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The Best Case Fans for your custom PC

Without correct airflow in your PC chassis, the elements will run hotter than they’re purported to. This leads to decreased performance. Find out how to fix that? Properly, you can begin off with some new case fans. When you personal a gaming PC and the temperatures exceed a sure limit, both your graphics card as well as processor will start to throttle down their velocity so as to lower heat output. This will happen in the midst of a gaming session, and the last thing you want whereas enjoying an intense recreation of Overwatch or CS GO, is the occasional framerate drop in the midst of a struggle. It’s extremely irritating as a competitive gamer to lose because of sudden hardware points, but extra importantly- your PC’s elements might have a shorter lifespan with out satisfactory cooling.

We’ve accomplished the research for you, and came up with six of the most effective PC case fans which you could presently buy. Earlier than you start buying, be certain that to verify the manufacturer specs for your specific pc chassis. It’s essential to know the precise measurement of the fan that your PC case helps. Totally different areas of the chassis will fit fans of various sizes, and in case you get the dimensions incorrect it will be a problem. Most popular sizes for PC fans are- 80mm, 120mm, and 140mm. Some larger ATX instances have 200mm fan mounts on the entrance to help additional airflow, these kinds of instances are great for overclocked air- cooled gaming PC builds.


Without additional ado, listed here are the most effective case followers you must contemplate.


The AF120 is among the most popular high airflow optimized case followers out there available on the market. You realize it is a quality product as a result of Corsair made it, and their followers in addition to AIO liquid cooling methods are a number of the greatest within the gaming business. The highlight of this fan is its reasonably priced worth and incredibly low working volume.
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This is the “Quiet” LED version of the AF120 fan, which suggests it offers slightly less airflow and static strain than the efficiency non- LED version, but in addition makes 16 % much less noise. For reference, the “Performance” (no LED) version AF120 fan produces 63.47 CFM of airflow and 1.1mm H2O of static strain. The Quiet LED model of the AF120 which we’re reviewing, makes simply 25.2 dBA of noise beneath load. But this decreased noise comes on the expense of lowered airflow (52.19 CFM vs 63.47 CFM) and less static strain (0.75mm H20 vs 1.1mm H20). The Performance version runs at a better velocity (1650 RPM vs 1500 RPM for the Quiet LED version), which is why it produces that additional airflow and static strain.

Corsair recommends that you simply want at the least 1.2” or 3cm of clearance between the fan and other elements within your PC. Since that is an airflow optimized fan, it isn’t meant to be mounted on radiators, heatsinks, or in front of onerous drive cages. For those kinds of purposes, you need to use the Corsair SP (Static Strain) collection of fans. The AF120 is a 120mm fan and measures 120mm x 25mm. Ensure you have adequate clearance in your PC case earlier than putting in the AF120, as well as a 3-pin connector on the motherboard. Word that while this fan has LED lighting, it lacks PWM velocity control.


  • Good quantity of airflow (52.19 CFM) at extraordinarily low noise levels
  • Easy design, highly dependable
  • Straightforward to put in, comes with the required mounting screws and a voltage step-down adaptor
  • Preinstalled rubber pads to dampen the vibration transferred to your PC case, this reduces general noise levels
  • Comes with LED lighting, obtainable in following colors- Blue, Purple, Pink, and White


  • No PWM velocity control
  • Doesn’t come with the connectors to connect instantly with your power supply, so you want empty 3-pin connectors on your motherboard

Corsair ML120, 120mm Premium Magnetic Levitation Fan (2-Pack)


Most case fans use sleeve bearings or ball bearings. Corsair takes issues to the subsequent degree with their ML collection of fans which uses magnetic levitation know-how to separate the fan shaft and bearing such that there’s nothing but air between them. This leads to zero bearing friction as well as lowered noise levels.
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If you would like the very best, look no further- Corsair has you coated with their model new ML120 PRO fans. These don’t use conventional bearing design, and as an alternative rely on magnetic levitation to drift the fan shaft inside the hub. In an effort to perceive the benefits of magnetic levitation you want to try what regular case fans use for bearings. The least expensive sort of bearing is sleeve bearing, these are principally two lubricated surfaces sliding towards one another. They begin out quieter that different kinds of bearings, but in addition have the shortest lifespan and progressively get louder with time till they fail all of a sudden in the midst of operation. Then you will have ball bearings that are costlier and barely louder, but they’ve a much longer lifespan and retain their “out of the box” noise degree for much longer. Then you have got hydraulic bearings which are a modified sort of fluid bearing, these use the followers own rotation to create a strain area that stabilizes the shaft and offers lubrication. Magnetic levitation takes issues one step further through the use of electromagnets to create a magnetic subject inside the fan hub that levitates the bearing above the motor housing. This eliminates bearing noise and friction utterly, though you still have resistance from the spinning fan blades and resistance from the magnetic area itself.

