Games & computer fans

Feb 4, 2009
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Why do fans ramp up super aggressively on some games and not on others?
Do games “talk” to case fans?
Does windows learn to increase fans for certain games?

Really my question is I have noticed some games require case fans to run more aggressively and there appears to be no reason why. For example my case fans ramp up in Civ 6 between turns, I’ve heard this game has a ton of calculations happening between turns so maybe that make sense.
Where as Conan Exiles my fans typically run pretty quiet but the moment I start Atlas which I believe is the same game engine as Conan Exiles the fans run high for the whole time. Atlas is still early access so maybe some inefficiencies are involved.
All my fans are PWM fans in appropriate headers.

I’ve noticed this fan behavior on multiple machines.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
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405
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I'm not sure if you built your machine or if you purchased it, but in general, most case fans -- when installed into a typical motherboard -- will be controlled via PWM. As for the fan speeds, this will depend entirely upon three things...

  1. What control/curve is being followed for the fans. Most just refer to this as "the fan curve" as it's usually plotted out on a graph of Temperature against Duty Cycle (percentage).
  2. What is the temperature source being used for the fans? Typically, most fans are set to the CPU temperature, but it's possible to use chassis temperature too if the motherboard has a separate temperature sensor.
  3. What is the actual temperature of that component while running.

If I had to guess, you likely have PWM fans that are set to the CPU on what's probably a standard curve. (Most motherboards include a "standard" setting, but as to what that means depends on the motherboard manufacturer.) What you're likely seeing is that specific games are taxing your CPU more, which is raising the temperature, and consequently, your fan speed.
 
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Feb 4, 2009
25,920
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I'm not sure if you built your machine or if you purchased it, but in general, most case fans -- when installed into a typical motherboard -- will be controlled via PWM. As for the fan speeds, this will depend entirely upon three things...

  1. What control/curve is being followed for the fans. Most just refer to this as "the fan curve" as it's usually plotted out on a graph of Temperature against Duty Cycle (percentage).
  2. What is the temperature source being used for the fans? Typically, most fans are set to the CPU temperature, but it's possible to use chassis temperature too if the motherboard has a separate temperature sensor.
  3. What is the actual temperature of that component while running.

If I had to guess, you likely have PWM fans that are set to the CPU on what's probably a standard curve. (Most motherboards include a "standard" setting, but as to what that means depends on the motherboard manufacturer.) What you're likely seeing is that specific games are taxing your CPU more, which is raising the temperature, and consequently, your fan speed.
You are on to something here. My H115 Pro is on the CPU fan.
Still find it weird Atlas immediately starts at full fan speed. I know early access and such....
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,316
405
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You are on to something here. My H115 Pro is on the CPU fan.
Still find it weird Atlas immediately starts at full fan speed. I know early access and such....
I'm somewhat familiar with the Platinum model, but I'm assuming the Pro also provides its own built-in fan control. I believe that fan control is based off of the water temperature, which means it can perform self-contained fan control rather than having to read the CPU temperature.

I actually ran into an odd problem with a different Corsair product. I was on a bit of a "let's try some new stuff" kick, and I went with a Corsair Commander Pro. Well, the problem is that the Commander Pro's built-in fan curves are supposedly based on case ambient temperature, and if you look at the curves, they are incredibly tight and tend to have most of their points in the 30's. So, when I started using the "Quiet" setting set to CPU temperature, I was taken aback quickly when my fans started ramping up excessively.

To fix this, I ended up having to create my own custom curve, but Corsair's iCue software is awkward and you setup your curve based upon fan RPM not duty cycle. The only nice benefit that the Commander Pro gives you is that it can perform the fan control without iCue open.
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
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During heavy loading of the CPU/GPU, more heat is generated. This will in turn cause the fans to spin up faster to remove the excess heat.

One thing you can do is run with VSync on, if the card is fast enough to sustain 60fps, it will put less load on it than running as fast as possible. Also, some GPU's have a lower power mode, either via BIOS switch or drivers.

What are your system specs?
 
Feb 4, 2009
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During heavy loading of the CPU/GPU, more heat is generated. This will in turn cause the fans to spin up faster to remove the excess heat.

One thing you can do is run with VSync on, if the card is fast enough to sustain 60fps, it will put less load on it than running as fast as possible. Also, some GPU's have a lower power mode, either via BIOS switch or drivers.

What are your system specs?
I missed this post
I have discovered if I limit the frames to a reasonable number my fan noise is substantially reduced.
Only tried this with Mount & Blade Bannerlord which has an in game frame limit setting.
The default setting was 300 (maybe 600 regardless it was a huge number). I don’t think my monitor can do more than 60fps so I limited it to 60. Much more quiet now.
 
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