Noisy northbridge fan

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Hello  in February i bought a MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum motherboard from It has been fine except for the last few days. The Northbridge
fan sounds like an angry wasp. It is ok past 5000 rpm, but is usually
around 3500rpm and sounds awful. It is audible when i use Teamspeak for
gaming, so is a real nuisance.

I have turned on the cool and quiet function on the mobo and use the
windows software for it, but it doesn't make any diffence.

I had a noisy fan on a MSI board before, but it was quite old and i put
oil in. This board is only a few months old, and I don't want to
invalidate the warranty by messing with it. SHould I just send it back?
I have tried cleaning it with compressed air but it makes no difference :(
Thanks for your help.

Re: Noisy northbridge fan

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1) Get a Molex to three pin power adapter. Keep the fan at the full
   12V, and thus the full 5000 RPM.

2) Get a Swiftech Northbridge cooler. This is supposed to be the
   best that money can buy. It is tall, and might block some slots.

3) Contact MSI Tech Support. Perhaps they have a replacement program
   in place. Asus for example, will send out replacement coolers,
   in exchange for the user reporting the serial number. Maybe MSI
   knows there is a problem with the fan and also has a replacement
   waiting for you.


Re: Noisy northbridge fan

Northbridge fans don't last, like the video cards with little fans.
determine how your heatsink is held to the mb and get a bigger passive
(non-fan). If it is still not enough for cooling go for bigger cpu cooling
and keep the passive nb sink.Surprising to know they are still out there
with a fan on them... I learned 7 years ago, that design was not going to
last.Fixing the fan is feeding the problem, fixing the problem is scrapping
the little fan.

"Same stuff different day..."

I am currently running an msi hot board ,and big cpu with passive
northbridge. The least they could have done by now...
Coincidentally bought in February... no problems at all with fans as thier
are no small ones anywhere in the system.
Good Luck, dishing out another 50 bucks for flawless cooling is usually no
regret if product is learned first.

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Re: Noisy northbridge fan

On Wed, 07 Jun 2006 17:04:46 +0100, "S.Boardman"

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We can't really decide that... what's the time spent, worth?
We dont' know if you can do without the system for possibly
several weeks... the time from sending off an RMA part to
receipt of the replacement can vary a lot but tends to be at
least 2-3 weeks, then there's the shipping cost which is
just about the same as buying a replacement fan or fan/sink

... or did you mean returning/exchanging it at the place of
purchase?  You might try that, though it would be expected
that with exact same replacement board you will again have
same problem in roughly same # of months' time.  IMO, better
to find a replacement fan, fan/sink, or first relube that
one if a sleeve-bearing model.  If it had a ball bearing it
could get quite loud if you use "oil" to lube it, that can
cause the balls and races to have more play and rattle

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Passive northbridge 'sinks are nice when they fit, you might
examine the free space to determine this, and whether there
is a reasonable amount of passive airflow around the area.

Re: Noisy northbridge fan

S.Boardman wrote:
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thanks for the replies. I think i will have a problem with the
replacement heatsink fan because it will block the graphics card :(

I have looked on MSI forums and can't see a mention of any other
northbridge problems. I really can't do without my pc for  2 -3 weeks.

SO i am looking at getting the fan to run 5000-6000rpm all the time. If
i turn off 'cool and quiet' will it then run full speed? I have a Antec
TruePower 430 PSU which has a lead marked fan only... would that work
with the northbridge connecter?


Re: Noisy northbridge fan

On Thu, 08 Jun 2006 09:51:34 +0100, "S.Boardman"

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IIRC, the Antec fan lead is to reduce fan speed with temp,
it would be the opposite of what you wanted... but, are you
really sure you want the fan to run at 5000-6000 RPM?
Typically a fan starts making  noise when it's bearings are
at least dry, if not progressively wearing out.  Running the
fan at full speed may end up accelerating it's wear, it may
be only a short term solution.

If you can't get it replaced quickly through the source you
bought it from, and don't want to wait multiple weeks, you
might consider going ahead and lubing it, IF it is a sleeve
bearing fan.

