GPU Fan control

Ih8reno

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 10, 2012
1,355
172
Hi all

I installed a Sapphire RX 460 4gb in my mac and it works great except for one thing. The fans ramp up every few minutes. Is there anything I can do about this. Its very annoying hearing the buzzing of the fans. Would there be a fan control app I can use on this model.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,973
6,588
Hong Kong
If it's the PCIe fan, all you need to do is run Luxmark for few seconds, then it should go back to normal. But if it's really the graphic card's fan. Then there is not much you can do, unless you willing to edit the VBIOS and flash the card.

MacsFanControl can also force the PCIe fan run at a lower speed, but you will also lost the overheat protection. In general, there is no big deal, because the PCIe doesn't provide direct cooling to anything.
 
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Ih8reno

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 10, 2012
1,355
172
yeah its the fans for the gpu. Not too sure about flashing it

If it's the PCIe fan, all you need to do is run Luxmark for few seconds, then it should go back to normal. But if it's really the graphic card's fan. Then there is not much you you can, unless you willing to edit the VBIOS and flash the card.

MacsFanControl can also force the PCIe fan run at a lower speed, but you will also lost the overheat protection. In general, there is no big deal, because the PCIe doesn't provide direct cooling to anything.
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,973
6,588
Hong Kong
If you sure it's the fan on the graphic card's, is there any pattern? e.g. You can hear the fan spin up (usually only a little bit) when you scrolling in a web browser?
 
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Ih8reno

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 10, 2012
1,355
172
I think you may have solved it. I will continue testing but when I use safari as a browser I (so far) haven't heard the gpu fan spin up. However when I use my firefox browser it randomly comes on and off.
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,973
6,588
Hong Kong
Some GPU come with a very aggressive fan profile. Since all modern browser use GPU to accelerate. When you scrolling up and down, the GPU and the associated VRAM actually work a bit harder than "just display something (2D idle)". In some case, it's just strong enough to trigger the fan to spin up (keep jumping above and below the "fan spin up threshold". Therefore, you will able to hear the fan on and off. In fact, if the demand is bigger, and make the fan keep spinning at a faster RPM, you may not notice it at all. But when the noise signature keep changing, it's very easy to catch your attention.

One of the easy test is browning Facebook. It's quite demanding (as a webpage), and can use lots of VRAM. Also, you can keep scroll down forever (particular useful for this test). If you can hear the fan spin up and down when browsing in Firefox. Then I am quite sure there is no solution in MacOS apart from flashing your card (with a more gentle fan profile).

Anyway, you may still try to stress the card a bit after boot to desktop. Luxmark for 10 seconds is good enough. Just in case the power control bug not just affect the PCIe & PSU fan, but also make your card unable to correctly stay at low power mode.

If you can hear the fan spin up before stress test (e.g. using Firefox), then try to stress it for few seconds and do the test again. If no more fan noise, then it means your card need something to stress it EVERYTIME after you boot to desktop. Otherwise, it won't work properly.

But if the fan still spin up and down after stress test. Then I am 99.99% sure flash it is the only way to fix it.
 
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Yeti747

macrumors newbie
Feb 21, 2018
1
0
Some GPU come with a very aggressive fan profile. Since all modern browser use GPU to accelerate. When you scrolling up and down, the GPU and the associated VRAM actually work a bit harder than "just display something (2D idle)". In some case, it's just strong enough to trigger the fan to spin up (keep jumping above and below the "fan spin up threshold". Therefore, you will able to hear the fan on and off. In fact, if the demand is bigger, and make the fan keep spinning at a faster RPM, you may not notice it at all. But when the noise signature keep changing, it's very easy to catch your attention.

One of the easy test is browning Facebook. It's quite demanding (as a webpage), and can use lots of VRAM. Also, you can keep scroll down forever (particular useful for this test). If you can hear the fan spin up and down when browsing in Firefox. Then I am quite sure there is no solution in MacOS apart from flashing your card (with a more gentle fan profile).

Anyway, you may still try to stress the card a bit after boot to desktop. Luxmark for 10 seconds is good enough. Just in case the power control bug not just affect the PCIe & PSU fan, but also make your card unable to correctly stay at low power mode.

If you can hear the fan spin up before stress test (e.g. using Firefox), then try to stress it for few seconds and do the test again. If no more fan noise, then it means your card need something to stress it EVERYTIME after you boot to desktop. Otherwise, it won't work properly.

But if the fan still spin up and down after stress test. Then I am 99.99% sure flash it is the only way to fix it.
I just bought a Sonnet Breakaway eGPU and MSI RX 580 OC and it's already driving me nuts just using the web browser or Visual Studio Code; the fans spin up briefly every time I scroll. It makes me wonder about the long-term durability of this setup with MacOS, at least for the GPU fans. There's no way to adjust the fan speed with Macs Fan Control.

Edit: Nevermind, this setup spanks the integrated GPU in the early 2015 13" MBP so hard, there's no going back. The CPU runs much cooler now in clamshell mode when driving two monitors. Getting 60+ fps on Shadow Warrior at 2560x1440, and I can work on Unity and Web projects smoothly in 4k now. Been using an Apple TB2->3 connector and it's been flawless with 10.13.3.
 
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