When constructing a PC, putting in the appropriate variety of case followers is essential for correct cooling and airflow. The ultimate configuration will depend on case measurement, elements, and desired inside stress. My first PC had solely a single exhaust fan, inflicting GPU throttling beneath load. After including two entrance consumption followers, temperatures normalized.
Since then I’ve assembled numerous builds in instances of all sizes. According to my expertise, it’s higher in case you have the next numbers of consumption and exhaust followers relying in your case and motherboard measurement.
Case/MB Form Factors
No. of Fans
No. of Intake Fans
No. of Exhaust Fans
Mini-ITX (Small Form Factor)
1 – 2
1 or 0
1 or 0
MicroATX (Mini Tower)
2 – 3
1 or 2
1 or 2
ATX (Mid Tower)
3 – 6
EATX (Full Tower)
5 – 8
This is just a tough estimate, and it’s important to take numerous different components under consideration to determine the precise quantity you’ll want.
Factors that Affect the Number of Case Fans
The case followers should match in your PC and supply the perfect cooling efficiency with the least potential noise. You want to think about a number of components to have the ability to arrange the right cooling system in your PC.
Airflow and Static Pressure
The cooling effectivity of a case fan additional will depend on two parameters— Airflow and Static Pressure. Airflow is the quantity of air that the fan can push each time whereas static stress represents how nicely the fan can push air in opposition to resistance.
You have to take care of airflow such that cool air from exterior the PC will get to your PC elements. Then, after these elements warmth up the air, the new air goes out of your PC case. So you might want to use consumption followers to absorb the cool air and exhaust followers to throw out the nice and cozy air.
Since sizzling air strikes upward and the air contained in the case progressively heats up attributable to contact with the new elements, you want exhaust followers on the higher a part of the case and consumption followers on the decrease.
The commonplace configuration is to have consumption followers on the entrance and backside and exhaust on the high and back.
You additionally want to determine the variety of consumption and exhaust followers relying on what kind of air stress you wish to create contained in the fan. You should orient them in a correct course whereas putting in them.
With more consumption than exhaust, it creates optimistic air stress. It will trigger the cool air to solely get in by the consumption followers by the mud filters in order that mud gained’t construct up as shortly. However, the exhaust followers could not have the ability to throw out the new air quick sufficient and trigger warmth to lure inside.
With more exhaust followers than consumption ones, it creates destructive air stress. It will assist take away the warmth from inside the case, however air will get in by different openings, together with mud, to steadiness the quantity of exhaust air. You might want to clear your followers often in such instances.
An equal quantity of consumption and exhaust followers create impartial air stress. It is the center floor because it limits the trapping of warmth and the introduction of mud contained in the case.
It’s typically most popular to take care of impartial or destructive air stress contained in the case. But having a optimistic air stress can also be positive in case you are specific about stopping mud build-ups.
Different case followers include completely different specs, resembling fan measurement, RPM, and so forth. These specs decide the airflow and static stress of air by the followers. Larger followers typically present increased airflow whereas smaller ones generate more static stress.
Case Size and Motherboard Layout
The type issue of your PC case, motherboard format, and obtainable clearance attributable to PC elements may even decide how environment friendly every case fan is. So you might want to contemplate them whereas choosing the quantity and placement of the followers.
Larger motherboards want more followers than smaller ones to offer sufficient airflow to all of its elements. On the identical notice, they want bigger instances which have sufficient fan slots for more case followers.
Smaller motherboards can do with fewer followers, but it surely’s higher to make use of followers that present more static stress in order that the cables and the PC elements don’t impede the airflow.
But in case you are using a smaller motherboard with a bigger case, you may also use a bigger variety of quieter followers with decrease RPM, as there’ll be much less air resistance.
Your cable administration and placement of bigger elements just like the GPU additionally have an effect on airflow resistance. You want more followers or people who present more static stress to account for such obstructions.
The more the variety of elements that generate warmth, like CPU, GPU, storage drives, VRMs, and so forth., the more case followers you’ll want.
The measurement of the followers you should utilize additionally will depend on the obtainable fan slots in your PC case.
Note: The variety of chassis fan headers in your motherboard doesn’t point out the higher restrict in your case fan quantity. You can use fan header splitters or molex adapters to connect more followers in such instances.
Having quite a lot of case followers will produce more noise. So you’ll must steadiness the variety of followers to discover a appropriate center level between cooling effectivity and noise stage. On the opposite hand, using many followers could help you lower their pace to decrease RPM and quieten the general setup.
You can even use quieter fan designs with decrease RPM from the get-go. It’s higher to make use of PWM followers as an alternative of DC ones as nicely since they’re often quieter.
Also, because the mounting floor on the completely different panels is just not the identical, putting in the followers on one facet could produce more noise than one other. You can set up the followers on the areas that make the least noise whereas sustaining a correct airflow course.
Most CPU air coolers truly make more noise in comparison with case followers. So you may also set up a liquid cooler to make your setup general quieter. It may even help you cut back the quantity or pace of the case followers, thereby quieting your PC even additional.
Type of CPU/GPU Cooler
The CPU and the GPU generate probably the most warmth in your system, so you might want to keep their temperature probably the most. Most CPU/GPU coolers want correct case airflow to work correctly, so you might want to arrange your case followers accordingly.
