How to silence a loud video card fan

by Ross McKillop on August 26, 2008

About a month ago I decided I was going to do something about the insanely loud noise coming from my PC. I incorrectly assumed it was one of the large fans at the back causing what sounded like a jet-engine noise. Turns out, it was the tiny little fan on the video card creating all the ruckus. Thanks to The Shadow over at the How-To Geek forums my video card fan is now running completely silent. If your video card is running loudly, follow the steps outlined below to quiet the little guy down.

A few things to note up front – the steps in this tutorial are specific to my video card. If you have a new super-fancy card, you’ll probably have to improvise a bit as they can be almost completely encased in the cooling system/fan(s). And, I apologize in advance for the rather poor quality pictures, my digital camera is… lacking.

  1. To make your video card run quietly, you’ll need the following items:
    1. A normal sized Phillips head screwdriver
    2. A “small” sized Phillips head screwdriver
    3. Ideally, very fine high-grade machine oil. Sewing machine oil worked fine for me.
    4. A hypodermic syringe. If you don’t have one handy, a sewing needle, sharp thumb-tack or push-pin will also work
    5. A loud video card

  2. click to enlarge

  3. Turn off your PC. Unplug the power to it. Remove the casing from your computer. Most cases have an “easy access door” on the side, but if you have an older PC you might have to unscrew it from the back.
  4. Use the regular size Phillips head screwdriver to unscrew your video card, and carefully remove it from your PC. Place it face up on a wood or plastic surface (nothing metal).
  5. Use the small size Phillips head screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the fan onto the heatsink.

  6. click to enlarge

  7. Flip the fan over so it’s face-down.

  8. click to enlarge

  9. Fill your syringe with a few drops of machine oil (or sewing machine oil). Use the needle to inject a drop or two (no more) through the sticker into the ball-bearing cavity. You might have to poke around a couple of times to find the cavity – you’ll know you’ve hit it when the needle punctures the sticker.

  10. click to enlarge

  11. If you don’t have a syringe and you’re using a sewing needle, thumb-tack or push-pin, poke a hole through the sticker. Carefully put one drop of oil on top of the hole, and use the pin to work the oil through the hole into the ball-bearing cavity.

  12. click to enlarge

  13. Now place your finger on top of the small hole created by the needle/pin, and spin the video card fan around a few times. This will work the oil into the bearings.
  14. Screw the fan back on to the heatsink, and plug your video card back into your computer. Plug the power back in, and turn it on. Once your card heats up to the point where the fan turns on, it should be running completely silent!
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  • pinspeed1

    Bravo! You gave me the incentive to try it. i wasn’t able to puncture the label, but was able to apply oil to the shaft after raising the fan blades up and it worked! i save a nice chunk of $$$$.

    thanks so much!

  • Patrick

    Awesome, my fan has been buzzing off and on for months now, finally to the point of occasionally buzzing and waking me up at night. I’d tried removing the fan and dusting it off, but the machine oil seems to have done the trick. Here’s hoping it works for the long haul!

  • http://growingmargins.com/ Joel Kayley

    Thanks for sharing this tip, Ross. I have an old desktop with an ATI Radeon 7000 that was making so much noise I couldn’t stand having it on any more. After putting a couple of drops of oil in it, the fan is now whisper-quiet.

    I didn’t have machine oil or a hypodermic needle, so I used some 3-in-1 and fed it in with a push-pin. This may prove to be a bad move, but at least the card is quiet for now. I was set to just tear it out and replace it, so the 3-in-1 certainly shouldn’t make things any worse.

  • Muddy

    Thanks man, the old girl now be as quiet as a nun!

  • http://www.rotterdaminfo.nl Alex

    Beste Ross,

    Ik zat al weken met een videokaart die een gruwelijk geluid maakte, de laatste dagen verschrikkelijk veel harder dan de weken ervoor. Ik had hem helemaal uit elkaar gehaald en schoon gemaakt maar het probleem bleef. Tot je met de G-e-w-e-l-d-i-g-e tip van ‘onder het stickertje’ kwam.

