Standard desktop case fans can easily be removed if they're not working properly - but what about video card fans, such as those found in Alienware desktops?
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Video Card Fan Problems?
Most desktops have multiple fans, so it doesn’t matter too much when one starts rattling or catching on something – all you have to do is swap out the fan, move the cable it is catching on, or even just lightly tap the case.
However problems with video card fans are different. Even a CPU fan can be easily replaced, but video card fans are integrated into the card itself. Replacement can mean some fiddly removal of plastics to get to the fan itself – and replacing it might not even solve the issue.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues that affect Alienware video card fans and how they can be resolved.
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Airflow and Ventilation
If you have your PC situated poorly (for instance against a wall or under a desk) then it isn’t going to be able to operate at its optimum. A computer needs to be situated in a good well-ventilated area so that airflow through the device is cool, not to mention fresh.
Similarly, ventilation needs to be adequate. You should check the ventilation ducts on your Alienware PC for signs of dust or other forms of blockage, and if your video card fan has only recently begun causing you problems this should hopefully set you on the path to resolving the problem.
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Video Card Drivers
A particular issue with some Alienware video card fans is a driver issue, and if this is what is causing problems for you it is easily resolved.
All you need to do is update the current video card driver – to do this visit support.alienware.com in order to search for your Alienware desktop, operating system and card type. Alienware use video cards from NVidia and ATI as well as Ageia, so you will need to ensure you make the correct choices here. The results of the search should deliver a link to the video card driver you need to install.
Alternatively, a Windows Update might provide a suitable driver, as might visiting the video card manufacturer’s web site.
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Get a New Alienware Video Card Fan
If none of fixes suggested so far yield favourable results then you will need to start getting your hands dirty. Begin by shutting down the PC, opening your case and disconnecting your hard disk drives, then rebooting. If your fan is clear of hanging cables yet making an unusual noise or is not working at all at this point, the fan or whole video card will probably need replacing.
(A silently spinning fan at this point would suggest the issue is one of those suggested above.)
Replacing a fan on a video card will require removal of the card and may require a couple of screwdrivers and a suitable replacement fan. It would be preferable at this stage however to investigate all options available to you under the device warranty before you crack open the moulded plastic on your video card and substitute the fan with that from an old CPU.