Temperature and fan control?


When running under Linux, what part of the system is supposed to be responsible for temperature management and fan control?

I’m asking this question because with a nice working install of 64-bit Ubuntu Linux, CUDA and any 64-bit driver up to and including 180.22, I get no fan management. When the machine boots up, the GPU fan is at 40% speed according to nvclock. The fan speed stays constant no matter what I run on the card.

When I run nvclock, and request automatic fan control, it seems to adjust the fan speed once, according to the temperature at that precise moment. So when I run batches of stuff, the card heats up but the fan doesn’t respond.

To counter this, I tried slapping together a nasty little fan management daemon, using Ruby and the “daemonize” library. This calls the “auto” fan function in NVClock every 10 seconds. It’s a pretty bad solution but it looks like it works OK.

It doesn’t seem like the state of affairs I’d expect to see … how is this SUPPOSED to work? Is it unreasonable to expect the driver to manage the fans?

“nvclock” is not NVIDIA software.

The thing is that the NVIDIA software doesn’t do temperature / fan management. Hence I have had to resort to using non-NVIDIA software to do this. And also the question:

How is this SUPPOSED to work? Is it unreasonable to expect the driver to manage the fans?

What does the card heat up to while it’s still at 40% fan? Also, what GPU is this?

Thanks for the replies, guys. I’ll try not to be too melodramatic.

It’s a GTX 280. I got it up to 70° C just now, in maybe 10 minutes, maybe less. I was running a program that sleeps the GPU maybe 50% of the time, in alternating 10ms intervals, so I’d like to try one of the hotter-running sample projects.

How do those numbers look?

Edit – 75 core, 58 ambient, after 10 minutes of Mandelbrot. Any particular tests you’d like me to try?

Edit 2 – 80 core, 62 ambient, after ~15 minutes of postProcessGL and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars in a window.

How about you other ppl on the forum? How hot do your GTX 2x0 cards get, and do you hear the fan adjust?

The nvidia kernel module is responsible for managing fan speed.

Thanks for the info … so, can I conclude that something is wrong with my setup or config? Are these temperatures as high as I think? Any ideas for things to try?

If you run nvidia-settings, you’ll be able to see what the card & driver believe are the acceptable safe limits for the temperature. I don’t think that the numbers you’re reporting are excessive. If the fan never spins up to a higher speed (than the default) as you approach the upper safe limit, then that would be cause for concern. Definitely if the fan cannot bring the temperature back into a safe range, that would be a problem. Artificially spinning up the fan with nvclock is likely to just reduce the life of the fan if its running at a higher rate more often than is needed.

Thank you very much for the reply.

As these cards are running quite a bit hotter, in terms of absolute temperature, than other components these days, it is kind of a leap of faith to trust that the fan should stay so quiet … I’m not disputing the OK-ness of the temperatures, just stating my impressions. It would be very useful - and would give peace of mind - to see the range of OK temperature readings and the expected and OK behavior of the fans. Somewhere on a spec page on nvidia.com or something. An explicit listing of this would probably eliminate misunderstandings like mine, and aid in configuring and managing the system. I was a bit worried actually :)