Question Issue w/ MSI Laptop's CPU Fan

Ellowas

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Aug 26, 2020
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Hi,

I'm experiencing yet another issue with a CPU fan from yet... another MSI laptop.

The fan makes strange pulsing sounds like its a motor being turned off and on, and it will occasionally or rarely make clicking sounds. In MSI's Dragon Center, it's also being shown that the CPU's RPM will repeatedly escalate to 500-1,000 then deescalate to 0.

I turned the laptop off and opened it up to feel the fan, and nothing felt off about it and its screws unlike the last MSI laptop I had whose fan seemed lopsided or too close to its casing, so I turned it on to see what could possibly be the problem and this is what is happening (hopefully the sound can be heard in this video):


Why did this start happening? Is there anything I can do to fix it that doesn't involve replacing the entire fan?

I know for certain that I won't be purchasing another MSI product—literally twice this happened with two different MSI products' CPU fans.
 
Last edited:

Paperdoc

Polypheme
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The NORMAL operation of a fan involves monitoring the fan speed signal for failure - that is, it stops turning and sending a speed signal. If that happens, the first reaction of your system would be to change the fan speed control signal to call for full speed to ensure it DOES re-start. If it does not, then you would get a fan failure warning screen and possibly a system shut-down to prevent overheating. But if the fan does re-start, then its speed signals would be set back to what it was before. If that is too slow, the fan will stall again and the cycle repeats.

What can cause this? Two things. IF the fan is old and worn, it may stall because of bearing friction even if the speed control signal sent to it is what would have been adequate when the fan was new. OR, the fan control system has been set to a minimum speed (for lowest temperatures and workload) that really is too slow, allowing the fan to stall. For this you may be able to re-adjust the fan control system to increase the minimum speed it is told to run at the lowest temperatures. See if you can make such a change in BIOS Setup for the fan.
 
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Ellowas

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Aug 26, 2020
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The NORMAL operation of a fan involves monitoring the fan speed signal for failure - that is, it stops turning and sending a speed signal. If that happens, the first reaction of your system would be to change the fan speed control signal to call for full speed to ensure it DOES re-start. If it does not, then you would get a fan failure warning screen and possibly a system shut-down to prevent overheating. But if the fan does re-start, then its speed signals would be set back to what it was before. If that is too slow, the fan will stall again and the cycle repeats.

What can cause this? Two things. IF the fan is old and worn, it may stall because of bearing friction even if the speed control signal sent to it is what would have been adequate when the fan was new. OR, the fan control system has been set to a minimum speed (for lowest temperatures and workload) that really is too slow, allowing the fan to stall. For this you may be able to re-adjust the fan control system to increase the minimum speed it is told to run at the lowest temperatures. See if you can make such a change in BIOS Setup for the fan.
Is the first part of your message what my fan is doing? A rapid endless cycle of fan speed readjustment? So far, I haven't received any warnings about fan failure, and my system has yet to abruptly shut down; however, my idle CPU temperature is 85⁰-90⁰ C as the fan continues doing as shown above—unless I hit that button on the left side of my laptop's power button which turns on what I believe is my GPU fan on the left side facing down at 6,000-6,500 RPM to cool my PC down to 70⁰-75⁰ C.

I've had this laptop for few years, so I think it could be age; it just seems to happen too soon—for both MSI laptops, but what category in the BIOS would those fan settings be under and what minimum temperature would you recommend?

E - I don't know if I was looking in the right categories within my laptop's BIOS, but this is what I found so far:
  • Thermal Configuration
    • Platform Thermal Configuration
  • CPU Configuration
    • CPU Thermal Configuration
  • PCH-IO Configuration
    • PCH Thermal Throttling Control
Also, a little update that it stopped the stopping and going motor-like sound to that of a more horrible and audible motor quickly ramping up and down whilst scraping against something:

 
Last edited:

Paperdoc

Polypheme
Ambassador
Yes, what I described does match what your fan is doing. Because the fan always DOES re-start after stalling, there is no fan failure warning.

Your last update MAY have an ominous warning. When a fan gets older its bearings wear to the point that they have too much clearance in them especially when the system is cold. So when it starts up it makes a lot of noise as the bearings "rattle" until they heat up, and then the fan goes quiet. The noise only comes back when the system has been shut down and it cools off. As more wear happens, the period of start-up noise gets longer until it never stops. Eventually the fan seizes completely. In the meanitme, frictional forces in the worn bearings may slow the fan down so that it stalls more easily. All together, these signs suggest you may need to replace that fan before it does fail.
 
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Ellowas

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Yes, what I described does match what your fan is doing. Because the fan always DOES re-start after stalling, there is no fan failure warning.

Your last update MAY have an ominous warning. When a fan gets older its bearings wear to the point that they have too much clearance in them especially when the system is cold. So when it starts up it makes a lot of noise as the bearings "rattle" until they heat up, and then the fan goes quiet. The noise only comes back when the system has been shut down and it cools off. As more wear happens, the period of start-up noise gets longer until it never stops. Eventually the fan seizes completely. In the meanitme, frictional forces in the worn bearings may slow the fan down so that it stalls more easily. All together, these signs suggest you may need to replace that fan before it does fail.
I think the video I shared matches exactly what you explained, and replacing the fan (or the laptop) seems to sadly be my best course of action.

Thanks for your assistance; it's very much appreciated.
 

Ellowas

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Aug 26, 2020
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I have one more question about my MSI laptop's CPU fan—if anyone doesn't mind answering.

How do I permanently turn it off?

I am going to let my laptop's GPU fan take over its job and buy a cooling pad to set under my laptop until I am able to replace it entirely.
 

Paperdoc

Polypheme
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I doubt you can turn it off. Even if they allow you some control over the fan in BIOS Setup, most systems do NOT allow the main fan to be turned off completely because that deprives the entire system of cooling. I am not at all sure that the extra fan for GPU coolng can do the ENTIRE job, although I do understand that adding a cooling pad will help.
 

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