Adjust Your Fan ‘Curve’
The first and probably most effective method of reducing loud graphics card fans is to ‘tweak the curve’ in one of the many fan control software applications. When a GPU reaches a certain temperature, it needs the fan to start cooling it – ensuring that optimal temperatures are met and thermal throttling doesn’t occur. However, using fan control software such as MSI Afterburner, you’ll be able to set your own curve and limit the amount of noise your fans are making.
Below you can see the MSI Afterburner fan control feature.
As you can see, the fan control feature has already set a curve for us – with set points that adjust the fan’s speed when the GPU reaches a certain temperature. Whilst this is good for efficiency, it’s not always the route for keeping volume to a minimum. Using the tool, you’ll be able to monitor the temperature of your GPU whilst reducing the speed of the fan, enabling you to find the perfect balance between noise and temperature.
Properly Clean Your GPU’s Heatsink And Fans
We’ve all seen the levels of dirt that can build up on your fans over an extended period of time. Naturally, that build up can aid in creating a louder experience when your fans do turn on.
Simply cleaning your GPU fans clean can reduce noise levels exponentially, especially if they have a large amount of dirt on them. We recommend using compressed air when you can. However, we understand that not everyone has this option. So, taking a cloth and efficiently wiping off all the dirt is the next best method.
Remember, the fins on your GPU fan can be quite delicate, so always clean with a careful touch.
Underclock Your GPU
This may seem a little crazy for some people, but actually Underclocking your GPU could have a huge effect on the levels of noise your GPU creates. Basically, if you’re GPU isn’t working as hard, it won’t be generating as much heat. That in turn will mean your GPU fans won’t need to be ramped up as high when they are required.
Whilst this may sound a little technical for some users, the process is actually relatively straightforward. We’ve put together a comprehensive article underclocking your GPU here.
Oil Your Fan’s Bearings
Over time, fan bearings can become unlubricated and noisy. An easy fix for potentially loud fans – if you’ve done the above steps – is to give your bearings a little additional lubrication.
You can purchase oils from a number of different vendors, but be careful – getting oil on the PCB could lead to further problems. Despite this method falling into the last result category, it still offers good results if completed with care.
Replace the GPU Heatsink
This is another method that falls largely into last resort territory. Replacing your heatsink can be tricky, even for someone who is already adept with the art of PC building. That said, you can purchase a new heatsink from various sources – and replacing it will most likely fix your noise levels (when used in tandem with some of the other methods in this guide).
Obviously, this is the most costly method in this guide – but for some individuals, it may be the only method that works.