What Is a Case Fan? – Definition, Uses, Types, and FAQs!

Does your computer overheat? Do you have to leave your computer off during the night to keep it cool? Is there a need to cool your computer during the day?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you need a case fan.

Image Source: Freepik.

The importance of cooler temperatures in your computer has been proven. It makes your PC run faster and better while making your hardware last a lot longer. It’s a must for those who want to protect their computers from serious damage.

Luckily, there is a product on the market that provides cooling for your PC, the case fan. In this blog, we will explore what a case fan is, its history, how can you use it, and the types available in the market.

What Is a Case Fan?

While early computers could lower the temperature of most components by passive cooling, lots of modern hardware requires effective cooling. 

To cool down these components, you should use a fan to remove hot air from them and then blow cool air.

The cooling fan, also known as the “system fan,” is located inside the computer and is connected to the front or back of it. The device’s vents help draw cool air into the case and blow hot air out. It also helps protect sensitive electronics from overheating.

Because of the pressure and high airflow, most fans are of the axial type: centrifugal and cross-flow fans. The two main performance parameters are dynamic airflow, usually expressed in CFM (cubic feet per minute), and static pressure. 

Sound is expressed in decibels and can be essential for office and home computers. In addition to this, large fans are usually quieter for the CFM.

There are some parts that you should consider when you have a case fan:

Air Pressure and Air FlowHigh static pressure case fans are very efficient at pushing air through tight spaces such as radiators. Constant pressure is more important than CFM airflow. 
DimensionsThere are 2 dimensions, 120 mm and 140 mm. Square fans are applied in areas with strong cooling requirements such as gaming PCs.
Rotational SpeedRotational speed RPM (revolutions per minute) at constant pressure determines the airflow of a particular case fan.

History Of Case Fans

Active CPU cooling first appeared in Intel 80486 and by 1997 was common on all desktop CPUs. With the introduction of the Pentium 4 in the late 2000s, chassis or lightweight fans became common. 

They usually ended up with fans in the back to absorb hot air and fans in the front to exhaust cold air.

Computer casings in the past were yellow, heavy, and uncomfortable. The 2006 Dream Car opted for an aluminum chassis and enhanced its appearance with a car-inspired paint job. 

Over time, case manufacturers tried new features. Some designs have failed, while others have evolved into what we expect from a modern case. 

Today’s computers are often small and offer many features, such as slide-out hard drive trays, magnetic dust filters, and cable management. Fans have been the same since then, but manufacturers added the RGP technology to adapt them to the gamer-like style.

Uses Of Case Fans

These fans are used to achieve the correct temperature of the computer. So their mission is also to give a longer life to your hardware.

The fan is mounted on the radiator right next to the case and can operate simultaneously by cooling the device’s working fluid and the case. In a laptop, a fan usually cools a heat sink, which is connected to the GPU and CPU processor through a heat pipe. 

Gaming laptops and mobile workstations may use two or more powerful fans. In a rack server, the fan array is routed from the front of the chassis to the rear for airflow that is routed through ducts or sections of the heat sink.

How Does a Case Fan Work?

The fan sucks air from the inside of the case and pushes it out through some small holes in the front of the case. The air is then cooled by a heat sink, which is a piece of metal or plastic that sits outside the case, facing the cooling fan. 

The heat sink is connected to the outside of the computer case by a series of metal fins. The fins are angled to ensure that the air that is pushed out of the case is moving in the right direction, and it then travels to the heat sink, which cools it further before it is sent back into the case. 

Finally, the radiator cools down the air, which is often placed on the floor or a desk.

Types Of Case Fans

There are a variety of different types of case fans, each with its unique purpose. 

Case fans are one of the most important as together with the vents they have a specific function. 

Together they try to reduce all the general heat generated by different components. These must have the necessary care, dust cleanliness, no cable obstruction, and no friction.

Static Pressure FanStatic Pressure fans are those that have prioritize the resistance of everything that’s pushing against the fans. They push heat through the PC.
High Airflow FanHigh Airflow fans push as much air as possible to through the PC.

These are the only two types of case fans available. Don’t confuse them with other devices available for PC such as the microprocessor heatsink or the graphics card fan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrap Up

Case Fans are necessary for the overall low temperatures of the PC, laptop, or even consoles.

I know that many people feel like they need to overpay for a case fan when they are shopping for one. but the truth is that you may be paying for something you’ll never actually take advantage of. 

If you are looking for a good but affordable case fan for your computer, you should look for one with the exact features that will help you achieve the cooling you need, including a fan speed range.

When choosing a case fan, have in mind the relative importance of static pressure depending on the degree of airflow restriction in the geometry. It also matters the distance between the heating fins. Static pressure is usually expressed in mm Hg or mm H2O. 

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Alberto Araujo
Alberto Araujo

Alberto Araujo is a former tech support professional that had a change of heart and now aims to write top-notch tech content for his readers. Writer, digital nomad, tech-geek and hunger for knowledge, that’s how you can describe him. If you want to learn about technology, building PCs, and software applications to make your life easier, his content is for you.

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