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Posts Tagged ‘Gigabyte Windforce fans

We have recently talked about how you can Fix problematic fans of Gigabyte Windforce VGAs as the company tends to use cheaper sleeve bearing fans that are more prone to failure when used for GPU mining rigs. Interestingly enough Gigabyte does seem to use multiple suppliers for their Windforce fans and even though on the top the blades of the fans are the same, inside there could be interesting differences. So far most of the RX 400/500 series of GPUs from Gigabyte with Windforce fans that we’ve seen used 2x5x5.5mm metal bushings inside and as we have already mentioned these are easily replaced with readily available ball bearings and you can upgrade your fans to be more durable long term. It is a well known facts that sleeve bearings are much less resistant to higher temperatures and dust than ball bearing fans and as the operating conditions worsen their life span drops significantly.

It seems however that Gigabyte has Windforce fans with larger and not so standard metal bushings as well that cannot be directly replaced with ball bearings as their size is just not as standard. We have stumbled on some Everflow T129215SU fans used on Gigabyte Windforce fans that used 2x8x5mm metal bushings and there are simply no standard bearings that you can use with so small inside hole and so big outer diameter available. So fixing or upgrading these becomes a bit more trickier and you need to either do your own bushings with the right size to replace or use spacers so that you can fit 2×5 size ball bearings inside. We have actually done both of these already and have tried them, but not on Gigabyte Windforce. To our surprise Asus and their STRIX GPU fans turned out to be using crappy sleeve bearing fans instead of better quality and more durable ball bearing fans. The STRIX fans use the same size metal bushing as we’ve discovered in this particular Gigabyte Windforce fans, but we are going to get back with more details about that very soon…

Some of you might remember our guide from last year on How to Maintain and Repair Dual-X and Other Non-Serviceable GPU Fans covering the whole procedure on how you can fix the fans of old mining video cards that use cheaper sleeve bearing fans. That guide was demonstrating the whole procedure for Sapphire’s old Radeon Dual-X video cards that were very popular back in the Litecoin mining days and are still usable for mining ZEC for example or any other Equihash-based altcoin. Back then we mentioned that the same procedure works for Gigabyte’s Windforce fans as well as many other cheaper fans that find their way on a lot of video cards nowadays, even on very high-end products such as even GTX 1080 Ti. The basic procedure fro replacing the metal bushing with ball bearings is pretty much the same on all fans, though there are some specifics from brand to brand and from model to model and now it is time to talk a bit more about Gigabyte’s Windforce fans.

Gigabyte has been using the Winforce series of fans for quite some time and they have never been our favorites, especially for GPU mining rigs due to the fact that they are essentially cheap sleeve bearing fans that are less durable when used in higher temperature and dusty environment. The high temperature and dust are the two very common things for many GPU mining rigs and Gigabyte even used the same fans on their Nvidia P106-based mining GPU and we have recently checked what is the situation in just a bit short of three months of use for mining with these. We even had bad experience with Windforce fans starting to fail in just about a month of use on RX 400/500 series of GPUs as well as on GTX 1070 when used for mining, so you can imagine why video cards from Gigabyte with these fans are really not our first choice for GPU mining rigs.

With all of the above said however there is one important advantage that Gigabyte’s Windforce fans have over some other cheaper sleeve bearing fans found on expensive video cards used for mining and that is the fact that you can relatively easily upgrade them. We are talking about replacing the metal bushing with dual ball bearings thus fixing fans that are starting to show signs of the metal bushing wearing off and the fan destabilizing or the fan rotating slower due to dust buildup. The important thing here is to catch the potential problem on time and fix it promptly and not wait for the fan to stop rotating completely and then start to think about a solution as then it will be most likely too late to do anything. Sure, with fans starting to fail in a month or just a couple of months since purchase of a new GPU you can get a warranty replacement, but when used for mining this means downtime and the newly replaced card can start showing problems soon as well… imagine if you have tens or hundreds of Gigabyte Windforce, Gigabyte Gaming and even some Gigabyte Aorus cards that do come equipped with the cheap sleeve bearing Windforce fans.

