My graphics card's fan doesn't turn

By Fallingleaf
Dec 9, 2005
  1. Hello,

    First, sorry if I am asking simple questions but I really don't know the answers. I don't mean to waste your time and I would really appreciate any help.

    My PC freezes up whenever I try and play a game and it happens with all of my games. This started to happen a couple of weeks ago. Everything was okay before this started happening. I haven't changed the hardware and the only software change I have made was to install Civ IV. Grrr. Usually the screen just freezes and I have to restart. The games start as normal and play as normal for about 5 mintues before they freeze up.

    On a hunch I tried swapping my Radeon 9800 Pro for my old MX 420 graphics card. There are no problems with the old graphics card.

    After putting the Radeon 9800 Pro back in my machine I noticed that the fan doesn't turn. I had to use a mirror to check. I took the card out to clean the fan and I noticed that the heatsink was hot. I say I noticed the heatsink was hot - I actually burnt my finger and hopped around the room swearing ;)

    So my diagnosis is: the games are freezing up because the graphics card is overheating. And the graphics card is overheating because the fan isn't working. I don't know why the fan isn't working. The card is connected up with a four-pin lead from the PSU and should have all the power is needs. My PSU is 400W.

    Does my diagnosis sound okay - is the problem with the fan? What can I do about it? I'm hoping that I can replace either the fan or both the heatsink and fan on my graphics card but I don't even know if that's possible. What do you recommend? I already have two case fans and I don't have a spare PCI slot for extra cooling.

    All helpful suggestions welcomed - except the suggestion to just carry on using my old graphics card and stop whining :)
  2. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Arctic Cooling makes extremely high quality, quiet aftermarket coolers for ATI GPU's. The units for the 9800 Pro's are about $30 USB. Combined with a dab of Arctic Silver 5, you're 9800 Pro should no longer have any temperature related issues... plus also be very ready to try Overclocking if you choose this route.

    The main problem is- Arctic Silencers are about 40mm thick, so it will be tight in the AGP slot if you have something in the first PCI slot. I'd think this is a bad combination anyways since the first PCI slot usually has shared resources with the AGP slot and should always be left open anyways.

    If you think you have enough room (try measuring from the PCB on the 9800 pro and out where the fan is now to be 45mm or so), the link is:

    It's either this or you remove the fan yourself and hit an electronics store in hopes of finding a suitable replacement if you wish to repair vs. replace the 9800 Pro.

    If it's a true-blue ATI, it may still be under warranty as ATI cards of that era carry a 3-year warranty. If you still have proof of purchase documentation, ATI will most likely RMA the card in a week or two. Realize any repairs you attempt yourself will of course void that warranty.

    Good luck!
  3. Fallingleaf

    Fallingleaf TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the advice. I have placed an order for an ATI Silencer and I have freed up the first PCI slot below the graphics card :)
  4. Unklegwar

    Unklegwar TS Rookie

    Alternative Solution

    It's great that we have to purchase more parts to fix failing ones.

    I submitted a request to Sapphire for a new fan, to fix this exact problem.

    I went away for a week, with PC turned OFF, and came home to an overheating GPU, due to a dead fan.

    Meanwhile, I fixed it up by digging out a 60mm fan from an old Athlon 850 heatsink/fan.

    I unscrewed the 60mm fan and screwed it onto the 9800 Pro heatsink. Works like a charm!

    If you don't have miscellaneous parts laying around like I do, you can get a 60mm fan with 3 lead plug for pretty cheap at a CompUSA or equivalent.

    The only downsides to this fix are: 1) my 9800 pro is now a "dual slot" solution due to the fan being surface mounted instead of embedded IN the heatsink (2) The fan must plug into a motherboard or molex adapter, it won't plug into the vid card port (not without some modifications, like splicing the old plug onto the new fan) (3) in my case, the 60mm fan is noisy, so I'm getting a new one. But at least I'm running.

    On the upside (1) is was free (2) I can use my PC right away, no wait on shipping and (3), the 60 mm fan moved more air and keeps the thing cooler than ever.

    Never underestimate the power of the fudge!
  5. SOcRatEs

    SOcRatEs TechSpot Paladin Posts: 966

    Hello! Welcome to TechSpot! to both of you

    Good first post!!
    I live by the fudge factor.
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