    Een beetje olie heb ik erop gedaan met hulp van een wattenstaafje en ik zit weer met een stille PC naast me.

    Mijn dank is zeer groot!

  • http://www.rotterdaminfo.nl Alex

    Ow sorry, your site is english and i’m dutch.
    I was so happy with your solution that i writed it in Dutch.

    I tried above and you helped me alot with the info “under the sticker”.
    Now my videocard is quit again. Many thanks :)

    Alex

  • best

    ok, i’ll try it tommorow,kinda night now. at the service they charged me about 3 euros for making my fan silent again (because they didn’t have an other one), when i came back at home there is just a small diference in the buzz, but it still exist…
    hope i’ll fix it, you have a ati x1550 :P like me

  • Philovance

    Very useful tip with enough documentation to make it worth trying. I am keeping my fingers crossed my noisy 7600gs agp stays quiet for a while. Not a good time to be buying unnecessary pc stuff.

  • John

    I used a small amount of dry graphite spray and it worked just great!

  • Robert

    Hello,
    This was wicked cool. Thank you! I was able to access the bearings without removing the fan cover on the card. There was a label in the center of the fan mounted on the card so I removed the label and put < 1 drop of oil and now there is no noise. Thanks again.

  • roman

    thanks. i was thinking about doing the same thing with my fan, but i do not dare to do that, your post was a impulse to do this finally, thanks! :)

  • SgtMac

    Awesome… been driving me crazy for many months… actually took it out of the machine and ran onboard just for some quiet. Starcraft II required a card and i put it in… and just had to do something about it. it took me 10minutes to pull the card out, unscrew the fan, remove the stickers and place some oil in carefully using a pin and some oil. now it is whisper quiet. Awesome i say again!

  • Valentina

    My fan was making noises for over a year now, and yesterday, i opened it up and cleaned the dust . After that the fan made an even worse sound, and i opened the unit up while running and saw that the fan was not rotating regularly, it was stopping for a second and the spinning and then stopping …. and the noise was worse .So at 2 am. i turned it off and did what you said, did,t know if i found the cavity, it was shallow, like a circle shaft . put a drop with the hypod. needle, mounted it back, and this morning strted it, and it makes no noise whatsoever, and it is spinning, i looked . Still nervous though, never in my life have i opened up a comp. unit . and now i unscrewed it and took out the graph board and punctured it, and fixed it . Even though i was with my husband at home, he was there in bed assisting me, truth be told, the fan screw, he opened it, it wouldn’t budge so…. leave it to the man . But i did it ! And the weird thing is i usually don’t do this kind of thing on a whim, i do research, but i read your post and a couple others where it said it’s gonna ruin my grapf .b. sao i said, well it’s either gonna work, or i’m gonna buy a new one anyway . So thsnks and sorry for the long post, i’m just so excited, keep waiting for something to explode, it was so easy .

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  • http://rtc4068@yahoo.com Richard C.

    Greetings,
    This idea is pure genius. I took a small needle and punctures the sticker like you said, applied a drop of 3 in1 oil on the hole and worked it in with the needle, and wallah, instantaneously quieted the fan. The hole is not in the center of the sticker, it’s off-set, just so you know. While I had the side cover off, I took my air compressor, and blew the inside of the computer out as well. It looks like brand new.
    Thanks for the tip, it more than works.

  • Monica

    This airplane-like noise has been driving me mad. It was very infrequent at first and over the past 6 months has been getting worse, until it was almost constant. Whenever I opened the cover to inspect the sound would stop, so it took a long time before I figured out what was causing all the racket. Thank you so much for sharing this simple solution, it worked like a charm :D

    Much gratitude!

  • Richard C.

    Greetings Monica,

    I’m glad you have your sanity back. lol – Make sure you keep the inside of your computer clean by simply blowing out the dust from time to time. That jet airplane noise will be a indicator when it’s time to clean your computer again.

