, the fans will start spinning.
Users will assume something might go wrong during building after seeing their GPU fans not spinning, but in reality, it is the card that is designed to operate this way.
GPU Fans Aren’t Spinning
There are multiple reasons which can prevent the GPU fans from spinning. From the most common to the most technical reasons, we will look at all possible reasons why the fans are not rotating.
After assembling the PC, try powering up your system. If the monitor shows any display and the GPU fans are not spinning, it means the system is working perfectly fine. The GPU is in power-saving mode, and it is nothing to worry about.
We will talk about all of the possibilities in our guide. Without any further ado, let us get to why your GPU fans are not spinning?
#1 – Make Sure The PCle Power Cable Is Plugged In
Building a gaming rig is fascinating, and it can be tiresome, especially if they are assembling their system for the first time. There is always a possibility that a wire gets missed and not plugged into its slot during building. This can cause issues with boot-up.
GPUs are powered by PCIe power slots, usually on the top of the graphics card, top right side. High-end GPUs use 12 pin connectors or higher as they require more energy for high performance.
PCIe power cables are plugged into the slots of the GPU for power. You can find a PCIe tag on them for better recognition. Make sure that your GPU is connected correctly with PCIe power cables before trying any other solution.
The slots blend in with the GPU well and are easy to miss. There is a possibility you might forget to plug the PCIe cable into the GPU, which is why the GPU is not running. Make sure the correct cables are plugged into the slots. After making sure, try starting the PC to see if the fans on the GPU are spinning or not.
#2 – Another Power Cable Isn’t Plugged In
Assembling a PC for the first time or even a few times can get a bit tricky, generally due to the number of wires that need to be plugged on the motherboard and different components. It happens with many people at the start when they have all of the parts, and it’s time to build their dream machine.
It happens when during building one or two cables get missed out, which then causes trouble later on. While you might be searching for your GPU fans not spinning or not powering up in the first place, make sure that the cables from PSU are attached correctly to the motherboard and the components.
If you have a modular PSU or even a semi-modular PSU, a power supply unit with detachable cables, there is a chance that the wires might not be plugged correctly and are connected loosely with the power supply unit. Double-check all of the wires on the PSU and motherboard altogether.
For reference and ease, the modular power supply units have labels on each pin-connector slots that can be used to plug the PSU into the motherboard and the rest of the PC components. Use a manual if you are not familiar with the terms.
#3 – Oil The Bearings
If you are building a new rig with every part new except for the GPU, there is a chance one of your GPU fans needs to be oiled. You can oil the fans after disassembling your GPU and taking out the fan. After unfastening the screws on the heat sink of the GPU, you can easily take out the fans.
It is a very technical step that requires a lot of care and alertness. Damaging a single component on the GPU’s PCB can damage the card permanently, and you might have to throw your GPU away.
If your GPU is aging and the fans have trouble spinning, with this workaround, you might be able to squeeze the extra performance out of your card. You will have to remove the GPU from the PC and remove the fans from the top.
After removing the fan, disassemble the fan; you can watch any tutorial online to see how to remove a fan safely from the GPU, use any mechanical oil (except for WD-40), and oil the bearings. Attach the fans back again to check if they are spinning correctly.
If yes, that is great. If no, your GPU might no longer work for you.
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#4 – Check GPU Fan Wire
Like any general fan inside a PC, the GPU fans are attached to the GPU with a cable; it is usually called GPU fan wire. If you have two GPU fans, you can find two wires attached to the PCB.
After disassembling the GPU, make sure that the wire is plugged accurately and is not loose or not even attached in the first place. We cannot rule out the probability of the wire not connected with the GPU from the factory. There is a chance that it was attached loosely from the factory.
You can remove the cable from the card and plug it back again into the socket. If you have doubts that the wire might be damaged, you can always purchase a new one from the internet of your nearest computer shop.
#5 – Dusty GPU
Dust is the worst enemy of any electric hardware, whether it is a PC component, a phone, or even a charger. Dust can ruin even the reliable components if not cleaned on time and thoroughly.
If you a person who cleans his PC from time to time or, you are a person who does not clean his system too often but has a nice casing that does not allow much dust to enter into the system, you might want to have a look at your GPU.
