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Old 02-01-2009, 11:25 AM   #1
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How to set variable video card fan speed. Complete [Guide]


This guide allows you to set your video card fan to adjust itself to varying degrees of temperature. Normally it does this but at terrible increments usually resulting in slow fan speed and temps rising until it reaches its "Maximum allowed heat" and then the fan kicks to 100% making undue noise and is overall bad for your fan and your GPU. This also solves the problem of having to set up CCC profiles or other profiles to specifically set your fan speed to X percent while in game and will do it for you automatically without you ever having to worry about it. Did I also mention it is fully adjustable? You can set it to be super quiet for cinema or super cold for OC. Ultra viable solution, it also helped me with some odd crashing issues in L4D.

There are cliff notes at the end, so if you don't want to read please feel free to skip to the BLUE text

The Problem

Fan Control for video card not reaching appropriate speeds during game play, lead to in game crashing and freezing

I noticed this problem one day when I reached down for a dropped pen and noticed by video card fan was not blowing properly, the air was burning hot as well as flowing at a poor rate quite obviously I became very worried about my video card. After checking temps and fan speed I soon realized that during game play my video card was not spinning up until it reached a preset threshold and then it would quickly turn on to 80/90% speed to cool it off by a few degrees then slow back down to around 15% max speed.

The temperatures would get high and then quickly cool off, however this is not how I wanted my video card to run, I thought the fan speed directly correlated to the temps of the GPU, as I am sure most people think, but this apparently is not the case in L4D for some odd reason.

The Solution!

The solution to my dilemma was a simple program called Riva Tuner


With this program there are countless features, but with some research I found an easy and simple solution to help control fan speed in game, as well as all around making your video card run at much better temperatures for a very very slight increase in fan noise. (I saw very very slight because with user defined settings there can actually be no increase at all while not utilizing 3d applications.)

With Riva Tuner I am going to ignore most of the options and quickly skip to the parts about fan control. With Riva Tuner you will be able to adjust set temperatures at which you are able to set at which the fan speed will increase, such as 50* = 40% fan, 60* = 50% fan and so on. There is a more simple way of doing this however I figured if you are having a similar issue in L4D and have gone as far as to try the normal issue fixes then you obviously know enough to try this.

Before we set up Riva Tuner, here are some of the fields we will be editing, and what they do.

T_min: The Lowest temperature at which the fan will begin to increase in speed. Any temperature under T_min the fan will automatically be set to 0% fan speed.

T_max: When this temperature is reached the fan will hit 100% fan speed.

PWM_ramp_on: Determines if the fan will increase gradually or jump to desired fan speed at temperatures, 1 = gradual increase, 0 = jumping to set fan speeds.

PWM_ramp: This determines if the PWM_ramp_on will increase gradually or more quickly, 1 is gradual 0 is slow.

Spinup_cycle: How quickly the fan will speed up to increase to the next preset fan speed.

Those are the commands we will be changing, however there are many, many more however you should read about them before changing anything else.

Now we know the commands, lets Enable our fan control!

Alright, you just installed Riva Tuner and opened the program, this is what you should see.


Pretty easy so far.

After you have this screen open the first step to setting desired user control for fan speed is to click on the "Power User" tab, it will prompt you with a warning box, but since we know what we are doing just click Ok.

Under the Power user tab you will see many options, to open these options click the small + sign to the left and it should open a sub directory of commands. What we are looking for is RivaTuner \ Fan. Open that sub directory and find AutoFanSpeedControl, and set it to 3, this is the setting to allow you to change fan speed based on preset temperature list.


After that is set to three, it should look exactly like the image. After we have done that you click OK and return to the main RivaTuner program.

After AutoFanSpeedControl is set, click on the buttons shown in the next image to open up the RivaTuner Settings for your video card.


This will bring a pop out menu, there are some neat options here, but the one we are looking for is highlighted in the next image. This is the direct Video Card control, for things such as Overclocking and Fan control.


After clicking that you will be brought up with a new window. In this window there are two tabs, Overclocking and Fan. Click on the fan tab and click on Enable Low level fan control, as shown in this next image.


Alrighty, you have now enabled yourself to set fan control! That was pretty easy huh? Now we get to set our temperatures!

Setting Up your Fan Speeds

Now we have our fan speed control set to use the table directly below that is in gray, you should see something like this.


Now in this there are three columns, the fist column outlined in black is the Lookup Entry, as you see they go from 0 - 7, these are 7 defined fields that you can set the Temp + Fan Speed in. They continue to the right, so Look Up Entry One in black will correspond with 42 as well as 35. The Red outlined column indicates the Tempeature and the Blue outlined column indicates the fan speed you want for the desired tempeature.

Taking the previous image as example, you will see My settings are at 42* or higher the fan is set at 35, at 50* or higher it goes to 65 fanspeed, at 53* it is 70, at 55* it is 75 fan and so on through the entries. This is just an example, and normally I use lower speeds. (I was just setting them high so people don't go in and set their fanspeed to 1 at 120* and blame me for accidents)

The Lookup Entries work from 0 - 7, so it will check Lookup Entry 1, then 2 and so on.. So it is a good idea to set Lookup Entry 1 as your lowest temp / fan speed you want and gradually increase to 7

An Example is

Lookup Entry 1 | 40* | 30
Lookup Entry 2 | 45* | 40
Lookup Entry 3 | 50* | 50
Lookup Entry 4 | 55* | 65
Lookup Entry 5 | 60* | 75
Lookup Entry 6 | 65* | 85
Lookup Entry 7 | 70* | 100

In this example Lookup Entry 1 gives us 40* with 30 for fanspeed, where Lookup Entry 5 gives us 60* with 75 Fanspeed. In the simplest form this method of fan control is a simple If/Then statement, If the Temp for Column 1 is met, then Column two is set. So if X Temp then Set speed to Y the higher temp further in the list will always take precedence, so there is no worry here about your fan being stuck on a low speed as long as you have set up your fan control properyly.