I don't know the exact clearance your system has but there
may be other 'sinks that fit.  You might instead be able to
buy another fan (only), replacing the current fan.  If the
current fan is recessed into the 'sink, you'd have to
determine if it has the tiny screws mounting it to the
bottom of the sink, behind the blades, or if it is mounted
in the four corners.  If mounted in the corners, you may be
able to get a fan with same diameter and still mount it,
even if it is a full frame fan that had to sit above the
'sink fins instead of recessed down inside them... but again
I can't know what clearance you have to do this.

There are more creative ways to solve the problem.  Buy the
large passive heatsink then saw off the fin area that
interferes with the adjacent parts.  Next smooth the rough
saw cut a little with a file or sandpaper.  It's not hard to
do if you have some basic tools like a hacksaw and a vise to
hold it... or if you don't, you may know someone that does.

Re: Noisy northbridge fan

kony wrote:
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I am waiting to see if MSI have replacements.

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How do i know which it is though?

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OK I'll have a look at it, thanks for your help, you and Paul. I hate
Northbridge fans, lol, I should have looked for a mobo with none lol

Re: Noisy northbridge fan

On Fri, 09 Jun 2006 12:19:26 +0100, "S.Boardman"

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The label over the bearingway may tell you, or there might
be a model # on it you can Google search, or as a last
resort you peel back the label to see which it is.  Ball
bearing has the (in this case very...) tiny ball bearing
itself inside, silver metallic colored.  Sleeve bearing type
might have a large plastic washer first but then a bronze
colored bearing.  Sleeve bearing types almost always have a
rubber plug on the end under the label too, but occasionally
a ball-bearing fan might.

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I kinda like them, but not the ones that come with boards,
rather than ones I put on instead... made out of old socket
7 or 370 heatsinks with thicker lower RPM fans.  It's a
shame the motherboard manufacturers can't get something as
simple as a fan right, instead taking three opposite
extremes- passive which only works well in moderate
environments and limited overclocking, fan that is small,
loud and short lived, or giant and expensive heatpipes.

Re: Noisy northbridge fan

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According to the manual:

  "CPUFAN1 supports fan control. You can install Core Center utility
   that will automatically control the CPU fan speed according to
   the actual CPU temperature."

There is no mention of the NBFAN1 being controlled by Core Center.
If that is the case, it could be that the problem with the bearing
of the fan, is what causes it to run around 3500RPM, and not a
voltage change. If this was my motherboard, I'd get out a voltmeter
and check that there was a constant 12V on the center pin of the
fan header. You have to be very careful doing stuff like that, because
of the danger of shorting something and burning a track in the
motherboard. (I have sewing needles on the leads of my multimeter,
so I can pierce the wires on the fan itself and make a measurement
if necessary.)

So, even if you go to the trouble of setting up a known source of
plain ordinary 12V, there is no way of knowing in advance, if
the fan will stay at 5000RPM+.

This is an example of a Molex disk drive to three pin fan
cable. You could visit a local computer store and look for one
like this. The two wires carry +12V and GND to two pins on the

The fanciest version of those cables, consists of two four pin and
two three pin connectors. One four pin Molex is male and the other
four pin Molex is female. That configuration allows you to "daisy
chain" more than one of those things, onto a disk drive power
cable. Of the three pin fan connectors, one is a three pin female
with one wire on it - that connects to the motherboard, and
allows the RPM signal to go to the motherboard. The other three
pin fan connector is a male, and that goes to the fan itself.
Two wires on that connector, are +12V and GND, and that power comes
from the four pin Molex. The RPM wire runs from the three pin
male fan connector, to the three pin female, and is how the
RPM signal gets from the fan, back to the motherboard.

So, visit a local computer store, and have a look in their "cable
rack", to see what they got. In one case, I bought a fan from my
local store, and the fan itself was terrible. But the fan did
happen to include one of those fancy power cables in the box, and
even though I cannot use the fan itself, the cables worked out


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