Even the expensive PC casings cannot resist dust and other particles entering the system. Make sure that your GPU is cleaned well and does not have any dust in the fans. If your GPU needs cleaning, make sure to do it thoroughly and use an air blower for peace of mind.
Dust can enter the bearing of the fans, which in result, can prevent the fans from spinning.
#6 – Update Drivers
Updating the drivers or programs on time and frequently can save you a lot of time, energy and it ensures the safety of your computer’s data. There is a chance that during updating, the driver files got corrupt, which can mess with the fans and their rotation.
If you are using Team Green’s GPU (Nvidia), head over to their official website to update the latest graphics card drivers. Repeat the same for people using Team Red’s GPU (AMD). You can also open the respective drivers and check for the update from there.
If there is the latest version of the driver that is currently installed on your system, update it to the latest version. However, if you have the latest driver that has messed up the GPU fans spinning, you can roll back to the previous drivers with the DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) program.
The program will ensure to remove all of the residue files that are left behind after the generic uninstall procedure.
#7 – Semi Passive Cooling Mode
Companies are manufacturing GPUs with a built-in passive cooling mode that prevents the fans from spinning due to lower temps and will only allow their rotation if the temperature hits a particular temperature limit.
There is a very high chance if you have the latest high-end GPU, and due to this mode, the graphics card fans might not be spinning. Try to power up your system. If your PC boots up and shows display without the GPU fans spinning, it means your card is working fine and will start the fan rotation as soon as it will detect high temperature.
With this mode, the GPU saves power when the computer is not performing any GPU/CPU intensive task like gaming, for instance. If you have this issue, try running a game for an hour and check if the fans on the graphics card are rotating or not.
If the fans are rotating once the GPU starts to heat up, it is good news. But if the fans still are not spinning, it means the problem is different.
#8 – Check Fans Via Software
You can find numerous software that can tell you every detail related to your system, whether it is the CPU model or the GPU temperature. There are a lot of popular programs that you can use to check the status of your computer.
For ease, we will discuss how you can check the fans via HWMonitor software. It is a PC hardware program that is used to monitor the status of the computer. HWMonitor shows multiple details related to the motherboard, RAM, GPU, and CPU, including the temps and RPM of the fans..
- Go to the following website and download the latest setup of HWMonitor without quotations:
- From the website, find and click the “SETUP·ENGLISH” button to start the download.
- After downloading the setup, install the software on your system.
- Run the software after installation.
- The software will show information related to the PC. Scroll down and find your GPU. Expand the GPU and check the Value of “Fans”.
- If the fans are showing any numbers with the RPM, it means the fans are running. If the value is 0, it means that the fans are not spinning.
To control the RPM of the fans, you can use MSI Afterburner. It is a very popular and useful program developed by MSI to control settings related to GPU like overclocking, overvolting, and much more. Here is how you can do that:
- You can download the software from the following link:
- Download and install the software from the website.
- After downloading, run the setup and follow on-screen instructions to install the software on your PC.
- Run MSI Afterburner from your desktop. From the main screen of the program, press the “Auto” button to unlock the access of “Fan Speed”.
- Adjust the slider to check if the fans are spinning or not.
- Open HWMonitor again to check the RPM of the fans.
#9 – Test Graphics Card With Another Computer
Alternatively, after trying most of the workarounds, if the fans of your graphics card unit still not spinning, you can try testing your GPU fans rotation on another computer. If you have a spare computer that you do not use anymore, try plugging the GPU into that computer.
Check after installing the GPU to another machine resolved the issue. If you do not have any computer to spare, you can test your GPU on computers owned by your family, friends, or coworkers. If the issue is resolved, after plugging the GPU on another computer, it means there is something wrong with the motherboard itself.
#10 – Restart Your PC
Restarting your PC is a fix that you can try. It might sound trivial and unconvincing but many times, just restarting the computer does the trick. Unlike Linux, Windows is known for issues when it is used for longer durations, memory leaks, etc.
Restarting the computer fixes many issues, whether related to Windows or just programs. Save all of your work and restart your PC. After restarting, use any graphic intensive task, any high-end game, and play it for some duration.
