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How To Replace GPU Fans [All Steps Guide]

GPU fan damage can make your graphics card unusable. Here's how you replace them to keep your GPU out of the landfill.

GPUs are a critical component in gaming computers, and they generate a lot of heat during demanding games or applications. Most graphics cards are cooled with a heat sink and one or more fans to dissipate this heat. These fans can wear out or fail over time, causing your GPU to overheat, have performance issues, crashes, and even permanent damage. In such cases, you need to replace GPU fans. 

Key Takeaways

  • GPU fans are one of the most important aspects of a GPU, and a malfunctioning fan must be replaced to ensure your GPU functions properly or is not damaged.
  • Replacing GPU fans is not very complicated, but finding the right replacement fan is the big issue. Installing an incompatible fan can permanently damage your graphics card.
  • Find a replacement fan that is an exact match for your previous one in manufacturer’s stores or from specialized websites, carefully uninstall your old fans, plug in the new ones, and stress test your GPU.

Signs Your GPU Fans Are Not Working Properly

One of the most important parts of your GPU is the fan. The fan helps to cool your graphics card, preventing it from overheating and causing damage to your system. Over time, your GPU fans may stop working properly due to dust buildup, wear and tear, or other issues.

For a layman or non-specialist, it can be hard to diagnose if the issue with your GPU is caused by the fans or something else.

Here are some signs that your GPU fans may not be working correctly:

  1. Your computer is getting hotter than usual: If your graphics card’s fan is not working correctly, it may cause the GPU to heat up. This could result in a sudden shutdown or a slower system performance. An increase in the idle GPU temperature can also be taken as a sign. 
  2. Your computer is making more noise than usual: A failing GPU fan may make a loud noise, which can be an indication that something is wrong with your system. If you hear any unusual sounds coming from your computer, it’s a good idea to investigate the source of the noise.
  3. Your graphics card produces visual artifacts: If your GPU is overheating, it may cause visual artifacts, such as distorted or flickering images. These artifacts can be a sign that your GPU fan is not working correctly.
    GPU Artifacting
    Example Of GPU Artifacting – Image Credits [EA Answers HQ]
  4. Your computer is experiencing crashes or freezing: A malfunctioning GPU fan can cause your system to crash or freeze, especially during high-intensity tasks like gaming or video editing.

If you notice any of the above signs, taking action before your graphics card becomes damaged beyond repair is essential. The first step is to check if your GPU fan is spinning correctly. If not, you may need to replace the fan or the entire cooling system.

In some cases, simply cleaning the fan and heat sink may be enough to fix the problem. Remember to take all necessary precautions when working on your system, and if you’re unsure, seek help from a professional. We also have a detailed guide on how to clean your PC without compressed air

How To Replace GPU Fans

Replacing the fan and heat sink on your graphics card can be a difficult and delicate task. It involves taking apart your graphics card and replacing parts that are critical to the cooling system. If your GPU is still under warranty, contacting the manufacturer for assistance is a good idea. They may provide you with a replacement fan or repair service, saving you time and money.

However, if you decide to replace the fan and heat sink on your own, be aware that doing so may void your warranty. Ensure you understand your warranty’s terms and conditions before attempting any repairs.

Also Read: Windows Not Detecting Second GPU

If your GPU came pre-installed in your computer system, you might need to contact the manufacturer of your system for warranty purposes. They may have specific procedures or requirements for repairs to the graphics card or system.

Before attempting any repairs, it’s essential to research and gathers all the necessary information and tools to do the job correctly. Ensure you take all necessary precautions, such as grounding yourself,f to avoid a static discharge that could damage your GPU.

Remember, if you are unsure about anything, it’s always better to seek help from a professional. Improperly repairing or replacing the fan and heat sink on your GPU can cause further damage or even render your graphics card unusable. So without any further due, let’s dive into how to replace GPU fans. 

Identify The GPU Fan And Find A Replacement

Identifying the type and size of your GPU fan is an essential step before replacing it. There are two types of fans – axial and radial – in different sizes. Axial fans are the most common type and are found on most GPUs. They push air through the heatsink and out of the graphics card’s backplate.

Radial fans, also known as centrifugal or blower fans, are less common and are usually found on compact graphics cards. They pull air through the heatsink and out of the graphics card’s side.

Blower Vs Axial Fans
Blower Fan On The Left And Axial Fans On The Right – Image Credits [Asus]
When selecting a replacement fan, you need to make sure that it’s compatible with your GPU. The fan’s size, shape, mounting mechanism, and connector should match your original fan’s. This can be a bit tricky since GPU fans are not commonly found in regular electronics shops. To find the correct type of replacement fan, you may need to search a number of different places.

GPU Fan Replacement Kit
Example Of A GPU Fan Replacement Kit – Image Credits [Dell Support Forums]
The GPU manufacturer may sell replacements either online or at a retail location. There are specialized GPU fan replacement shops. See if there are any for your city or country, either as a physical store or online. If neither of these options works, you can also try searching for dead GPUs in used marketplaces such as eBay or Craigslist.

