How to replace a video card (GPU) fan

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

video card gpu fanNote: If you do remove or replace the fan yourself, you void the video cards warranty. If the video card is still under warranty, have the video card manufacturer replace the fan or video card.

Many video cards have a heat sink fan attached to them, to pull heat away from the video card processor, much like a processor heat sink. Fans on a video card can sometimes stop functioning efficiently, become noisy, or completely stop working. In the event of a fan failure, it may be possible to replace the fan.

Can the fan be removed?

Caution: Familiarize yourself with ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) while in the computer and handling the video card.

Before looking for a replacement, you must determine the type of heat sink fan the video card is using. Open the computer and determine if the fan is detachable. Most video card fans are either be attached to a passive heat sink with clips or screwed into posts or a casing with small screws that hold the fan in place.

Tip: Some video cards may have stickers over some of the screws. If you cannot see any clips, look for any stickers that may be covering screws.

While examining the fan, you should also determine how the fan connects to the video card. Most video cards use a two or three pin power connector (similar to a case fan cable) that connects to the video card that also needs to be disconnected when removing the fan.

Finding a video card fan replacement

If you believe the fan can be removed, the real trick is finding a proper fan replacement. You cannot find replacement fans at electronics stores and computer repair shops do not handle video card repair. However, some online computer retailers and online auctions may have a video card replacement fans for some video card models. Also, some video card manufacturers may sell replacements, either online or at a computer hardware store.

Make sure your replacement fan is designed for your model of video card and not a generic one. The fan needs to fit perfectly and have enough RPMs to pull heat away or you run the risk of having your video card overheat and cause further damage. Also, if the video card does not accept the fan, the computer will not pass POST.

Caution: There are several videos and online discussions about people replacing their video card fans with non-standard fans. They discuss attaching the fans using rubber bands, glue, and other non-standard methods. We do not suggest trying these recommendations since they can cause additional damage and often fail within a few months.

However, there are also non-standard high quality, liquid cooling, and silent cooling solutions that can be a great replacement for some video cards. If you find a compatible solution for your video card, these can be excellent replacements for bad or noisy fans. Arctic is one manufacturer with a great selection of such replacement heat sinks.

Replacing the video card fan

If you can acquire a new fan, attach it the same way the previous one was attached. When removing the old fan, remove any old thermal compound and apply new thermal compound before attaching the fan.

Be sure it is securely attached and plug the power adapter from the fan into the video card (probably a two-wire adapter, possibly three-wire). Once the fan is attached, plug the video card into the computer and test it out.

If the computer does not boot after replacing the fan either the GPU is getting too hot, or the fan is not compatible with the video card. While the computer is still on, examine the fan and make sure it is spinning. If the fan is not spinning, turn the computer off and check the fan connections. If the fan is spinning, but the computer does not boot it is either the fan is not compatible, or the video card itself is bad.

Replace the video card

If none of the above suggestions help or the fan is not a removable, the best recommendation in the end is to replace the video card when the fan stops functioning. The time and effort involved in finding a new fan and replacing it may not be worth it. Computer repair shops will tell you the same if you take your video card to them for help in replacing the fan.

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