How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

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How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:15 pm

Hey gang,

I'm wondering how to I can slow down the CPU and GPU fans on a new build that I did for a friend recently. He has the stock intel ivy bridge cooler. The Bios/SpeeFan/easy-tune 6 all do not allow me to slower the intel fan below 1100 RPM, and he finds it noticeably audible at this speed. His temperatures are in the low 30s so I'm wondering if there's a way to further slow the fan speed?

Likewise, his video card fan won't go slower than 30% PWM using the software fan controllers. Is there any enthusiast levels tweaks I can try to further slow these fans?

Thank you all in advance!
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 2:12 pm

If they're already running at the minimum speed you can set via the BIOS/tools, you'll need to resort to the sort of hacks that axeman is suggesting, or replace the fans with something quieter.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:12 pm

The inline resistors, either through a fan controller or the wire-it-yourself variety don't work so well on PWM-controlled fans like the intel coolers.
You might recommend a cheap, quiet cooler - most of the Coolermaster stuff is great value and their fans run at about 800rpm minimum, IIRC. Any slower than that and there's basically no cooling at all.

As for the GPU fan, do you know what connector it uses? you might be able to get away with something like this
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:18 pm

The only problem with slowing down the fans via hardware (resistors etc) is that you also reduce the maximum speed of the fan and thus the maximum possible cooling ability. So if you do something like that, be sure to test the system at 100% load (CPU and GPU - try Prime95 and Furmark) to make sure it stays within thermal limits.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:19 pm

GPU and brand?
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:26 pm

1)Use more quiet fans with larger heatsinks, at least for CPU. Some video cards also have aftermarket coolers available - take a look at Arctic Cooling's website.
2)Use sound insulating materials.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:20 am

Please provide CPU model, mobo model, GPU model, and case model.

1) I don't recall for sure, but I have to assume the Intel HSF will do less than 1100RPM. The Intel stock HSF is tuned for low noise at the expense of higher thermals. Unfortunately, it sounds like idle noise level is bothering the owner. There may not be much improvement to be had in regards to an aftermarket cooler.
2) Fan controllers or resistors are helpful for case fans, but probably not the best idea for a CPU fan for reasons MadManOriginal outlined. Are you sure the problem isn't a noisy case fan/s?
3) Install sound dampening foam like this.
4) Buy a case that is built for silence. Something like the Fractal Define R4 or NZXT H2.
5) GPUs are a bit trickier, you can always use an aftermarket cooler like Arctic Cooling offers, but they're oftentimes expensive. Depending on what GPU is being used, you may (unfortunately) be better off buying a different GPU that's quieter. Asus' Direct CUII coolers are some of the best on the market IMO, or you might be able to find a passively cooled model.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:09 am

Thanks everyone for the replies. Here are the specs of the system for those who asked:

Case: CoolerMaster Elite 343
CPU: i3-3220
GPU: Zotac GTX 650 TI Boost 2GB with their custom dual silencer fans
PSU: Corsair CX430
MB: Gigabyte B75M-D3H 1.1

The system is noticeably audible - louder than my own system which produces far more heat than this. The Intel stock cooler and GPU fans are running at their lowest speeds that is attainable using software/BIOS tweaks (about 1100 RPM for CPU and 1300 RPM for GPU). Using the gigabyte included easy-tune 6 software, I even set his case fan to be completely off at temperatures below 45 and the idle noise remains.It's not the PSU fan either since it's virtually silent. This leaves the CPU and/or GPU fans as the culprit. I tried removing the video card and the noise does drop, but only slightly, suggesting that the majority of the idle noise is indeed coming from the CPU fan. I should also add that his temperatures are are normal so heat is not an issue. Could it be that the stock fan is somehow defective and is louder than it should be?
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:28 am

The stock cooler isn't necessarily defective. In general, stock coolers tend to be mediocre in terms of cooling performance and/or noise level. I pretty much always end up swapping out stock coolers for something quieter. I've been quite happy with the tower-style Coolermaster heatpipe coolers; great bang for the buck.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:37 am

Does the case itself feel warm to the touch? Temperatures in the low 30s Celsius shouldn't be a problem. You could check if this is the problem by taking the side off of the case and pointing a desktop fan into the PC. The CoolerMaster Elite 343 comes with a single 120x25mm fan installed at the front. You could add a 92mm fan on the side if case heating is the problem. Note that your friend's inexpensive CoolerMaster case doesn't have quite as many noise-absorbing features as your giant Corsair case does.

I'll second just brew it!'s recommendation of something like the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo cooler for the processor.

For slowing the fan on the graphics card, you might try EVGA's Precision X software.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:09 pm

Thanks again for the suggestions guys!

I think I will get him this solution: http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=41337

Since he has a cool running 55W TDP CPU, he can probably just have it spin at the slowest RPM and still maintain nice temperatures.

And yes, I realize my own noise expectations are somewhat biased having used my system with a very different case and cooling solution (Thermaltake Frio).

Thanks again.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:42 pm

For the same price, get the improved version of that CPU cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:22 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote: The CoolerMaster Elite 343 comes with a single 120x25mm fan installed at the front.

OP - In addition to removing the GPU, make sure to unplug this fan when trying to pinpoint the source of the noise. Loud case fans are not uncommon.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:05 pm

i just use speedfan to slow them down
my htpc's stock HSF and case fan runs at just 800rpm while using speedfan and it goes right up to 2700 when i need it
i even have a 6950 in it that i control with msi afterburner and i lower its fan speed to around 1000 rpm
with these changes i can barely hear it unless its 4am and i am really close to it

i have found that programs like gigabyte easytune wont let you go down as low as you can with speedfan so its worth at least giving it a go
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:44 pm

I have a Hyper 212 Pro, I think. It's basically the 212 Evo with a different fan. I replaced my 212's stock fan with one of the really nice 120mm fans off my Noctua, and it's now very effective and extremely quiet.

So 212 = good sink, good body, but you may want something with aggressive blade pitch but even lower RPM for your use case.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:22 pm

If you'll watch the video on the Newegg product page, you can see the other major difference between the improved Hyper 212 Evo and the older Hyper 212 Plus (besides the better fan that you spotted):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835103099
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:44 pm

For those without 4 minutes to burn, there's no longer a little aluminum rib from the mounting plate running between each heatpipe and the next, and it looks like they flattened them out in the base just a little more. The fan has a lower minimum and higher max RPM, for quieter idle and more air at load.
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:46 pm

It shows up a minute and a half into the video. I've indexed it in this link for impatient folks:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... Y&t=01m38s
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Re: How to slow down CPU and video card fans?

Postposted on Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:52 pm

Yeah, he says pretty much what I did. I was just trying to give a data point for future readers who couldn't get to or didn't want to go to YT.
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