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NirvanaII 03-24-2011 10:12 AM

GeForce 7900 GS fan constant whirring is too much - help for fan/gpu control required
Okay, so despite my having installed nvidia's proprietary driver, and ruducing my fan speed from its initially intolerable high of 100%, it even now is too much for me to tolerate. Really, I want a software solution that will bring better functionality, and some intellegent automation (better than a constant whirring at 20%!) Can anybody suggest anything, whether a change of driver, a piece of software or change of OS (is BSD any better?)

Here's some more info:


[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ lspci | grep VGA
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G71 [GeForce 7900 GS] (rev a1)
[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ uname -a
Linux mepis1 2.6.32-1-mepis64-smp #1 SMP PREEMPT Wed Apr 7 22:52:57 EDT 2010 x86_64 GNU/Linux

And the results of nvclock:


[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ nvclock --info
-- General info --                 
Card:          nVidia Geforce 7900GS
Architecture:  NV49/G71 A2         
PCI id:        0x292               
GPU clock:      468.000 MHz         
Bustype:        PCI-Express

-- Pipeline info --
Pixel units: 5x4 (110111b)
Vertex units: 7x1 (01111111b)
HW masked units: pixel 100010b vertex 00000000b
SW masked units: pixel 001000b vertex 10000000b

-- Memory info --
Amount:        256 MB
Type:          256 bit DDR
Clock:          661.500 MHz

-- PCI-Express info --
Current Rate:  16X
Maximum rate:  16X

-- Sensor info --
Sensor: GPU Internal Sensor
GPU temperature: 54C
Fanspeed: 20.0%

-- VideoBios information --
Signon message: GeForce 7900 GS VGA BIOS
Performance level 0: gpu 450(+20)MHz/memory 660MHz/1.20V/20%
Performance level 1: gpu 450(+20)MHz/memory 660MHz/1.20V/40%
VID mask: 1
Voltage level 0: 1.20V, VID: 1

I daren't risk lowering the fan speed with nvclock for fear of melting the gpu, but do ask - from a novice perspective - if it is necessary for the gpu to be at a temp of 54c when my comp is doing nothing more graphically intensive than running KDE.

H_TeXMeX_H 03-24-2011 11:06 AM

It shouldn't make that much noise at 20% speed. Are you sure it's from the GPU fan, because for me all the other fans make more noise than the GPU fan. I mean it's usually the quietest fan. There must be something wrong. Make sure it is clean and free of dust. Also, how many fans do you have in the case and how are they arranged, mostly are they input of output fans ?

NirvanaII 03-24-2011 11:34 AM


Originally Posted by H_TeXMeX_H (Post 4301819)
It shouldn't make that much noise at 20% speed. Are you sure it's from the GPU fan, because for me all the other fans make more noise than the GPU fan. I mean it's usually the quietest fan. There must be something wrong. Make sure it is clean and free of dust. Also, how many fans do you have in the case and how are they arranged, mostly are they input of output fans ?

Off the top of my head there's the cpu and psu fans, but I am unsure as to their arrangement. Is there a command to tell me this info? Or what else might have a fan? It's quite possible I suppose that after the gpu quiets down (hits 20%) I am hearing a different fan... Nothing is 'roaring' so to speak, it's just a constant dull noise that drives me slowly insane, and makes it hard to concentrate.

H_TeXMeX_H 03-24-2011 12:18 PM

Well, you would have to physically look, because it depends on how the fans are hooked up, they may or may not be seen. You can use 'sensors-detect' and may pick up some fan speeds, or it may not.

J.W. 03-24-2011 01:25 PM

One really simple way to determine if you GPU fan is making all the noise would be to just momentarily and gently press against it so it no longer is spinning. If the noise stops when the fan stops, that would be proof. (Note that by 'momentarily', I mean for about one second; you obviously would not want to block any fan for a prolonged period)

FWIW in my experience case fans are usually the noisiest, although any fan can be the culprit if age and mechanical wear and tear start to affect its performance

NirvanaII 03-24-2011 01:46 PM

I don't want to be opening up the PC just yet, but think that I will if my investigations don't take me much further. The noise I have now noticed is constant from the moment the machine is switched on, whatever level the gpu fan, so am inclined now to think it is related to another device. And if you think that 20% is ordinarily quiet H_TeXMeX_H, i'm likely wrong it is the gpu. Last time I checked the cpu fan was set to an 'auto moderation' type setting in the bios, and i'm not sure without looking what other options were availble to me. (i'll look after posting this.)

