GPU (graphics processing unit) is also known as a graphics card. This fantastic computer hardware is responsible for output on the display monitor(s), calculates complex graphical data, and processes it. It happens when you run graphics-intensive games and apps on your computer system.
The GPU becomes very hot during all this, and without a fan or cooling system, it can burn out within minutes. To protect your GPU, manufacturers add single, double, or three fans to it so the GPU can cool down. This article will discuss whether a GPU fan pushes or pulls the air to keep its temperature low.
Do GPU fans push or Pull?
GPU fans, either open-air or blower fans, usually pull the cool air inside the GPU so the components, especially the graphics processor, can be cooled down. For drawing the air inside, they are known as intake fans. The mechanical engineers design the internal part so the air hits all the hot components.
There are big and small spacings around the GPU case with the open-air fans, so the air pulled in can get out from the graphics card case in multiple directions. This way, the graphics card remains as cool as possible because the fans continuously spin at a reasonable speed.
The GPU with a blower fan also intakes or pulls the air inside its case. But unlike the graphics card with an open-air fan, it has a different mechanism. This system circulates the air inside a closed case. In the end, throw it out of your computer in the room or hall. That is why it is more efficient than the latter.
Open Air Fan
The disadvantage of a GPU with an open-air fan is that the hot air dissipates and sticks inside until the computer system case fans throw it out. This hot air is not only dangerous for the GPU itself, but it is also fatal for other hardware. That is because it can overheat other hardware in your PC.
Which Direction Do GPU Fans Go?
There are two different kinds of GPU fans. The ones are called open-air fans, while the others are called bowler fans. Open-air fans are directed from the front of the GPU to the back. In other words, it pulls air outside the graphics card inside its case. This way, the air pours on the hot components, making them cool.
The second type of fan is called a blower fan. This GPU cooling system also works the same as the latter one. The blower fan has plenty of wings for air intake. The air pulled inside spreads all around the GPU case. The air becomes hot after absorbing the heat from the electronic components on the graphics card, and there are different ways for the hot air to get out of the room or hall.
There are some graphics cards whose fans rotate clockwise for the first 30 seconds. And after that, they start spinning anti-clockwise. On the other hand, there are graphics cards whose fans do not spin at all in the beginning or on a small load. They only spin when the GPU is getting hotter and hotter.
Are GPU Fans Supposed to Move?
The fans of your graphics card are supposed to move from when you switch on your computer system to when you shut it down. That is because your GPU is never idle. After all, it continuously provides a display to your display monitor(s) even when you are not using your computer.
As a result, the electronic components on your graphics card generate heat. That is why the GPU fans are supposed to move continuously. But if your GPU fan is not spinning, then it can be a problem. First, we recommend checking if your graphics card fan has a cord stuck.
Stray cables can stop a GPU fan because well-known manufacturers build these fans, and it is hardly possible that the fan has burnt out. But if the cord keeps the fan from spinning, then there is a possibility that it will burn out, and you will have to get a new fan installed.
Secondly, it is possible that the GPU is not inserted in its slot properly. You can do this by pressing or pushing it evenly toward the motherboard. The third reason that we can think of is related to the power supply. Either your GPU is not connected to the computer PSU, or the power supply is not working.
How Does a GPU Fan Work?
The working of a GPU fan is straightforward to understand. The liquid cooling system’s GPU fan keeps rotating as the graphics card switches on with your computer system. The heat sink part of this GPU cooling system kit is fixed with the graphics processor. It absorbs the heat from the graphics processor.
There are tubes with highly conductive liquid inside. The fluid absorbs the heat from the heat sink and transfers it toward the fans so they can dissipate it in the air. GPU liquid coolers have a pump for moving the liquid inside the tubes. The fans rotate, and the fluid keeps circulating to keep the GPU cool.
Working a simple GPU fan with a heatsink is more straightforward than the latter. The heatsink of such a GPU fan is fixed on the graphics processor after applying a highly conductive thermal paste. This paste absorbs the heat from the hardware and transfers it to the heatsink. The heatsink consists of small metal plates.
These heatsink plates consist of highly conductive metals such as aluminum or copper. Even some of the heatsinks have copper tubes filled with highly conductive chemicals. The fan is connected right above the heatsink. As it blows the air, the heat inside the lines or metal plates dissipates in the air.
In What Direction Does Air Flow Through a GPU?
The airflow direction in most GPUs is from the outside to the inside, the case of the graphics card. In this cooling method, the cooler air touches the hot heatsink or other electronic components of the GPU. This air becomes hot, and more incoming air pushes it outside in all directions.
If there are graphics cards that throw the air inside the computer system case, then there are GPUs that throw the air outside the PC without the help of any extra fans. There are GPUs with fan wings curved upwards. Hence, the airflow direction in these GPUs should be from outside toward the fan.
In simple words, in the first kind of GPU, the air goes inside the GPU case through the GPU fans, and then it comes out from the holes in the case of the graphics card. On the other hand, in the different GPUs, the air enters from the case holes, touching the hot components, making them cool, and leaving the GPU through the fan.
How Do I Know If My Fan is Intake or Exhaust?
For an open-air fan, you need to check its wings. If the curved fan wing is curved outside towards you, making a convex shape, then it is intake. This GPU fan will simply pull air into the GPU case. On the other hand, that is a rare case; if the fan is curved inside when you see it, it is an exhaust fan.
Unlike the intake fans, the exhaust fans throw the air out of the graphics card. In the end, we have a graphics card with a blower fan. Most of the GPU blower fans pull the air inside. This air circulates inside the GPU case. Some such graphics cards throw this air out in all directions, but some only in one direction.
Do GPU Fans Only Spin Gaming?
There are graphics cards like MSI RX 480 whose fans only spin when the GPU is under some load. Otherwise, they do not rotate at all. But saying that the GPU fans only spin when you are gaming is not valid. It is because other factors can make GPU fans turn at various speeds.
The first thing is dual or multiple monitors. If there are multiple monitors connected to your graphics card, then they can make your GPU fans spin even when you are not gaming. If the fans are stopped, the reason for these GPU fans can be the calibration of the software you use to control the GPU fan speed.
You may have calibrated it wrong, and the fans are stopped even when the GPU temperature is high. That is dangerous for the life of your graphics card and other hardware installed in your computer systems, such as CPU, memory modules (RAMs), HDD, or SSD.
GPU fans pull the air to cool the components on the circuit board, especially your GPU’s processor. These fans are of two types. One is the simple blade fans, and the other is the blower fans. Both have different efficiencies for cooling the components and are specific to the kind of GPUs. Both fans also have different airflow mechanisms. So whenever you plan to buy a new GPU, keep the above-described things in mind.
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