Buying Guide - Computer Fans

What do you need a cooling fan for?

Modern computer systems use processorsgraphics cards, and other high-speed components that consume enormous amounts of power and dissipate a lot of heat. The greatest threat to the smooth functioning of your computer system is from the excessive heat generated by these computer parts. They need to be maintained within safe temperature limits for proper functioning. Overheating may result in instability, malfunctioning and damage of computer parts that could result in a shorter component lifespan.

Computer cooling options

Computer fanDifferent methods of cooling exist that can help in improving the performance of your computer parts. One of the methods is the placement of a computer fan inside the computer case. An effective computer fan can prevent the system from heating up. It sucks cooler air into the case from outside, or pushes out warm air from inside the cabinet. A computer fan may also move air across a heat sink to cool a particular component. The use of computer fans to cool the computer parts is called active cooling. The following are some of the important computer fans that help cool different computer parts and therefore they’re named accordingly:

Case mount fans: These computer fans help move air across the computer tower to dissipate the heat generated by the various computer components housed within the case. They draw in the cooler air from outside and expel the hot air outside. They come in standard sizes of 80 mm, 92 mm, and 120 mm.

CPU fans: As the name suggests, these computer fans are used to cool the heat sink of the CPU. Since the CPU generates a lot of heat, cooler fans alone may be insufficient, so some other techniques for cooling are also used.

Graphics card fans: These computer fans are used to cool the graphics processing unit (GPU) or the memory of the graphics card.

Chipset fans: In case of overclocked system buses of the motherboard, you can expect a lot of heat to be generated and you might have a need for these chipset fans that help cool the northbridge of the motherboard.

PCI slot fans: Though not very predominantly used, these computer fans are afixed in one of the PCI slots help provide additional cooling to the peripheral component interconnect (PCI) slots and/or graphics cards.

Hard disk fans: These fans are mounted on or next to the hard disk drives that spin at higher speeds of 10000 rotations per minute (RPM) and result in generation of larger amounts of heat.

CD/DVD burner fans: These cooler fans are mounted inside CD and DVD burners to ensure proper cooling.

Size and performance

Computer fans are usually available in square and round frames and their size is specified in millimeters. You can pick from sizes between 40 and 120 mm. The effectiveness of cooling fans is determined by the airflow generated by them which is stated in CFM (cubic feet per minute) and RPM (rotations per minute). Cooling fans with higher static pressures, stated in mm Hg or mm H2O, help force air through restricted spaces and are ideal for use with heat sinks. Large fans with smaller RPMs ensure quieter operation. The type of bearing used in the cooling fans affects both the performance and noise output.