How to tell if my video card fan is running

By HandsomeP
Nov 19, 2007
  1. I was playing a video game for about an hour when my monitor seemed to suddenly switch off (or my computer froze, one of the two). I saw a black screen and could not alt-tab out of the game. I turned the computer off. Strangely, even though the computer was off, I could hear a sound as though the CD was spinning, although no CD's were in the drive and the game was being run off the hard drive. So I restarted my computer. Instead of starting as normal, I instead heard two or three faint beeps and the computer did not seem to boot normally. Now I was scared. I switched it off again, said a prayer, and turned it back on. Oh boy... what a suprise! A fan came on super loud like a vaccuum and white stuff started flying out the top of the computer. My first thought was smoke, though there was not strong odor. Or could it be dust? I wasn't sure how to tell.

    So I opened the computer up. Everything looked OK, except there seems to be some accumulation of dust around the video card (which btw is a RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition). I waited about an hour, and then decided to try it one last time. I put my finger over the power button in case of abnormal behavior, I rebooted. The computer booted normally with no strange sounds.

    So that's the introduction to the problem... I came to the conclusion based on what I saw and heard (and from what I've read here) that the problem had to do with the video card fan and/or overheating of the video card.

    And now for my two questions...

    1. Is there a way for me to determine whether the video card fan is still functioning? I installed ATI Tray Tools based on some suggestions in another thread. I found the tool called Monitoring Graphs and plotted the GPU Temperature and Fan Duty Cycle. The GPU temperature right now is 53 and the Fan Duty Cycle is 4.5. Not too sure how to interpret those numbers or how accurate this tool is. Is there another way for me to determine whether the video card fan is in fact running? I read a post where someone said to momentarily open the side of the computer while the computer is operational to observe the video card fan. Sounds a little risky...

    2. Is it possible that there was an excessive accumulation of dust in the video card fan (I have owned the computer for two and a half years and it sits on a carpet), and that it was somehow jammed, and then when I rebooted that the jam happened to come loose and the fan started spinning like crazy? Or is it more likely that the fan died and this just so happened to be the way it "chose" to die? There are no loud sounds at the moment, just the normal/healthy barely audible whirring of the computer.

    Any feedback would be most appreciated.

  2. pdyckman@comcas

    pdyckman@comcas TS Rookie Posts: 527

    I scanned your post briefly. #1. If your machine is 2 and a half years old, you've gotta dismantle it and clean it out for starters. There may be junk in there. When your machine is on, have the side off. Then stick your finger (very slowly) towards the video card fan. As you barely make contact with the fan you should feel it whirring. Make sure to clean all heat sinks and fans. You can use a toothbrush or whatever. Everest Ultimate edition has a "GPU fan running" taskbar monitor. Good Luck.
  3. HandsomeP

    HandsomeP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I ran ATI Tray Tools (as well as Everest Ultimate Edition) to check in on my GPU. They measured GPU Temperature Max at 52 °C (126 °F) and GPU Ambient/Environment Temperature Max at 53 °C (126 °F). Can anyone let me know if these values fall in an acceptable range? Thanks in advance.

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