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Video Cards and temperatures

cheyanecheyane EarthPosts: 4,220Member Rare

I was just mulling over my Geforce 480 GTX's life span it lasted slightly over two years but was hitting 93 degrees c  when playing games and I was wondering whether the fan that is not assisted by any program like MSI afterburner works adequately. Could it be that I cut the life span of that card by not assisting it with a program that pushed up the fan speeds to even higher than what the manufacturer adjusted it for increases.


At that time when I initially got the card it alarmed me greatly to see such high temperatures but many reviews and sites continued to claim it was normal for that card to see such high temperatures when gaming. I decided this time round after my video card was just changed by Dell service tech to use MSI afterburner and use a curve that would increase the fan speed and use it from startup hoping to make the card last longer. I may be just tilting at windmills but thought it was worth a shot.


However another thought crept into my nutty mind what if I am overusing the fan and it dies from overuse. Anyway the gradual slope was the default mode .You think I should only use MSI afterburner only when I am playing a game or should I use it from startup ? Also when I was playing SWTOR it was hitting 80+, the card is a Geforce 580 GTX but with the afterburner the temperatures dropped to 69 degrees so it was definitely working. I might have helped my old card reach those temperatures too ahd I had the wherewithal to use this application before.



  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 17,328Member Epic

    The basic problem with the reference GeForce GTX 480 is that the stock cooler simply couldn't handle the card.  It was simply a bad card, and while Nvidia fanboys at the time insisted that it was fine, overheating was destined to exact its toll eventually.  If you plugged in two monitors, a GeForce GTX 480 could even touch 90 C at idle, even in a well-ventilated case.

    What I think happened is that Nvidia expected that the card be able to run at higher clock speeds while using less power, and designed the cooler accordingly.  Once they had the silicon in place and had the cooler ready, if they had set the clock speeds to what the cooler could handle, it wouldn't have been any faster than a Radeon HD 5870.  Hot, late, and slow is a deadly combination for commercial products, so Nvidia decided to just clock it higher and let the cards bake.  Rather than having a card that was mediocre on all counts, it would be the highest performing single-GPU card on the market, and otherwise terrible.

    The GeForce GTX 580 is what the GTX 480 was supposed to be.  But Nvidia had to do a base layer respin to fix the problem, and that takes several months.  That's why the GeForce GTX 580 wasn't able to launch until nearly a year after it was supposed to originally be out.

  • CleffyCleffy San Diego, CAPosts: 5,394Member Rare

    Ultimately what determines a fans lifespan is the quality of the fan.  I have had alot of Thermaltake fans become unbalanced and make a grinding noise.  The nice thing about faulty fans is that they don't just stop working.  They get unbalanced and make a grinding noise.  The only reason a fan would stop spinning is because something went wrong with the power source, not the actual fan itself.

    For instance I have used the really high CFM fans for a couple years and finally had one go out on me last month.

    Here is the model I used.  Delta 120mm fan  At full speed it sounds like you are having planes take off in your room.


    As far as temperatures go.  Typically a GPU can take temps over 70c because of the parts they are made out of.  The GTX480 was just a hot card, its actually surprising it lasted 2 years.  I thought it would last shorter then that.  Some video cards have a cap on heat and will take action to prevent it from going over this cap.  For instance your game suddenly crashes due to heat issues are fail safes to prevent the card from overheating.  This is also why you should always keep in mind heat when overclocking.  Just like it did with the GTX480, overclocking too far will reduce the lifespan of your components.  However, at default settings most hardware should be fine.  The GTX480 is an exception to a long line of products released within reasonably engineered settings.

  • cheyanecheyane EarthPosts: 4,220Member Rare
    Well that explains a lot and may be I should have been grateful it  lasted two years given your explanation of its build. I noticed that of the 4 games I played SWTOR heats up the 580 card the most.The others like GW 2,WoW and Everquest it hovered at about 70 degrees. However with MSI burner I am really seeing a temperature drop.
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