This doesn't mean much to me even after reading the man page, i'm afraid, but here are the results of sensors-detect:


[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ sudo sensors-detect                     
[sudo] password for stuart8.5:                                 
# sensors-detect revision 5818 (2010-01-18 17:22:07 +0100)     
# System: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. 945GCM-S2L             

This program will help you determine which kernel modules you need
to load to use lm_sensors most effectively. It is generally safe 
and recommended to accept the default answers to all questions, 
unless you know what you're doing.                               

Some south bridges, CPUs or memory controllers contain embedded sensors.
Do you want to scan for them? This is totally safe. (YES/no): y       
Silicon Integrated Systems SIS5595...                      No         
VIA VT82C686 Integrated Sensors...                          No         
VIA VT8231 Integrated Sensors...                            No         
AMD K8 thermal sensors...                                  No         
AMD Family 10h thermal sensors...                          No         
AMD Family 11h thermal sensors...                          No         
Intel Core family thermal sensor...                        Success!   
    (driver `coretemp')                                               
Intel Atom thermal sensor...                                No         
Intel AMB FB-DIMM thermal sensor...                        No         
VIA C7 thermal sensor...                                    No         
VIA Nano thermal sensor...                                  No         

Some Super I/O chips contain embedded sensors. We have to write to
standard I/O ports to probe them. This is usually safe.         
Do you want to scan for Super I/O sensors? (YES/no): y           
Probing for Super-I/O at 0x2e/0x2f                               
Trying family `National Semiconductor'...                  No   
Trying family `SMSC'...                                    No   
Trying family `VIA/Winbond/Nuvoton/Fintek'...              No   
Trying family `ITE'...                                      Yes 
Found `ITE IT8718F Super IO Sensors'                        Success!
    (address 0x290, driver `it87')                                 
Probing for Super-I/O at 0x4e/0x4f                                 
Trying family `National Semiconductor'...                  No     
Trying family `SMSC'...                                    No     
Trying family `VIA/Winbond/Nuvoton/Fintek'...              No     
Trying family `ITE'...                                      No     

Some systems (mainly servers) implement IPMI, a set of common interfaces
through which system health data may be retrieved, amongst other things.
We first try to get the information from SMBIOS. If we don't find it   
there, we have to read from arbitrary I/O ports to probe for such     
interfaces. This is normally safe. Do you want to scan for IPMI       
interfaces? (YES/no): y                                               
Probing for `IPMI BMC KCS' at 0xca0...                      No         
Probing for `IPMI BMC SMIC' at 0xca8...                    No         

Some hardware monitoring chips are accessible through the ISA I/O ports.
We have to write to arbitrary I/O ports to probe them. This is usually 
safe though. Yes, you do have ISA I/O ports even if you do not have any
ISA slots! Do you want to scan the ISA I/O ports? (yes/NO): y         
Probing for `National Semiconductor LM78' at 0x290...      No         
Probing for `National Semiconductor LM79' at 0x290...      No
Probing for `Winbond W83781D' at 0x290...                  No
Probing for `Winbond W83782D' at 0x290...                  No

Lastly, we can probe the I2C/SMBus adapters for connected hardware
monitoring devices. This is the most risky part, and while it works
reasonably well on most systems, it has been reported to cause trouble
on some systems.
Do you want to probe the I2C/SMBus adapters now? (YES/no): n
Now follows a summary of the probes I have just done.
Just press ENTER to continue:

Driver `it87':
  * ISA bus, address 0x290
    Chip `ITE IT8718F Super IO Sensors' (confidence: 9)

Driver `coretemp':
  * Chip `Intel Core family thermal sensor' (confidence: 9)

To load everything that is needed, add this to /etc/modules:
#----cut here----
# Chip drivers
#----cut here----
If you have some drivers built into your kernel, the list above will
contain too many modules. Skip the appropriate ones!

Do you want to add these lines automatically to /etc/modules? (yes/NO)n

I'm guessing the first sensor driver is related to the cpu, as for the other one...

NirvanaII 03-24-2011 02:05 PM

Just to add that I get a cpu reading of 2064rpm @ 42c in the bios, but then this is before the kernel kicks in...

H_TeXMeX_H 03-24-2011 02:34 PM

If you 'modprobe' those modules and use a monitoring app or look in /proc, you may be able to find if it can read the fan speeds. coretemp is indeed just CPU temps, no fan speeds. it87 may pick up fan speeds. You may also see fan speeds in the BIOS, if it has them listed.

