Question Fan running slow and loud, unclear how to replace

Lunchboxxz

Honorable
Jan 16, 2016
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10,510
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One of my front case fans has started to run slow and loud. Slow enough I can safely stop it with my finger, and it makes a sort of grinding noise, and the front of the fan is considerably warm to the touch, not scalding hot but noticeably warmer than the other fan running normally. The same fan has done this randomly for probably a year plus (it's about 3 years old), and in the past I could restart my pc to restart the fan and fix the problem, but in the last few days it has become persistent. I assume it's just the bearing going bad or something because it's old.

I have an issue with trying to replace it though. I'm on a prebuilt ibuypower rig. The wires from the front fans run behind the motherboard and I can't trace where they go. I ran bios and only the pump and cpu fan show up, so that means the front fans must be connected to the PSU? However I removed the psu and the construction of the case seems to be such that I have no access to where ever these fans are connected. Any insight on replacement would be appreciated, but I've sent an e-mail to ibuypower with my specs hoping that they can tell me how to go about replacing the fan.

In the short-term though, this fan noise is really annoying. Any way I can safely turn the fan off without disconnecting it? I considered just sticking a toothpick or something between the blades, but not sure if that will cause the PSU to send extra voltage to the fan or something like that. I also considered just cutting the fan wire and wrapping it in electrical tape till I can replace it, but without seeing the other ends of the wires I'm afraid both the front fans might run off the same wire, and cutting it could cause them both to fail.

I'm not worried about cooling for the record. Never had a problem with it before, and as long as this fan isn't working properly I'm leaving the side/front panels off the case.

I don't know a ton about hardware, so any help is appreciated! I can post pictures of the inside of the case if that might help. Thanks in advance.

EDIT: Included images of inside of case; the bottom fan in the pair is the one in question, as you can hopefully see the wires disappear behind the motherboard and I can't trace them. That hanging wire in the front is for the LED in the faceplate, which is currently removed to get at the fan.

As far as specs go, most of the relevant information I have for the actual build and layout of the case is from the original e-mail I received when I ordered the pc. Most of it is generic info but hopefully it will be of some use.

CaseiBUYPOWER Case Builder - Create Your Build-
Motherboard DisplayGeneral-
iBUYPOWER Elite Build PackageNone-
Front PanelSteel Front Panel CB008-
Case FansDefault Case Fan-
Case LightingNone-
Side Panel - Component SideSteel Panel with Airflow Vent-
Side Panel - Non Component SideSteel Panel with Airflow Vent-
iBUYPOWER Labs - Noise ReductionNone-
iBUYPOWER Labs - Internal ExpansionNone-
ProcessorIntel® Core™ i5-9600K Processor (6x 3.70GHz/9MB L3 Cache)-
FeetBasic Feet-
HandlesNo Handle-
Fans: How Many?3-
iBUYPOWER PowerDriveNone-
Processor CoolingiBUYPOWER 120mm Addressable RGB Liquid Cooling System - Black-Free Upgrade to iBUYPOWER 240mm Fan (Black) [Z370]
Liquid Coolant ColorNone-
Memory16 GB [8 GB x2] DDR4-3200 Memory Module-Certified Major Brand Gaming Memory Free Upgrade to XPG D41 RGB Memory
Video CardNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 - 6GB (VR-Ready)-
SLI BridgeNone-
MotherboardASUS PRIME Z390-P -- Realtek LAN, USB 3.1 (6 Rear, 4 Front), ASUS 5X Protection III-
Power Supply600 Watt - Thermaltake Smart Series - 80 PLUS Gold-
Advance Cabling OptionsStandard Default Cables-
M.2/PCI-E SSD CardNone-
Intel Optane Memory AcceleratorNone-
Primary Hard Drive2 TB Hard Drive -- 64MB Cache, 7200RPM, 6.0Gb/s-Single Drive
Data Hard DriveNone-
Optical DriveNone-
Media Card Reader / WriterNone-
Meter DisplayNone-
Sound Card3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard-
Network CardOnboard LAN Network (Gb or 10/100)-
USB Expansion CardNone-
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home + Office 365 Trial [FREE 30 Day Trial]-(64-bit)
 
Last edited:

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Are you able to remove the side panel to see "behind" the motherboard? As I understand your post it appears not but hopefully there is a way.

