Understand The Background Of Case Fans Now

You are about to build a new PC or you’re just upgrading your system and you are wondering whether it is a good idea to add some extra case fans. Do you really need case fans and are they worth your money? A short answer to this question would be YES.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about case fans.

Case fan 1

Are Case Fans necessary?

Whether they’re stock or custom fans, you need at least 2 or 3 of them.

The purpose of case fans is to organize the correct cooling of your entire computer. The main task of a fan is to blow the extra heat out of your computer so your components remain as cool as possible. 

Are stock case fans good enough?

Stock fans have 3 pins and in most cases they underperform compared to the 4-pin custom fans that give better performance, but nothing significant.

They provide enough airflow for PCs that don’t have their CPUs overclocked.

For a general example, if you are using Ryzen 7 or Intel i7, then you would be better off with 4-pin case fans to keep your CPU slightly cooler. 

3-pin vs 4-pin case fans

Most computer case fans are connected through 3-pin, 4-pin, and Molex type of connectors. 

4-pin is the best type of connection. It connects to your motherboard’s 4-pin connector and you can control the fan speed depending on the temperature. 

3-pin fans also connect to your motherboard’s 4-pin connector but only 3 pins will be used. You can change the speed of them by changing the voltage but it is not necessary as it won’t really have much effect so it is not used in common practice. 

Molex fans don’t connect to the motherboard, but they are connected directly into your power supply and they will work without you adjusting their speed. 

So, it would be best if you can use a 4-pin case fan, but be aware that they cost more so it depends if you have spare money in your budget. If you can’t afford it, then just go will 3-pin case fans and it will be just fine. 

How many case fans do You need?

Usually, you either get 2 or 3 stock fans depending on the case.

The most fans you can have is 5 – two on the front, one on the back, and two at the top.

The biggest difference in temperatures starts to show when you have 1 case fan in the front and 1 in the back. After that, any additional fans will bring down the temperature by 1 or 2 degrees celsius. So to answer that, 2 fans are enough for a decent temperature, but if you are overclocking your CPU or if you live in a hot environment or have extra money to spend, then you can also fill the case with the other 3 to squeeze in those extra few degrees to keep your system as cool as possible.

Do you need a case fan if you have a CPU cooler?

PC case fan

Yes. You need at least 2 of them.

Although both case fans and CPU coolers have the same purpose, they do not perform the same tasks.

CPU coolers drag away the heat produced by the processor, and the case fans circulate and take out the warm air outside the case.

No matter if you have a stock or custom CPU cooler you still need case fans.

How long do case fans last?

It cannot be exactly determined since there are fans that last for 10 years or even more, but there are also fans that have died after usage of 2-3 years.

The more often you clean them from dust and the less the computer runs, they will then obviously last longer. The quality of a fan also comes into play.

Case fans should last for at least 3 years, but most likely less than that if they are not being dusted and if the computer is running in a hot environment. 

However, case fans are pretty cheap and they are fairly easy to replace in case something happens, so you should not worry too much unless your whole computer was pre-built and is under warranty. 

Do case fans make a difference?

Case fans make a huge difference, but up to a certain point.

After more than 2 case fans, the temperatures are not decreased more than 1-2 degrees celsius with each additional fan added, unlike the first two, which make a 15-30 degree difference (depending on your CPU and GPU).

With that said, if you are building a new computer, definitely make sure that you have at least two case fans that will make your machine breathe slightly easier.

Do I need an extra case fan for gaming?

If you are building a high-end computer that includes Ryzen 7 or Intel i9 or more, then it is highly recommended that you have at least 3 case fans, the more the better.

The additional 2 to the first 3 is if you have a big enough budget to purchase them, but the difference won’t be that big, so 3 should be just fine.

Are 120mm or 140mm fans better?

Neither of them is better. The difference between them is sound.

The 140mm case fans are bigger and they can move more air, which means that they don’t need to spin as fast as 120mm ones. The 140mm fans also have a stronger cooling capacity because of their larger fans. It all depends on the quality and the maker of the case fan, but 140mm fans are usually more likely to be louder than the 120mm ones.

Case fan direction

At least one fan needs to suck the air in and at least one fan needs to blow the air out. A typical configuration would be 1 case fan sucking the air in from the front and 1 fan blowing it out from the back, but you can also put 1 sucking in the front and 1 blowing in the end and on the top. 

It is also good to note that if your power supply has an intake fan and a fan that blows the hot air out on the back, it is not necessary to have a back case fan in that case.

Case fans air flow

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