[SOLVED] My Graphics Card is running loud and smells burnt.

Aug 6, 2020
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Just over a year ago, I bought a Zotac GTX 960 4gig version for a good deal and worked like a charm till later this week. I heard loud noises and immediately thought it was the CPU stock heatsink (which I had an earlier issue with and got replaced) but no, the graphics card fans were producing a loud noise and I could smell a burning plastic like smell. Honestly I never cleaned the GPU as much as I did the other components because I was too scared of ruining the card in whatever way. So it is clogged with dust to an extent.
Also the card still worked fine with no display issues minus the noise with 65°C being the max at gameplay (on WWE 2k20, as I wasn't confident on testing it on much demanding games)
I want a simple solution... Would cleaning the GPU help as in will it fix my problems thereafter, is there a GPU fan problem or is the smell indicating the card being fried or something?
 

puw2

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Sep 25, 2017
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Just over a year ago, I bought a Zotac GTX 960 4gig version for a good deal and worked like a charm till later this week. I heard loud noises and immediately thought it was the CPU stock heatsink (which I had an earlier issue with and got replaced) but no, the graphics card fans were producing a loud noise and I could smell a burning plastic like smell. Honestly I never cleaned the GPU as much as I did the other components because I was too scared of ruining the card in whatever way. So it is clogged with dust to an extent.
Also the card still worked fine with no display issues minus the noise with 65°C being the max at gameplay (on WWE 2k20, as I wasn't confident on testing it on much demanding games)
I want a simple solution... Would cleaning the GPU help as in will it fix my problems thereafter, is there a GPU fan problem or is the smell indicating the card being fried or something?
The burnt smell you were smelling was probably the dust that was burning off due to major overheating.

Dust off your gpu and maybe even replace the thermal paste.
 
Reactions: ViHAA

puw2

Respectable
Sep 25, 2017
484
100
1,990
44
Just over a year ago, I bought a Zotac GTX 960 4gig version for a good deal and worked like a charm till later this week. I heard loud noises and immediately thought it was the CPU stock heatsink (which I had an earlier issue with and got replaced) but no, the graphics card fans were producing a loud noise and I could smell a burning plastic like smell. Honestly I never cleaned the GPU as much as I did the other components because I was too scared of ruining the card in whatever way. So it is clogged with dust to an extent.
Also the card still worked fine with no display issues minus the noise with 65°C being the max at gameplay (on WWE 2k20, as I wasn't confident on testing it on much demanding games)
I want a simple solution... Would cleaning the GPU help as in will it fix my problems thereafter, is there a GPU fan problem or is the smell indicating the card being fried or something?
The burnt smell you were smelling was probably the dust that was burning off due to major overheating.

Dust off your gpu and maybe even replace the thermal paste.
 
Reactions: ViHAA
Aug 6, 2020
4
1
15
0
The burnt smell you were smelling was probably the dust that was burning off due to major overheating.

Dust off your gpu and maybe even replace the thermal paste.
Oh thanks, that was my initial guess. I thought the smell was a serious indication that my GPU is done for. I'll try to clean it up and reply back.

Edit: Would replacing thermals and removing the fans or whatnot void my warranty?
 

puw2

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Sep 25, 2017
484
100
1,990
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Oh thanks, that was my initial guess. I thought the smell was a serious indication that my GPU is done for. I'll try to clean it up and reply back.

Edit: Would replacing thermals and removing the fans or whatnot void my warranty?
Does your 960 still have a warranty on it? Lets assume it has in which case it is very much dependant on where you live. In europe the warranty void seals dont mean anything and wont actually void your warranty.

Only if the card breaks when you are putting it apart you'll void your warranty (i doubt it will)
 
Reactions: ViHAA
Aug 6, 2020
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It's just a 2 year warranty that my local retailer has given for anything bought from the shop (fyi I live in Sri Lanka so the risk is not worth as GPUs are pretty expensive here)

Only if the card breaks when you are putting it apart you'll void your warranty (i doubt it will)
What I'm afraid of is that, since I'm an amateur in PC building a mistake could cost a fortune. So, the best case scenario for me is to either let them work around my problem or to replace it with another or hopefully an upgrade by throwing a few bucks extra.
Eitherway I want to be sure that this issue is due to a fan error or else I might not be able to afford another card, let alone a card that is quite equivalent to a 960 for a while.
 

puw2

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Sep 25, 2017
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It's just a 2 year warranty that my local retailer has given for anything bought from the shop (fyi I live in Sri Lanka so the risk is not worth as GPUs are pretty expensive here)



What I'm afraid of is that, since I'm an amateur in PC building a mistake could cost a fortune. So, the best case scenario for me is to either let them work around my problem or to replace it with another or hopefully an upgrade by throwing a few bucks extra.
Eitherway I want to be sure that this issue is due to a fan error or else I might not be able to afford another card, let alone a card that is quite equivalent to a 960 for a while.
Then just dust it off i bet that'll help the situation dramatically. Chaning thermal paste would be a last resort so to speak and just so you know, replacing gpu's thermalpaste is not as hard and dangerous as it might seem.
 
Reactions: ViHAA
Aug 6, 2020
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Yep, that did the trick. Somehow managed to replace the thermal and the card runs cooler now... Also cleaning the dust made no smell afterwards.
I noted that the card ran loud because one of my fans wasn't spinning properly, it is slightly slanted, I don't know how but I could get a replacement if the noise increase again.
No matter what, cleaning the card is the solution, I will be careful of the components hereonwards.
Thanks for the major help :)
 
Reactions: puw2
Aug 10, 2020
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There are aftermarket fan and heatsink kits online for people who want more cooling like to overclock their MB or GPU.
Perhaps download a new version of nosmoke.sys.
 

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