Perhaps someone familiar with the case will provide some applicable guidance or suggestions. Double check the case manual if you have it or can find the instructions online.

I found the following link but the link does not directly address the side panels. Perhaps the photos will help you figure something out with regards to the fan connections and cable routing.

https://www.ibuypower.com/blog/pc-building/how-to-build-a-gaming-pc/

= = = =

This motherboard? [Verify that the link is correct.]

https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/LGA1151/PRIME_Z390-P/E15011_PRIME_Z390-P_UM_v3_web.pdf

Review the entire manual but first take a look at physically numbered Page 1-21 regarding CPU, AIO, and chassis fan connectors.

Try to diagram or otherwise sketch out the fan and cooler connections currently in place. Determine how the fans are connected and check the wiring path for the non-working fan. Could be a splitter somewhere.

Side question: Is that WD Blue SSD 500 GB sitting directly on the PSU or perhaps just raised up a bit? Wondering about the heat in that area....
 
Reactions: Lunchboxxz

Lunchboxxz

Honorable
Jan 16, 2016
9
0
10,510
0
Are you able to remove the side panel to see "behind" the motherboard? As I understand your post it appears not but hopefully there is a way.

Perhaps someone familiar with the case will provide some applicable guidance or suggestions. Double check the case manual if you have it or can find the instructions online.

I found the following link but the link does not directly address the side panels. Perhaps the photos will help you figure something out with regards to the fan connections and cable routing.

https://www.ibuypower.com/blog/pc-building/how-to-build-a-gaming-pc/

= = = =

This motherboard? [Verify that the link is correct.]

https://dlcdnets.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/LGA1151/PRIME_Z390-P/E15011_PRIME_Z390-P_UM_v3_web.pdf

Review the entire manual but first take a look at physically numbered Page 1-21 regarding CPU, AIO, and chassis fan connectors.

Try to diagram or otherwise sketch out the fan and cooler connections currently in place. Determine how the fans are connected and check the wiring path for the non-working fan. Could be a splitter somewhere.

Side question: Is that WD Blue SSD 500 GB sitting directly on the PSU or perhaps just raised up a bit? Wondering about the heat in that area....
Holy cow I got it. I had somehow overlooked two big screws on the backside of the case that remove that side panel, which contains a huge bundle of wires. From there I easily found the cable for the bad fan and disconnected it. Problem solved. The fan wire ends in a plug which fits into a female slot on another wire that looks to run to the PSU; I assume it's fine to let these plugs dangle until I can replace the fan?

Slightly embarrassed that it was so simple yet it took me so long to figure out, but thanks a lot for the comment that jarred my brain :sweatsmile:

About the SSD: it sits close to the PSU but not directly on it. I'd say it's at least a half inch above and to the side of the PSU. The casing that hides the PSU has never been more than slightly warm to the touch in my experience.


Another side note though. Your post made me realize that my motherboard is not the one listed in those specs I posted (lol). The listing from ibuypower says it has a asus z390, but it's actually a msi z370? Not sure how different (if at all) those MBs are, I've just discovered this interesting tidbit myself.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Nicely done.

As for the dangling cable - probably okay but I, myself would secure it in some manner just as a matter of practice. Key is to not "over secure" the cable to the point where freeing it up again becomes a problem - no crimping down with a tight zip tie for example.

Unfortunately things such as the motherboard "change" happen too often. That is one good reason for obtaining and keeping any system documentation. And then updating the documentation as necessary when changes occur. We live in a busy world and with multiple devices things (hardware, drivers, configurations, etc.) can get a bit mixed up and confused. And manufacturers are not always quite "up-to -date" with publishing and documenting changes.

I like BelArc Advisor (free version) for a nice summary of my systems. Powershell has a number of Get cmdlets that also can be very telling about both the system and its configuration.

Open Powershell as Admin and run Get-PNPDevice as an example.
 

Paperdoc

Champion
Ambassador
I am WORRIED! The photo that shows for me in your first post shows a red fan mounted on a RADIATOR of an AIO cooling system for the CPU! If that really is the noisy fan you are describing, you can NOT disconnect that and keep running! The CPU will have NO cooling and overheat. If you are lucky when that happens, Windows will throttle your CPU drastically to prevent permanent damage to that critical chip.

If that is your problem fan, you MUST replace it immediately!
 

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