Also Read: Does Overclocking Reduce GPU’s Lifespan?

If you find a dead GPU that is the same model as your own but with functional fans, you can take those off and replace them with your own. But you have to make sure that there aren’t any issues with those fans, or you’ll just be replacing one problem with another. Before proceeding further, make sure to check out the best GPU overclocking software

Remove The GPU From The Computer

Once you have the replacement fans, grab a screwdriver and make sure your PC is completely turned off. Start by shutting down your computer and disconnecting all cables. Then, carefully remove the graphics card from the PCIe slot by pressing down on the release tab and gently pulling it out of the slot. We have a detailed guide on how to remove GPU from the motherboard, as it can help you complete the process safely. 

Pulling Out GPU From Motherboard Slot
Carefully Pull Out GPU From Motherboard Slot – Image Credits [UK Gaming Computers]
Be sure to ground yourself before handling the graphics card to prevent electrostatic discharge.

Remove The Old GPU Fans

GPU fans are usually held in place with screws or clips. There is also a thin wire that connects the fans to the GPU board with a small two or three-pin power connector. This wire provides the electricity that powers the fans.

First, disconnect any wires or cables attached to the fan to remove the fan. Then, use a screwdriver to remove the screws or gently pull the clips to release the fan. Be careful not to damage the connector on the GPU board, as this is where your replacement fans will also be plugged in.

GPU Fan Screws
Unscrewing GPU Fans – Image Credits [iFixit]
Once the old fans have been removed, this would also be an excellent time to clean the heatsink underneath the fans since it can, over time, be covered with lots of dust. Removing this dust will improve the thermal performance of the heatsink. Before proceeding further, why not read our guide on how to clean PC fans

Install The New GPU Fans

Installing the new GPU fan is a delicate process, and you need to be careful not to damage any wires or cables that may be attached to the fan. First, plug the fan connector into the GPU board to install the new fan. Do this carefully so that you don’t damage the connector pins.

Also Read: This Effect Requires GPU Acceleration 

Then align the fan with the screw holes or clips on the heatsink and begin securing the fan in place using those screws or clips. If the fan is held in place with screws, then make sure not to go overboard when tightening them, as this could potentially damage the GPU.

Reinstall The GPU

Once the new fan is installed, it’s time to reinstall the graphics card back into your computer. Carefully align the PCIe slot and gently push the graphics card into place until you hear a click.

Install GPU Into Motherboard Slot
Correctly Align And Install GPU Into The PCIe Slot – Image Credits [The Raccens]
Make sure the graphics card is securely fastened in place and all cables are reconnected.

Test The GPU

With the GPU reinstalled, it is time to test it to ensure everything is working correctly. Power on your computer and check the GPU fan to make sure that it is spinning. You can also run a stress test or play a demanding game to ensure the GPU is not overheating.

MSI RTX 3090 GPU clearance in CPU case
Testing the GPU. Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]

Monitor GPU Temperatures

Monitoring the GPU temperature after replacing the fan is essential to ensure it’s working correctly. You can use software like MSI Afterburner or GPU-Z to monitor your graphics card’s temperature, fan speed, and other parameters.

GPUZ GPU Temp Monitor
Monitor Your GPU Temperature and Fans Carefully – Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]

Final Thoughts

This was everything you needed to know about how to replace GPU fans. As long as you find the right replacement fans, with just a little know-how, you can replace the fans at home and save yourself the cost of a professional repair.

Finding exact replacement fans for your GPU model can be hard, and if there is no hope for repair, you may need to bite the bullet and buy a new GPU. Remember to carefully handle your graphics card and follow the steps to avoid any damage. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to seek help from a professional.

Before leaving, do read our guide on 13 ways to fix Cudo Miner not using GPU

Frequently Asked Questions

Can any computer fan work as a replacement for my GPU fan?

For the fan to properly fit your GPU heat sink, deliver great cooling and fit the GPU board fan power connect, or you need to select the correct replacement fan for your particular GPU model. Make sure it matches the fans in your graphics card as closely as possible. Those details are on the manufacturer’s website or in the GPU manual.

Where can I get a replacement fan from?

GPU fans aren’t usually available in regular electronic stores, so they can be a bit difficult to find. You will need to find specialized stores or contact the GPU manufacturer. If that doesn’t work, you can remove the fans from the same model of GPU that you have. This can be done cheaply by finding dead or malfunctioning GPUs from used online marketplaces and taking their fans.

Do I also need to replace my GPU’s heatsink?

No, there is no need to replace the heatsink. As long as you find the right replacement fan, the fans will fit perfectly with the heatsink, and there will be no issue with regard to fan mounting or attachment.

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Sameed Hussain
Sameed Hussain
With a major in Computer Science, Sameed is a tech enthusiast who puts his passion for gadgets into words and creates informative blogs. From breaking the latest, most credible news to comparing different hardware to reviewing the best RAMs, motherboards, and graphics cards for your next build, Sameed has covered a wide spectrum of topics that have given him a special insight into every nook and cranny of the tech world.


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