The ML120 PRO collection is obtainable in quite a lot of configurations- Plain, single shade LED, and RGB. We advocate both the plain or the only shade LED variations because not only are they cheaper in comparison with the RGB version, however additionally they produce more airflow and static strain. The RGB edition is quieter because it spins at a lower RPM in comparison with the other ones, but generates 47.3 CFM of airflow compared to the 75 CFM of the other versions. It also has a maximum static strain of simply 1.78mm H20 in comparison with the 4.2mm H20 of the plain and single-color LED variants. One thing to note concerning the ML120 collection of fans is the centralized location of the 4 LEDs, in contrast to cheaper fan designs which place the LEDs on the outer circle. The centralized LED location leads to a way more uniform and visually interesting lightshow. The build quality on these fans is extremely good, they usually include removable corners and preinstalled rubber noise isolation pads. All ML120 PRO followers help PWM velocity management. The RGB model has a variety of 400 to 1600 RPM, and comes with its own SATA powered LED controller hub. The different variations have a variety of 400 – 2400 RPM, this additional velocity is why they generate more airflow and static strain in comparison with the RGB edition.


  • Impressive stability between airflow and static strain in comparison with SP or AF collection fans
  • Great built quality, detachable corners with rubber noise isolation pads
  • PWM velocity management
  • Centralized LED lighting, distributes the colour a lot better across the translucent blades
  • Fairly quiet underneath load


  • Costlier, even if you in contrast them to premium followers from reputed brands like Noctua or Cooler Master
  • The RGB edition sacrifices efficiency for visuals

Noctua 120mm, Anti-Stall Knobs Design,SSO2 Bearing PWM Case Cooling Fan NF-S12A PWM


Ask any PC constructing discussion board or gaming enthusiast about Noctua, and you’ll hear nothing but praise. This company makes quality products that run silently and final forever- every little thing a gamer needs. Though Noctua followers are slightly costly, they may in all probability be the last followers you ever purchase.
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The Noctua NF-S12A collection of 120mm case followers is out there in Three totally different versions- you’ve got the FLX, PWM, and ULN. The first one (FLX) has a most velocity of 1200 RPM, and uses a 3-pin connector. It may well run at 900 RPM with the included Low- Noise adapter, or at 700 RPM with the Ultra Low- Noise adapter. The ULN or ultra low noise version of the NF- S12A includes a lower present draw in comparison with the opposite two models, which signifies that it spins slower leading to much less noise. And while the PWM and FLX versions are already super- quiet at just 17.eight dBA every, the ULN takes noise ranges down to eight.6 dBA. You’ll barely hear this fan even whether it is underneath full load, and there’s no one else within the room. For reference, 10 dBA is the quantity of noise made by rustling leaves, or an individual respiration. The ULN model of the Noctua is even quieter than that!

And you get a low noise adapter with the NF- S12A ULN model which lowers its velocity even additional, right down to 600 rpm. We’re reviewing the PWM version of the NF- S12a which uses a Four-pin connector and may differ its velocity all the best way from a standstill to 1200 rpm with unimaginable precision because of PWM know-how. This fan or any Noctua fan for that matter, doesn’t have LED lighting or fancy styling. In reality, Noctua fans are thought-about to be a number of the ugliest fans in the complete PC hardware business. But Noctua doesn’t care about seems, because for them type follows perform. So should you actually, actually care about seems and have a tempered glass aspect panel together with different LED fans in your gaming PC, this fan might not fit in with the remaining. However if you’d like a fan that boasts spectacular performance, will last for eternity, and runs quieter than any of its competitors- the NF- S12a is for you. Noctua uses a bunch of know-how and actually intelligent design to make its fans one of the best within the business. To know more about their know-how, look right here.


