How Many Case Fans Should My Gaming PC Have to Stay Cool?

  • April 17, 2018

A quality cooling system is essential to any gaming PC. Most CPUs come with its own, but it is sometimes not enough to keep up with system’s growing demands. As you know, playing video games require a lot of work from your computer, specifically the processor, motherboard, and graphics card. If not equipped with a technique to maintain a certain temperature, it could cause irreparable damage to those sensitive parts, or worse, could result in the whole device overheating.

Now I understand that cooling systems are very rarely at the top of anyone’s list when buying a gaming PC. Most people still see it as an add-on accessory rather than a necessity. That is why I propose that instead of using a liquid cooling system, which would come out to be more expensive, why not just buy one that uses air instead? It works just as well, but not as costly. Now doesn’t that seem like a fair compromise?

In this article, I’d like to talk about some important things to consider when buying an air-type cooling system, and more specifically, how many fans you really need to efficiently ensure your gaming system runs smoothly.

Based on Need

Before deciding on how many fans you should purchase, it is a good first step to know the requirements of your computer, and there are several factors that affect this.

The most basic consideration would be your usage rate. If you’re a serious gamer who spends multiple hours a day playing video games, you’d have a higher fan requirement compared to someone who only uses their gaming PC for a couple of hours. The amount of time you spend on your computer is directly proportional to the amount of heat it emits, so this is something very important to remember.

Another practicality that needs to be addressed is the size of your CPU casing. Cooling systems are usually installed inside the housing, so the available space is a clear factor. They key here is to maximize the area so that it matches the requirement of your PC. There are several techniques that you can use, such as the strategizing the positioning of fans or the amount of air it creates.

CPU Casing

Determine the size of your CPU casing

I’ve found that knowing how your system works, both inside and out, is essential before making a decision like this. You’d think that adding more fans than you need is ideal, but it is actually counterproductive to the entire cooling process. Fans, in general, bring in a lot of dust from the outside, which could block heat sinks or be a possible insulator for fires. Therefore adding just the right number of fans is needed to make this cooling system work efficiently.

Number of Fans

​​​​While there is no standard rule on the amount of fans needed, I have learned from experience that three is a good number to start with. In general, it is able to properly cool down my gaming system despite my usage rate. I don’t play more than 7 hours per day and my computer’s heat levels don’t go beyond 30 degrees Celsius so this is pretty adequate.

Computer-Fans

Of course, if you play more than me or live in a more humid environment, there is a greater chance that you’d need to install more cooling fans. The important thing to remember here is to observe and evaluate. If you notice that your computer has been exhausted and producing abnormally high level of heat, this could be an indicator to increase the coolness in your gaming system. Don’t force it to completely break down before you do something about it.

As vague as this may sound, trial and error seems like an acceptable strategy to take. But for the sake of having a point of beginning, three fans seem like an appropriate number to start with.

Other Important Factors – Size, Placement, and Casing Structure

One cannot simply focus on the number without also discussing other important aspects. The size of each fan, its placement, and the housing structure are all essential things that also need to be taken into account.

An ideal radius size of each fan should be between 60mm to 80mm. Based on my experience, these are effectively able to lower my computer’s temperature, without taking up too much space. As for the positioning, it would be highly beneficial to have two fans cooling the sensitive parts of your CPU, while another one blows out hot air through a vent. The setup can have a positive effect on the overall cooling process of the device.

Finally, the best kind of case structure is one that has a lot of apertures or has one side completely open. This gives the computer more ventilation and also allows you to clean the insides more conveniently.

Conclusion:

The amount of fans you need to effectively cool your gaming PC greatly relies on your need. Most of the time, it is a case-to-case basis and will require a lot of constant evaluation. But through my own research and experience, I’ve come to conclude that three fans, each having a size of 60mm is an ideal number to work with. Of course, it needs to be supported by a strategic setup, as well as an ergonomic housing, to work most efficiently.

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