Upon scrolling down you will see a variety of settings such as shown here.


This is where the previously mentioned commands come into play, you MUST change PWM_mode to 3 to get these settings to stick, also I would recommend setting PWM_ramp_1 and PWM_ramp 1 as it makes your fan seem to increase and decrease more naturally. For T_min I if you want your fan to always be on I would suggest setting it to a temp lower than your idle temp, mine idles at 43 so 40 was a good number for myself, if you want your fan to turn on and off you can set it to a reasonable temp for me would be 45, but this is only if you know what you are doing.

T_max again, the max temp you want your card to get until fans hit 100%, this can also be defined in Lookup Entry 7, if you set a certain temperature to be at 100% fan speed. I like my card running cool, that is why I have it set low.

Spinup cycle, in my personal experience acts as another buffer to the PWM ramp settings, I "believe" it determines how fast the card changes speeds, default spinup cycle is ~80%, meaning it will ramp up 80% to full speed per cycle, I turned mine down to make it speed up at a slower rate, 20-40% should be a good spinup cycle if you feel like changing it to something low.

Duty cycle 100%: Just don't mess with it

Spinup time: Relates to Fan Spinup time, but just don't touch it.

So now you have set your fan speeds to your desired temperatures, so lets take a quick recap.

Testing your Fan Control!

Now that we've set our fan speed for temperature lets see how they work, I would recommend using Furmark


to test your GPU, but before running that RivaTuner has a nice built in monitoring system, to get to it go back to settings, again clicking this.


And then clicking on the Film tape, or this one...


After that you will be prompted by a new window that displays all sorts of goodies about temps, Keep this window open and run furmark, you should see something like this


And there ya go, now you have user defined fan temperatures for your Video card to better allow you to play L4D!

CLIFFNOTES: If you don't read the whole thing it won't help
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Old 02-01-2009, 11:27 AM   #2
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Also wanted to add, I know it is possible to set manual fan control in things such as CCC or ATItool, however running at a set fan speed can be a problem because if run at too high it is running the fan life short, if running too low you can experience overheating. There are multiple solutions, but this guide allows you, the user, to set the temps and fan speeds you want for your video card, and its simple and quick too!
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Old 02-02-2009, 06:08 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting this. Rivatuner is excessively complicated and the other tutorials are outdated. I gave up and just use the CCC's static control. Next time I try RT, I'll use this for reference.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:36 PM   #4
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Very nice, you should make one for Nvidia users as well, similar options but things looked different, I figured it out though, thanks!
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:27 AM   #5
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Thanks alot.

Worked a charm
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:31 AM   #6
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I'll have to try this after work. Awesome job!
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:14 AM   #7
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Thanks btw
Running a Sapphire HD4870 with these settions


Still tweaking it for best balance of performance and noise, but it seems to be working fine now. A lot higher idle temps than I am used to, used to run my fan at 33% all the time.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:30 AM   #8
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I made a video on this a little while back after finding that there wasn't much information on custom fan profiles.


Your guide uses the slightly more difficult method... Although,s till a nice guide, though
Ramzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2009, 01:01 AM   #9
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Both systems work guys! Thanks SO much for finally making sense of how this RivaTuner fan control works!
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Old 12-25-2009, 01:04 AM   #10
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I Tend to stick with EVGA Precision and MSI Afterburner, simple easy to use interfaces and has everything you need without all the extra confusing stuff Rivatuner has.

MSI Afterburner works both on nVidia and ATI cards so thats a definate plus.

Great guide never the less though.
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Old 12-25-2009, 01:09 AM   #11
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Thumbs up SLI TIP RivaTuner Fan Control Tutorial

Originally Posted by Ramzy View Post
I made a video on this a little while back after finding that there wasn't much information on custom fan profiles.


Your guide uses the slightly more difficult method... Although,s till a nice guide, though
I also wanted to add to this video tutorial the fact that SLI fan control does in fact work with this video tutorial method.

***SLI TIP: Set your hardware range event monitor to whichever primary or secondary VGA heats up 1st between the two and the other VGA fan will follow those set parameters.

Thanks SO MUCH for this!!!
Paraleyes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2009, 09:01 AM   #12
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Any tips on how to increase the fan speed on my laptop? T_T
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:43 AM   #13
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Check your BIOS. If there are no settings in there. It is impossible. Don't be fooled. Unless you are willing to replace the fan or solder to a point on your MB that provides a constant current. That's why those laptop coolers are so popular. The best advice I can give you is to take apart your laptop and put some good thermal paste on the CPU and NB. I just put AS5 on mine and lowered my load temps substantially. It didn't do too much for idle temps though; just a few degrees C better.
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Old 12-25-2009, 12:00 PM   #14
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Nice guides ezell, ramzy. Very helpful.

Ive already got my GTX 285 fan ramping up at 65C, but thats all. Sometime ill make a nice a neat profile like these
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:26 AM   #15
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When I try to select direct video card control it isn't there to select.
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