  • The quietest case fan you’ll ever own
  • Lasts for an eternity
  • Extremely well-built
  • Comes with all of the accessories you need- noise isolation rubber mounts, screws, 30cm extension cable, Low Noise Adapter, a Four-pin Y cable, and Four vibration compensators
  • 27 CFM of airflow, and 17.8 dBA of noise in commonplace mode, and 49 CFM in Low Noise Mode with just 10.7 dBA of noise (corresponding to a pin drop or regular respiration sound)


  • Barely expensive in comparison with different 120mm case followers
  • Industrial appears, no flashy LED lights or cool colors

Cooler Master SickleFlow 120 - Sleeve Bearing 120mm Blue LED Silent Fan for Computer Cases, CPU Coolers, and Radiators


What do you do once you solely have 5 bucks to spend on a brand-new case fan, but don’t need to end up with some cheaply built fan from a brand you could have never heard of earlier than? In that case (pun meant), you want the Cooler Master SickleFlow 120.
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Low on cash? Need a 120mm airflow- optimized case fan from a renowned manufacturer? Cooler Grasp has your again with their SickleFlow 120, and that is as low cost because it will get with case fans. Not solely does it boast respectable performance figures, but can also be coated by a 2- yr warranty. Cooler Grasp managed to maintain costs low through the use of a long- life sleeve bearing as an alternative of ball bearings. The LED lights (all Four of them), are mounted on the outer circle as an alternative of the fan hub. Which means the colour isn’t distributed as evenly in comparison with the Corsair ML collection followers, but this sort of design helps lower manufacturing costs and in the long run you’re getting an LED case fan at an excellent low cost worth. Better than having no LEDs in any respect proper?

The technical specifications are spectacular when you consider the cost of this fan. At its maximum RPM of 2000, this fan will generate up to 69.7 CFM of airflow and a couple of.94mm H20 of static strain. Those figures surpass that of the Corsair ML120 RGB version, for a fraction of the worth. Working noise is 19 dBA, although this noise spec was in all probability not recorded underneath full load. The efficiency figures don’t exactly correspond to real- life performance underneath varying ranges of humidity, ambient temperature, and load. These fans will not be constructed to the same standards as the Noctua or Corsair ML collection, and subsequently will be unable to retain their out of the box performance and noise ranges for very long. Corsair and Noctua supply 5 and 6 yr warranties on their premium products, whereas this fan has a 2-year warranty.


  • Impressive airflow and static strain for a very low cost worth
  • Can be utilized on air cooler heatsinks, and in entrance of onerous drive cages because of its relatively excessive static strain (2.94 mm H20 at 2000 rpm)
  • Four LED lights, situated on the outer circle
  • 50,000 hour life expectancy


  • Uses sleeve bearings, so it won’t final as long as a Noctua or Corsair ML120 fan
  • Lighting isn’t nicely distributed across the fan blades because of the situation of the LEDs
  • Doesn’t have any anti-vibration rubber pads on the corners, or noise isolation mounts like the Noctua NF-S12a

Often Requested Questions-

Static Strain vs Excessive Airflow

There are two kinds of PC fans- high airflow optimized fans, and excessive static strain optimized fans. Most PC case fans are airflow optimized varieties, whereas static strain optimized fans are used on heatsinks, radiators, and so forth. So what’s the distinction between the two? Airflow optimized fans are designed to shove extra air per unit of time, which is why they’re typically marketed with CFM numbers that present how much cubic ft of air the fan can blow per minute. Static strain followers then again, are designed with the aim of cramming air by means of densely populated areas of the computer chassis. They create more strain on the exhaust aspect in comparison with airflow optimized followers.

So whereas airflow fans shove extra air per unit of time, static strain fans blow that air a lot more durable. Why does this matter? Nicely, in a PC you’ve fans in several spots. The one behind your case is in a comparatively uncrowded spot with no restrictions to airflow whereas those on the front could be obstructed by air filters and onerous drive stacks. So that you need excessive static strain fans on the front in an effort to blow that air more durable, so that it makes it approach by means of the air filter meshes and onerous drive cage. Similar applies to heatsink and radiator fans- they’re optimized for excessive static strain. If the fan is unobstructed and just has to blow as much air as potential, you need a excessive airflow fan like the one at the exhaust aspect of the case. Airflow followers have sharper blade angles, whereas static strain followers have flatter blades with much less area between every blade.

How Many Case Fans do I Want?

