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On an Atom-based Gigabyte GA-GC230D motherboard, after plugging some RAM, connecting a 90W PicoPSU and hitting the power switch, the fan on the 945GC chip starts spinning for a second... then stops.

I didn't connect any peripheral to make sure it was not due to lack of power.

I tried using a regular PSU, same issue.

Has someone seen this kind of problem on a motherboard, and would you have an idea where this might come from?

Thank you for any hint.

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This could be "by design". Does the machine start as far as being able to get into the BIOS settings and see the health monitor readings (temperatures and such)? It could just be that the fan turns off as things are cool enough to allow it to, conserving power, and it'll turn back on later if needed. If you can get to the BIOS you should be able to see the current temperature of key areas. If they are low, all is well. If they are 0 then there may be a problem with a sensor. If they are too high then the fan should be on.

As a fail-safe fans default to being on, and at full speed, on power-up and remain so until explicitly told (by the BIOS or the OS) to be off or running slower. You should hear a rack full of 1U servers if they all power on at the same time - all those little high-speed fans creates quite a din for the first 30 seconds or so.

My Atom based netbook almost never turns its fan on, unless I'm in a hot room and/or ask it to run the CPU at full tilt for a few minutes, except for the few seconds after powering on.

Obviously, for safeties sake, make sure this is supposed to happen with your setup before leaving it running without fan for more than several seconds.

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Thanks David for the help. After more googling, I happened on a post by a user who had the same issue... after replacing the PSU. Turns out that I needed to flush the CMOS by unplugging the power cord, removing the battery for a minute, putting everything back together, and entering the BIOS to choose "Load optimized defaults" so the CPU fan wouldn't run at full speed. – OverTheRainbow Dec 24 '09 at 11:01

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