Building a modern desktop PC is surprisingly easy, thanks to modular parts and a lot of solid engineering. It’s often explained as “LEGO for adults.” But managing the air cooling system within a PC is considerably more complex. We’re talking about physics, thermodynamics, all sorts of fun stuff. But there are a few basic principles you can apply to almost any build to get optimal airflow, and thus, optimal cooling.
Any desktop PC with standard case fan mounts will work (80mm, 120mm, 140mm, 200mm—it doesn’t mater as long as they’re consistent). Deciding on a cooling approach that matches your case and your components before you go shopping for fans and coolers can be helpful.
That said, cooling fans come with a surprising amount of variation. You’ll need to make sure they’re sized right to fit the screw mounts on your case, obviously, but beyond that you’ll also want to consider:
If you don’t want to do a ton of research, we highly recommend Noctua fans for great noise-to-performance ratio—though some of their models are on the pricier side (not to mention the standard line is butt-ugly). But there are a lot of great fans out there, so dig around sites like Newegg to see what you can find.
The central concept of air cooling is very simple. As the components in your computer operate, they build up heat, which can lower performance and eventually damage the hardware if it goes unchecked. The fans on the front of your PC’s case are typically intake fans, drawing in the relatively cool air of the surrounding room to lower the temperature inside the case. Fans on the rear and of the case are usually exhaust fans, expelling the hot air warmed up by the components back into the room.Read More...
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