The metal bushing used by the Gigabyte Windforce fans is 2x5x5.5mm in size (2mm inside diameter, 5mm outside diameter and 5.5mm height) and you can easily find the right size of ball bearings for these sizes. You will need two 2x5x2.5mm bearings as well as a single spacer with at least 2mm inside diameter and 5mm outside that has a thickness of 0.3-0.5mm that you need to place between the two bearings. If you do that you will get a perfect replacement of the standard metal bushing essentially upgrading the fan to dual ball bearing one and getting it to be like a brand new one or even better. The dual ball bearing upgrade will make it more durable and resistant do higher operating temperatures and dust and you will have more problem free time for mining without issues with the fans. The only drawback is that the upgrade procedure can or will void your warranty, unless of course you do the procedure carefully and save the metal bushings to reinsert them back should you need to return the video card for replacement due to an issue with the board itself and not the fans.

It has been almost 3 months since we first got our hands on the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G Mining GPU based on the Nvidia GP106-100 (a miner oriented variation of the consumer GeForce GTX 1060). Our first impressions from the mining version that Gigabyte has offered on the market weren’t that good on a few things and one of these being the use of sleeve bearing instead of ball bearings for the fans. Previously we’ve had bad experience with Gigabyte Windforce fans using sleeve bearings for not being very dust resistant and durable for mining use and starting to degrade in terms of cooling performance and even fail. We wanted to try out the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G fans and since these cards are being sold with just 3 months warranty we had to check the situation with the fans a bit before the warranty expires…

We have purposely left the Gigabyte NP106D5-6G running for almost three months in not that great conditions for mining, without cleaning the dust getting accumulated and with the GPU running a bit hotter than we consider optimal at around 50 degrees Celsius. Of course we did not use extreme conditions here like a very dusty environment and high temperature, even though some people do run miners in such conditions and not care about the possible problems they can have with the hardware running 24/7 for long period of time under heavy load. The good news is that even though there have been a bit of dust buildup on the whole video card, the fans did not show any sign of degrading in terms of cooling performance. So the good news is that they will not fail before the warranty of 3 months will run out (most likely), good job Gigabyte, but since these are mining GPUs they will need to work much more than just 3 months. We actually had issues with some Gigabyte fans on some AMD Radeon RX 400/500 series starting to have issues in just about 3-4 weeks, though most usually do continue working fine for longer periods of time.

However we have seen some signs that are giving up early warnings that in 3rd to 6th month of operation if the fans are not maintained they could start degrading and ultimately failing at some point after that. There was almost no dust particles found inside the sleeve bearing after disassembling the fans to check them, however the lubricant that was plentiful when the GPU was brand new was almost completely evaporated in a bit less than just 3 months of use. Once the lubricant evaporates the performance of the fan starts degrading and things can start failing once the sleeve bearing starts to get damaged and clogged with dust. This is precisely why sleeve bearing fans are not that good for mining, so if you have video cards that you use for mining that have sleeve bearings you need to take more care for them. They need to be cleaned from dust more often and it is a good idea to lubricate them every few months in order to extend their life. This is especially important for mining video cards with limited warranty where you cannot just replace a card because of a failed fan after the 3 months warranty of these GPUs passes.

Our advice is to go for GPUs with ball bearing fans when possible when you are building mining rigs and not for ones with sleeve bearings. Ball bearing fans do tend to have larger life and be more durable especially under higher operating temperatures when compared to sleeve bearings. The higher the operating temperature, the lower the reliability and durability of the sleeve bearing fans will be and we all know that with mining we have constantly higher operating temperatures. In both cases however regular maintenance can and will help you get longer life of the fans without trouble. If you are already past the point of having sleeve bearing fans operate at their best or they are even starting to fail, then you might want to check our guide on how to repair non-serviceable GPU fans. In it we cover how to disassemble sleeve bearing fans and remove the metal bushing and replace it with ball bearings in order to bring back to life and extend the operating time of the fans (if it is not too late to revive them). The whole problem with ball bearing fans is that they are just more expensive than sleeve bearings and yet even on high-end and very expensive GPUs we can still find companies using sleeve bearings for their fans, so what is left for cheaper ones and especially models where the manufacturer is looking to save on costs like with some of the mining GPUs.


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