View Full Version : Video card fan failure

12th Jul 2002, 13:47
In the past week my computer started crashing (freezing) while playing thief. It got worse and worse. Last night it started restarting spontaneously every five minutes or so while playing Thief. I popped the case cover to see if there were any bugs, rats, or rashers in there. I found my video card fan frozen. This is the second time this has happened. It's a Leadtek "Winfast" GeForce 2 Pro. So, I am going to order yet another fan from the manufacturer.

In the meanwhile I popped in a slot fan and under-clocked my card as low as it would go, so it will play Thief for 15 minutes now. I'm not going to press my luck. No Thief for a while. May have to do something useful for a change.:)

Does anyone know a way to increase the reliability of video card cooling?

12th Jul 2002, 14:17
Peter, well, uummmm, you could put a thief rat in there, with a little tiny, tiny fan, just feed him crunchy cheese every now and then. He'll be a happy camper, and he'll fan your system for ya, and keep your system running cooler, works for me. :D :rolleyes:

12th Jul 2002, 17:50
Move the cables, especially the ribbon cables, out of the way of the video card, the CPU, and the memory sticks. You usually can't get them completely away from these components but you can separate them, pushing some towards one side of the case and others towards the other side of the case. Also twist the ribbon cables so they are parallel to the motherboard. Air flow inside the case is usually from the front and upward along the motherboard. I also installed a chassis fan at the front of the case. Usually there is a spot where you can snap in another fan at the front but you might have to pop off a cage at the front since the fan often pops into the front of the cage and then the cage snaps onto the front of the case. A lot of motherboards provide small 3-pin headers for chassis fan power (besides the one for the CPU), but if your chassis fan has the fat Molex connector then you might need a Y-adapter power cable to hook the fan between the power supply cables and a device, like a hard drive.

Slot fans come in 2 types: those that blow out their end and into the case and those that blow out their side. Those that blow out their side are only effective on the card next to it; the turbulent air flow after hitting the next card is less effective in cooling the insides unless you can put the slot fan at the far end and 2 or more adjacent slots are empty.

And be sure no 2 fans are blowing at each other. Having the output of 2 fans blow into each other severely reduces the speed of the turbulent air (and so their intake is also lowered).

On most PC cases that I've bought for home, they have a plastic front that snaps off or is removable. The holes at the front for passive intake air are pretty small, so I usually drill out the holes so they are much larger. Granted that most of them rely on the intake *under* the front lip of the panel but I'd like to make it easier to suck the air into the case, especially since I have a chassis fan right there trying to pull in the air.

The next case I get will be a little wider so I can put another fan next to the hard drives. The 3.5-inch drives sit in their small internal bay and are next to each other will almost no space between and the cage itself restricts airflow. Although they are not hot to the touch, they are definitely on the high side of warm.

Adding fans always adds more noise so you might want to spend the extra $5 to $12 bucks over the cost of the standard fans to get ones that are much quieter - but be sure to check their air flow rate. Reducing the fan blade speed reduces the air flow rate which reduces the rate of cooling. I also don't put the system unit on my desk but prefer it to the side, under, and slightly back just to somewhat reduce the fan noise so it isn't right on my eardrums.

Doesn't the LeadTek come with a monitor program that will alert you when the GPU fan stops or spins below a certain RPM? Some models even claim to have "Hardware Monitoring" but I don't know if that means they have BIOS-like settings where they use EEPROM to record what action to take on an event, if that means their software has a hook for monitoring the card, or if it's just some LEDs on the card (which are useless since they are on the card and not the card's edge so you'll never see them until you pop the case top).

Thorin Oakenshield
12th Jul 2002, 18:32
My GF2 doesn't have a fan and it's O/C'd to the max with no probs.
How is the fan on your CPU Peter? :confused:

12th Jul 2002, 22:42
Thanks Vanguard for all the cooling suggestions. I have already implemented all of them I can with the existing case. Two out the back top, one in on the front. Both silencers. Cut clear holes to get better flow. No fans exhausting directly from the CPU area, unfortunately. I tried the slot exhaust fan there and it didn't make any difference in monitored temperatures.

When I go to a 2 GHz machine next year I will get another case and try to do shrouded exhaust from the CPU area.

No, my graphics card does not have a fan or temperature monitor. Freezing is the only indication.

The heatsink fan on my Geforce 2 Pro has exposed fins over the chip, and the fan is off to the side and blows air throuth the fins from the side. The exposed fins dissipate enough heat to work for desktop work, but Thief causes it to overheat. Maybe I'm sneaking too fast.:)

Thorin, my CPU fan is fine. My chipset fan is fine. All three of the case fans are fine. Thanks for asking.

BA, I think there is already a rat in there. I don't have to feed him crunchy cheese. He has the rasher, which should be good for a longer spell. The real problem is finding the treadmill mechanism. Haven't been able to locate one yet.:)

13th Jul 2002, 10:20
Presumably you are using an AGP video card. Is the PCI slot right next to it occupied? If so, can the PCI cards be slid down a slot to give more distance between the AGP video card's GPU and the backside of the PCI card?

Doesn't sound like LeadTek is using very good fans if 2 have already seized up. Rather than get a fan replacement and install it yourself (because the replacement fan may not be coming from the same vendor as they use for the manufactured card), check if they have a cross-exchange program so you can return the entire card and get a new one. They charge your credit card and ship you the new card. You use the packaging to return the old card. Upon receipt they credit your charge card. Obviously when returning the old card, you'll want to insure it for the value of the card should it disappear in transit. You're not without a video card and the credit and debit will show up within the same billing cycle. ATI has always had this support feature. If the tech guy at LeadTek says they won't do the exchange, ask for a customer service *manager* since obviously this peon simply doesn't have the juice to make the authorization.

13th Jul 2002, 19:17
Originally posted by Peter Smith
I have already implemented all of them I can with the existing case.

I didn't let this little detail stop me from manually drilling holes in the side of my case and installing two more custom fit case fans that blow in right onto my video card! All the other fans in the computer blow out, so there is a good circulation of air all the way around :D

13th Jul 2002, 22:19
Not all fans blow out (i.e., not all are exhaust fans). The chassis fan at the front lower of the case should be an intake fan (make sure the arrow on the fan housing points inward). Any side chassis fan should also be an intake fan. Fans at the backpanel near the power supply should be exhaust fans (to facilitate the draw of the exhaust fan(s) for the power supply). If you use a slot fan, make sure it does push the air against the intake fan at the front lower of the case. Also try not to have fans blowing at each other, nor have them blowing across each other as the turbulence reduces the rate of air flow. For example, if you have a slot fan blowing across a GPU heat sink with a fan that is blowing upward, you're probably causing turbulence and it would might be better to disconnect the power to the GPU fan and remove it since obviously you're trying to use the slot fan as the real cooling fan. Dust is thermally nonconductive so it helps to blow out all the dust, including in the heat sinks. Also try to blow the dust out of the power supply.

13th Jul 2002, 23:15
Yup. That's the way I am set up. In the front and out the rear.:) I have no problem with the case or the CPU temperature. Only the video card itself. The slot fan is blowing out. That is the best I can do. The heat sink on the chip is working to some extent without the atttached fan. And again, the fins are exposed, not covered by the fan. Taking it off would be counterproductive.

Leadtek has shipped me another heatsink/fan. Should arrive in a few days.