This depends upon the type of hardware that you are operating, the standard of the fans, the case you’re using, and the extent of noise that you simply deem tolerable. Extra fans don’t mechanically make a system cooler. In truth, some experiments have proven that too many fans can negatively impression system temperatures. And also you additionally run the danger of a particularly loud PC in the event you cram lots of followers into it. You possibly can take a look at this video for extra information on what number of fans is acceptable for your specific PC.

What are PWM followers?

PWM is the know-how used to manage fan speeds in trendy PCs. It requires a Four-pin connector, versus the 3-pin connectors you’ll discover in cheaper models. PWM fans have the power to operate rather more silently in comparison with non-PWM fashions, because the pulse width modulation know-how helps them obtain a a lot wider vary of speeds with extremely exact control at all times. Trendy motherboards come with at the least one 4-pin PWM port, which you should use to attach things like LED strips, water cooling pumps (AIO CPU coolers), or RGB PC case fans. Premium gaming motherboards have Four to 6 PWM hubs, and assist you to join a number of followers and LED lighting strips. The system screens load on the CPU and motherboard, in addition to the temperatures via numerous sensors on the board. Relying on the temperature, it alerts the followers to spin quicker or slower. You possibly can customise fan speeds at numerous load levels in your motherboard BIOS, or by way of fan control software program on your desktop. Non PWM fans may also range their velocity, however to not the same diploma as PWM fans. To study more about PWM fans take a look at this page.

Constructive vs Damaging Air Strain

Constructive air strain is when there’s extra air getting into your PC case, than there’s air leaving it. This setup means that you’ve more air being sucked in by the intake followers than there’s air being blown out by your exhaust fans. This creates a strain inside your case that’s greater than atmospheric strain. In a destructive air strain setup, there’s more air exiting the case in comparison with incoming air. With this setup you might have created a region of low strain in your case which suggests outdoors air will attempt to move in by means of the vents and holes of your case. A damaging strain setup leads to a couple levels less warmth, however at the expense of extra dust accumulation on the case. You’ll have to clean the air filters extra typically, and there shall be dust on the internals that you must get rid off earlier than it hampers system efficiency. With a constructive air strain setup you danger operating barely hotter, however at the least you don’t have to wash the case as steadily. Study more about constructive vs adverse strain in PC instances over here.

Is RGB Value It?

RGB followers look fairly but additionally they value more. So you’ll want to determine if the additional cosmetic attraction is value a couple of more bucks per fan. In case you are building a system that is targeted on attaining the utmost performance with a given finances, it is advisable conserve as much cash as attainable through the use of the bulk on your CPU and graphics card. Next in line is the reminiscence and storage, followed by the motherboard and power supply. In case you have an honest case together with an honest CPU cooler and a superb aftermarket graphics card, any mid-range case fan will do exactly fantastic. The most premium ones are likely to have fancy features reminiscent of RGB lighting that can be programmed by means of software program. In case you are splurging a couple thousand dollars on a high-end gaming rig and have money to spare on seems, go for it. They supply no performance benefit, and a well-built Noctua will all the time run quieter than some tricked out lightshow from a Chinese language firm you will have never heard of. So in case you are buying RGB followers, ensure that to buy a model made by a reputed brand corresponding to Corsair, Thermaltake, or CoolerMaster. The low cost RGB fans reduce corners on high quality of the core elements in an effort to have the lights.

Which One Ought to You Buy?

In case you are wanting for the very best of both worlds, you’ll be able to’t go fallacious with the Corsair ML120 PRO collection of followers. We advocate the LED models as a result of they are barely a greenback or two costlier than the bottom model, however supply really spectacular lighting. In contrast to followers just like the Cooler Grasp SickleFlow 120 which have the LEDs on the inside of the frame, the ML120 PRO LED fans have the 4 lights situated proper inside the fan hub. This leaves much less area for the shaft and blades, however Corsair managed to get away with it because of their clever engineering and progressive fan blade design. This innovation leads to superior lighting, the illumination is unfold evenly throughout the whole floor of the fan as it’s spinning and creates a a lot better lightshow at all times, day or night time. The performance figures are impressive, and noise is low. PWM velocity control is supported on all Corsair ML120 fans, and they are guaranteed to last very long because of the unique magnetic levitation bearing system. If you need one thing less flashy than the ML120 PRO LED and even quieter, get the Noctua NF- S12a. It might look bizarre, however does its job rather well and you’ll barely hear it working even when it is spinning at max velocity.

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