High finish GPU and CPU include increased Thermal Design Power (TDP) as they produce more warmth. If your CPU and GPU coolers don’t have sufficient cooling capability for these, you might want to add more case followers.
You must arrange your case followers in a different way relying on the kind of CPU cooler.
If you utilize air coolers for the CPU, it’s more depending on the airflow contained in the PC case, so you might want to have sufficient case followers to assist it.
If you utilize AIOs or customized liquid cooling setups, the CPU cooling gained’t rely a lot on the case followers. They additionally include a radiator, which has its personal followers that you should utilize as extra exhaust or consumption followers.
However, the radiator fins will introduce turbulence into the consumption and exhaust air by the radiator followers. You might want to account for it whereas setting your case followers.
GPU coolers can have an open air cooling system or a blower fan.
An open air cooling system exhausts sizzling air contained in the case, so that you want more case followers to offer a correct airflow course for this heated air.
A Blower fan-type cooling system immediately exhausts sizzling air exterior the case, so that you don’t want to make use of more case followers.
If you’re employed in a hotter location, the bottom temperature of your system can be excessive from the beginning. It will add to the general temperature your CPU, GPU and different elements can attain. So you might want to use more case followers in such areas.
On the flip facet, you may have the ability to lower the variety of case followers for colder areas.
Whenever you run resource-intensive duties, your CPU and/or GPU utilization will increase, consequently producing more warmth. So in case your typical workload is excessive, you might want to use more case followers to take care of their temperature. You may even want a a number of case followers in case you are overclocking your CPU or GPU.
Even throughout regular workloads, the CPU/GPU utilization can spike up in bursts. Even with an acceptable CPU/GPU temperature (let’s say 50°), it might probably attain a excessive worth and trigger momentary thermal throttling.
So it’s best to have sufficient case followers to maintain these processors at a decrease temperature (round 40°) even throughout less-intensive workloads.
Efficient Fan Configuration
Now that you just perceive what components you might want to take note of, you need to have already got an concept of what number of followers you wish to select.
Here, I’ve listed a number of the environment friendly fan configurations I’ve used that can assist you get began. As you’ll see, I notably like establishing slight optimistic air stress. A small distinction of temperature is just not sufficient to justify the mud construct up for my part.
But first, let’s take a quick take a look at how completely different the followers on particular person panels are so that you’ve got more info on how you need to place the followers.
Panel for Case Fan
Commonly Available Slots
– Front and side-mounted case followers have comparable intents and functions. – They introduce cool air to the entire inside of the PC to chill down the motherboard, the GPU and the CPU.
– The fan acts more on the processor than the graphics card. – The fan nearer to the entrance may truly exhaust the cool air from the entrance case fan earlier than it reaches the CPU.
Front / Side Panel
Front (2-3) Side (0-3)
– Front and side-mounted case followers have comparable intents and functions. – They introduce cool air to the entire inside of the PC to chill down the motherboard, the GPU, and the CPU.
– Works nicely on a bigger PC to introduce more consumption followers. – In a smaller case, it might probably attract sizzling air from the PSU as an alternative of cool air from exterior. – The fan immediately beneath the GPU will blow sizzling air from the GPU to the CPU, thereby heating it as an alternative.
Note: If you might be establishing case followers on the highest panel (as exhaust), I like to recommend eradicating any removable mud filter from the highest. We need mud to exit from the exhaust, not get caught inside as a result of filter.
1/2 Front and 1 Back
Using 1 or 2 followers on the entrance and 1 on the back is an effective beginning configuration in case you have a small or mini-size case. If you have got a devoted GPU, it’s higher to make use of 2 followers on the entrance. Otherwise, you possibly can persist with 1 fan.
2 Front, 1 Back and 1 Top
It is the popular setup for many mid-size instances. It works best in case you have high-quality coolers for the CPU and the GPU. However, you may also use this configuration for a relatively lower-end system on mid-size rigs.
You can even management the fan pace to offer decrease noise throughout regular workload, as 4 followers will keep the warmth ranges more effectively.
2 Front, 1 Bottom, 1 Back, 1/2 Top
If you have got a high-end system on a mid-sized case, it’s best to have followers on all sides. However, be sure that the underside fan lies away from the facility provide.
Also, whereas I like to recommend having 2 followers on the entrance, you possibly can select to make use of just one fan on the highest for those who use a superb CPU cooler.
3 Front, 1/2 Bottom, 1 Back, 1/2 Top
For a bigger case, it’s best to take care of a ample airflow with 3 followers out entrance, 2 on the backside, 2 on the high and 1 on the back. If you wish to reduce the noise, you may also use just one fan on the backside and the highest.
If your PC case comes with fan slots on the facet panel, you should utilize these for the liquid cooler’s radiators. Or you possibly can mount the radiators on the entrance and set up the case followers on the facet.
Note: Based on my skilled, rising the variety of followers even additional gained’t make a lot of a distinction within the CPU/GPU temperatures in all of those conditions. You must put money into good high quality case followers and high-end CPU/GPU coolers if you wish to quiet down your system even additional.