NirvanaII 03-24-2011 04:45 PM

Okay, so i've modprobed those drivers...


[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ lsmod | grep it87
it87                  15735  0       
hwmon_vid              1764  1 it87 
[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ lsmod | grep coretemp
coretemp                4165  0

but nothing is showing up in the relevant directories that acpi uses:


[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ ls -Ra /proc/acpi/fan/
.  ..
[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ ls -Ra /proc/acpi/thermal_zone/
.  ..

I did run the daemon too (acpid) but have since read that it is of no use since kernel 2.6.25 where /proc/acpi/event has become deprecated. I checked the following modules too:


[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ lsmod | grep fan
fan                    3298  0
thermal_sys            11766  3 processor,thermal,fan
[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ lsmod | grep thermal
thermal                11562  0
thermal_sys            11766  3 processor,thermal,fan

ACPI is enabled in the BIOS. What am I missing here?

NirvanaII 03-24-2011 07:16 PM


[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ sensors | grep Core
Core 0:      +52.0C  (high = +86.0C, crit = +100.0C)
Core 1:      +54.0C  (high = +86.0C, crit = +100.0C)
[stuart8.5@mepis1 ~]$ sensors | grep fan
fan1:      2083 RPM  (min =    0 RPM)
fan2:          0 RPM  (min =    0 RPM)
fan3:          0 RPM  (min =    0 RPM)

Here's some info on temperature and speed picked up independently from acpi.

H_TeXMeX_H 03-25-2011 08:02 AM

Ah, ok, so it picks up a fan, it's probably not the GPU fan. It may be the source of the noise, especially if the amount of noise correlates with the fan speed.

NirvanaII 03-25-2011 09:49 AM

I've not checked as yet as to what a typcial speed is for a cpu fan, but I guess not that from your reply.

Yes, I think that I was wrong initially, and ruled out the gpu in my mind some time ago. My thought now - tell me if this is possible! - is that cpu fan control is coming from a low level driver, and not acpi? I have spent some time reading through similar stories by those with empty folders with varying replies, but none of the replies have suited me (it seemed for Thinkpads there were scripts available to automate the fan, but little more practical, or close for my purposes than this; and I don't have a Thinkpad!)

I did install cpudynd in a bid to decrease the cpu temp (and consequently switch the fan off) but that didn't want to work. As a solution I don't rate it much in any case.

rizzy 03-25-2011 10:05 AM


Originally Posted by NirvanaII (Post 4302017)
I don't want to be opening up the PC just yet

That's the first thing I would do. Often dust gets collected on the cutting edge of the fan blades, making fans very noisy. Also, heat sinks that are caked in dust loose their efficiency which in turn would raise fans RPMs to compensate.

thorkelljarl 03-25-2011 10:26 AM

After you open the case...

If you can't localize the source of the noise, use a paper mailing tube or the tube from a roll of paper towels to improvise a stethoscope and isolate the sound.

It is possible to build yourself out of the problem. I have a graphics card that had a small, whining cooling fan. My solution was to buy a good passive cooler and let the large case fan do the work of removing the heated air. MY CPU has a large, after market cooler that is over dimensioned to its task and therefor runs slow and quiet under PWM control.

NirvanaII 03-27-2011 10:29 AM

So having awkwardly removed my LGA 755 'plug-in' - ha ha! - cpu fan and heatsink to blow out the dust, and rather forcefully 'hammering' it - literally with a pair of pliars - back into the motherboard, breaking a bit of the plastic plug/fastener in the process, I am now met with a sustained high pitch noise from my computer (I am not sure what!) Additionally, when I check the BIOS, where I would once before see info on the cpu temperature and fan speeds I no longer do. I managed (despite the broken plug) to get the cpu fan reasonably and reassuringly square on and secure, however.

As for the fan, it does power on and spin, and the sound itself didn't (and doesn't) start out immediately after the fan is set in place, and the computer switched on, but once it starts that's it - it's time to re-seat the fan, or the noise will persist (even after reboots.) I'd also add that the computer boots fine into the OS.

What could be going on here? Have I buggered up something on the motherboard, or could this be due to that broken plug/fastener? Can I buy replacement plugs/fasteners? And if so, just what the heck do you call those things so I can track them down!?

Thanks again.

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