Last Updated on September 14, 2020 by Scott Krager
CPU fans are very useful when it comes to keeping your CPU cool. They don’t allow your CPU to get heated pretty quickly (something that happens in overclocking), which in turn, causes the CPU to work more efficiently. But they have a disadvantage of their own.
They make a lot of noise which feels pretty awkward if you’re in some silent places.
How To Know If You Need A CPU Fan Control
First thing for you is to know if you really want to control your CPU fan speed. Is your CPU fan really acting like a wind tunnel? Or are you just being over-conscious?
Here are a few steps you can take to know the cause for CPU overheating.
- Clean Your PC Dust. If your desktop is dusty from inside, chances are that CPU fans are having a hard time working properly. That’s why you should first clean your desktop from the inside.
- Ensure a proper vent system. If your PC doesn’t have proper ventilation, be it desktop or laptop, it will start heating. That’s why you should always place your laptop on a flat surface (like a wooden table) instead of some blanket/bed. In case of desktop PC, avoid placing the Desktop’ back too close against any wall.
- The Third and last step in this process is to make sure you don’t have any heavy app running in the background. For this, you need to open your task manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del) to see your CPU utilization percentage. If It’s too high, then there are some apps running which you need to terminate.
OK, so now you have now done all the steps to stop CPU overheating. If your CPU temperature is still not normal, then it’s finally time to adjust its fan speed.
Different Ways To Power CPU Fans
There are only 2 ways to power a CPU fan. They’re either connected to your motherboard or to the power supply.
If it’s connected to the power supply, then you’re out of luck, mate. You cannot control its speed through software. Your only hope now is a hardware fan controller.
Things become interested if your CPU fans are connected to your motherboard because in that case you may, or may not, control them.
Here are these options.
If your CPU fan has a 4-pin cable AND your motherboard has a 4-pin socket too, then its perfect. You can control your fan speed through the PVM (which requires a 4-pin connection as a prerequisite).
If your motherboard has a 4-pin socket but you only have a CPU fan with 3-pin cable, then you need to check out if your motherboard supports voltage control. If yes, then you can control the fan speed though voltage and, although it’s not perfect, it will get the job done. If not, then there’s no solution except a hardware fan controller.
If motherboard card has 3-pin socket bit doesn’t matter if your CPU fan has a 3 or 4-pin cable. All you need to make sure is that it does support voltage control and follow the above process. There’s a slight difference between PVM and voltage regulatory methods. PVM sends controlled voltage pulses to CPU fan to make it run slower. Voltage mode, on the other hand, adjusts the CPU fan’s voltage directly.
To make things easier for you for visualize, here is a little flow-chart for you.
Alright, now that we have learned which fans can or can’t be controlled through software. Now let’s discuss different ways to do them.
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Control CPU Fan Speed Using SpeedFan Software
It’s our first method for controlling your CPU fan. It’s slightly complex than other methods in this list but far more customizable and powerful.
SpeedFan is a windows program that lets you monitor and control the temperature of any of your PC hardware, not just your CPU. Of course, there are some limitations of this software too.
First, it doesn’t support all chipsets. Second, it can get conflicted with other CPU fan controlling methods. That’s why don’t use any other method if this one goes smoothly for you.
Here’s a detailed video about how to set-up this software. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Control CPU Fan: Using Built-in BIOS settings
Often times, you can control your CPU fan settings just by digging into BIOS settings. Although this method doesn’t give you as much customization as the SpeedFan, it’s a good free alternative if your CPU isn’t compatible with the SpeedFan.
There are a couple of ways to get into BIOS settings of your PC.
- Restart your PC and as soon as it boots, press one of the F2 and DEL key, (for laptop and desktop respectively). It will open the BIOS Settings.
- Go to your Start Menu > Settings > Update and Security > Recovery. In advance tab, click restart now. When the system restarts, you will be shown boot menu. From there, select Troubleshoot > Advance Options > UEFI firmware settings.
Once you’re in the BIOS settings, it will take time of you to locate these CPU fan settings. It’s because different vendors place these settings in different locations of the menu. In some CPUs, you can set this temperature in different modes only, while the other manufacturers may allow you to set any temperature threshold, just like you do in SpeedFan.
Other than this, you’ll also be offered a choice between the regulation methods: PMV and Voltage. You need to select what’s best for your system using the above flow-chart.
In case they are not present in any settings area, its possible that you don’t any of these settings at all on your PC and must be done by a hardware fan controller.
Control CPU Fan: Using a Hardware Fan Controller
Although the above two methods can work on most of the motherboards, you cannot have full control over your CPU fan speed. On top of that, you can only control one or maybe two fans of your CPU/GPU through these methods, at most.
Even then, there are still some motherboards left unsupported, by both Speed Fan software and their BIOS system, regarding the fan control.
If you’re the owner of those unlucky motherboards, then what you need is an external fan controller. There are plenty of ones out there in the market, like this one
This fan controller adjusts in one of your 5.25-inch drive bays and allows you to change your CPU fan speed (controls up to 5 fans) on 5 different levels, although you can automatically set the fan speed according to the temperature too.
Other than this, you see actually the current CPU temperature through its LCD panel.