    Rich

  • Kiro

    Hey man, i have no words, i really appreciate for the great tutorial. My fan was acting up and i’ve done what you have told and no problem what so ever. :D Thanks. It helped me out a lot

  • Alex

    Thanks so much for the tips, the fan was driving me crazy, my PC is quite old and replacing the fan meant replacing the video card which in turn meant replacing the motherboard etc. Again, thanks a lot.

  • Ken

    Thanks! I too have had the little jet engine noise that could loosen a filling in ones tooth. Which is kindof a drag when this PC is used as a media PC in my den and the fan started to “take off” in the middle of a movie.
    I had replaced that fan last year with one from a old spare video card. And yes, they are hard to find on the internet but there are some replacement fans for about $10 out there. However, for the same amount of money (or less) and the time it takes to replace it, you can just do the above procedure of oiling the little demon fan with lasting results. (2 thumbs up)
    I figure since I do regular maintenance of the 4 PC in the home, I might just as well add “oil the noisy fans” to the process.

  • Andrés

    Man, you just saved me 100 bucks! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!

  • http://www.simplehelp.net Ross McKillop

    Andrés – awesome, always glad to hear that Simple Help saved someone $!!

  • Jake

    I’m having a lot of noise from my NVIDIA Geforce 8300GS card. After replacing the processor fan (poor diagnosis on my part) the video card fan is not running smoothly. I cleaned the dust and gave it a shot of silicone spray. It is better, but still not right. The noise is more consistent now, but still noisy. I will put some oil on it tonight and hopefully cure the problem for good.

  • V8 man

    Worked beautifully on a Geforce 6600GT video card. Many thanks!

  • aron

    i gone crazy , i byued new smps cooler master after hearing noise, but after reading post i came to know the graphics card problem ati x1300, now after trying the tip it worked for me just fine. But already spent on SMPS.

  • Cy

    The noise from my Sapphire HD 5870 Vapor-X graphic card has been driving me nuts for the past 3 months. Removed it recently when I can’t stand it any longer. Found this site; looks promising. Would love to try this but I just don’t know how to open up my graphic card. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Fred Sanford

    This worked awesome. Thanks a bunch! Never thought I’d add a hypodermic to my tool box. Who knew?

  • Zone-D

    Just fixed my Inno3D fan noise.
    There is one hole below the sticker above, and one below the sticker below.
    I put regular oil from the kitchen on top, no go, below, voila! Back to normal.
    Though I had to struggle with the 3 screws holding the fan accessed through the wings in some angle. Those are some cheap bearings they put in there!

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  • Nathanael

    Thanks for the guide! Just followed it to silence an old graphics card. Now whisper quiet! Peace at last! My card was an ATI 9500 Pro, but it had a small tough bit of plastic underneath the sticker on the back of the fan, which meant I couldn’t get through it with a sewing pin to put the oil in. I had to remove the sticker on the underside of the fan, remove said bit of plastic, then inject the oil. Once plastic and sticker were replaced it was fine.

  • mr.know nothing

    IT WORKS!!!THANKS!!!!:)

  • Simon

    Brilliant! Just tried it on an Nvidia 7600GT. I shoved teflon lube through the pinhole and it’s now completely silent! You just saved me a load of aggro, not to mention money. Cheers!

  • elixer8062

    Works great. The only difference was I had to peel back the sticker on the back of the fan instead of poking a hole through it. Thanks!

  • Muse

    Worked on my BFG Tech GeForce 6600GT dual DVI card today. Sound was driving me crazy. Sounds great right now. Used old syringe and sewing machine oil, forced a drop in there after removing the little fan from the heatsink..

  • http://www.facebook.com/zoltan.selmeci.5 Zoltan Selmeci

    One more thanks!
    I couldn’t find a hole (for the pin), but sprayed a little oil through a gap. & Voila! :-)

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  • Ronald

    Thank you for this tip about using a needle! I was about to use a hammer to silence the damn thing.

  • Ripin Snaps

    This procedure will work for any other fans in your computer. Not just the video card fan :D