After some time, check physically and from the software if the fans are spinning or the problem still exists.
#11 – Replace The Fan/GPU
One of the last workarounds for the GPU fans spinning problem, which you can try, is to visit your nearest computer shop and check if the fans of your GPU can be replaced or not. The GPU, without the heatsink, can still be used but requires extreme cooling solutions like the recent aquarium oil cooling systems.
If the fans are replaceable, it means you will not have to spend hundreds of bucks again on a GPU to do your work. Just replace the fans, and you are good to go. If the fans are not replaceable, this could only mean one thing. It is time to upgrade.
In such cases, unfortunately, you will have to upgrade your GPU. Fortunately, as AMD is back in the GPU competition, there are many great choices to choose from. You can check online benchmarks and other necessary details if you are going to upgrade your GPU in the end.
My Final Verdict:
Building a new PC is fun and sparks joy in every gamer’s mind. The journey of assembling a PC is full of hurdles and issues. Sometimes a screw is not fastened, sometimes a wire is not plugged, and so much more.
Of the few things that a new builder fear is the computer does not work due to some mistake. If the PC is built correctly, sometimes other components do not work. One of these components is GPU.
Building a new PC for the first time can become overwhelming due to lots of wires, screws, and components. Sometimes, after assembling the PC, the GPU fans do not spin, which is an indication of a problem. It can happen due to many reasons.
The solution to this problem is very simple, either you have not plugged the cables correctly, or something is wrong with the GPU
Identifying the issue is what frustrates a person the most. Sometimes the fans do not spin due to a missed wire which is not plugged into the motherboard.
Sometimes it happens due to the dust preventing the fans from spinning. Other times it happens due to the passive cooling system, due to which the fans do not budge until they cross a specific temperature limit.
If your graphic card fans do not spin whatsoever. With the help of this guide, you will detect the problem in no time. If you have little to no knowledge about PC building, it is always advised to refer to a PC building expert or follow online tutorials.
The internet is full of the helpful tutorial. If you do not want to ingloriously wander the internet, make sure to visit your nearest computer shop as the people working there will gladly help you out. You can also use forums on the internet for guidance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: How do I fix my GPU fan not spinning?
There are many reasons due to which the fans on the GPU are not working. One of the popular reasons is the passive cooling mode.
Other causes include cables not plugged in correctly or are loose. If you have an older GPU, maybe due to excessive dust, the fans are stuck and unable to rotate.
Question 2: Are GPU fans supposed to spin?
Companies are manufacturing GPU with a built-in passive cooling system. This mode does not allow the fans to spin at low temperatures.
When the GPU starts to heat, the fans will start rotating again. During intense workloads, the fans should rotate. If they are not spinning, it means there is an issue with the fans or the GPU.
Question 3: How do I make my GPU fan spin?
Try restarting your PC first. If the fans are still not spinning, make sure if the fans are not on passive cooling mode. If your GPU has this mode, it means it will not allow the fans to rotate until the GPU starts to heat up and cross a specific, already set heat limit.
Question 4: Can you replace a GPU fan?
Some GPU fans, which are designed and built with cutting-edge technology, are replaceable. It is very unlikely that high-end GPU fans can be replaced due to their unique build and size.
Although, if your card has the generic GPU design, if you are lucky, you might be able to replace the fans of your GPU.
Question 5: Can GPU work without a fan?
Yes, the GPU can work without fans, but not for longer durations. If you have a room with a decent cooling system and does not get much hot in the summers, you can use your GPU without fans without facing any major issues.
Question 6: How long do GPU fans last?
The longevity of GPU fans depends on the usage of the GPU. If you use your graphics card for more than 10 hours a day, the life expectancy will be highly reduced compared to the GPU, which is used for less than 4 hours a day.
If you can get 55-65K hours out of a fan, it means the GPU served you well. That is like 6-7 years, give or take.
Question 7: Why is my GPU fan so loud?
The GPU fans get loud if they are running at a very high speed, near or at the maximum speed of the fans. If you hear loud sounds from GPU fans, it means the GPU is getting hot and running at maximum speed. The loud sound is generated when a graphics-intensive task runs on the computer.