TechSpot

Simple Case Fan guide

By NZvista
Oct 23, 2008
  1. ****Please feel free to move this if it should be somewhere else****

    Hi, for about two weeks now I have been asking millions of questions in my search to install a new case fan, many thanks to one person in particular: Kimsland who has helped me immensely. I’ve decided to combine all my research into this guide, it may not be thoroughly comprehensive for your needs but should serve you well.

    1) Do you actually need more cooling?

    Through my questioning and other reasearch I have found that a computer idling anywhere from around 20-40 degress and in full usage sitting around 50-60 is fine. Anywhere over that and you may run into problems, especially if its way over and for prolonged periods of time - sometimes you just cannot trust the computer to shut itself down if its too hot.

    2) Will a case fan suffice for your cooling needs?

    If indeed your computer is too hot firstly you must consider If your solution is indeed a case fan. For most people a case fan will suffice, that is: if you are not trying to over clock your computer and its is only running hot enough to worry you. However, If the computer is far too hot then you may need to look at a) toning your usage down in conjunction with a fan or b) going for a more serious solution such as a more upgraded case/heat sink or even water cooling.

    3) If you have decided that YES! I want a case fan, you must decide what type

    The objective to getting a new fan is to increase the air flow throughout your computer carrying cold air in and hot air out in a fluid motion. Note here the word flow, their is no use putting random fans hap hazardly around your computer which will create a cyclone effect trapping circulating air in the middle of your computer.

    Generally, although needs change for specific people you want more intake than exhaust fans, this way a vacuum will not be made inside your computer with your intakes trying to suck out components. Make an estimate, a good ratio is something like 3:2 or 2:2 with your intakes being stronger than your outtakes. Intake fans, in a perfect world should be at the bottom front, and exhaust fans should be at the top back, this is because hot air rises and cold air sinks.

    4) Positioning and size - How to measure up correctly.

    Although, in a perfect world you will have space littered around every area of your case and a nice case maker with plenty of pre made fan positions this is hardly the case with most of us. You must look inside your case, (take the left side off) to see where there is space for a new fan, measure it up

    Important when you open the case

    When you open up the case, it is important that you ground yourself - here are a few tips on how to do this in order to cause no damage to your components which don’t like static

    - Don’t work on carpet if at all possible
    -Wear an anti static wrist band if you have one
    -If you do not have one, touch the unpainted metal inside the computer case and plant your feet, do not move your feet - if you do touch the inside of the computer case again.
    -Do not touch your electric components unless you know what you are doing to avoid damaging them

    Case fans come in many sizes, to the best of my knowledge they are 40x40, 60x60, 80x80, 92x92, 120x120. Most of them are no more than 20 thick. This may need some clarification but: the bigger the fan the more air it can move in and out at slower speeds, which reduces the noise of your computer especially if you are not using it flat tack.

    5)OK! so you have your position, your type of fan, your size and hopefully have not damaged your components :p Now you must decide which brand of fan to buy

    There can be no definitive answer for this: Many fan companies make fans, but some have very different ambitions: Some companies aim there fans at noise concious people (low speeds, low sound, less air movement) while some are aimed at serious gamers/overlcokers (high speeds, loud sound, alot of air movement). My advice, choose what your priorities are and set a budget, search the net or go to a store and ask. My prefered fan are Nexus Silent fans because you cannot hear them and they do enough for me.

    Different companies connect there fans in different ways, some peoples connect directly into the power suply and some connect into the mother board:

    Mother board fans : Positive- Speeds controlled to suit the current need.
    Negative - Mobo's don’t like powering a lot of components

    Power Supply fans : Positive - Don’t over load the mother board
    Negative - Are full speed 100% of the time (noise_

    6)Ok, you have now bought your fan. Installation guide.

    This can be easy or difficult.

    If you already have vent in your computer with brackets for fans and predrilled holes then lucky you :) Just screw the fan in and attach it to your power source, off you go - your done ;P

    For the rest of us, it is more difficult, you will need to modify the case with power tools:

    -Mark out the outline of what you want to do, whetehr it be a honey comb pattern or a square slab removed. Mark it with felt tip or vivid.
    -Clamp the panel to a peice of wood, this will stop it denting or warping in the cutting or dilling process.
    -Drill pilot holes regardless if you are cutting or honey combing, pilot holes are small holes as guides for a jig saw or large drill bit.
    -A drill piece needs to be the right type for drillign through metal, these drill bits are normally coated in a gold colour, but make sure.
    -Before doing ay work, take safety precautions ie: Goggles, gloves etc.

    Tip: Once a hole is made, its made forever, plan and plan again. Drill smaller if unsure, you can always enlarge it.

    I hope you gain knowledge from this guide, I am not an expert by any means so feel free to add to it.

    PS: Case modding/ fan attaching is permanent. BE ABSOLUTELY SURE YOU WANT IT, also, altering/opening a case may void the warranty on store made computers.
     
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,934   +167

    This is a simple guide?

    Depending on the CPU, a good 3rd party CPU cooler, a good exhaust fan and a good intake fan is all anyone needs. I use a ZeroTherm Nirvana HSF, a 120MM exhaust fan and a single 80MM intake fan with my Antec Mid-Tower case and Q6600 Quad core CPU. Nominal temps 45C
     
  3. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 4,265   +41

    I dont think a case fan in the bottom front for intake is always a good thing. Probably if your pc is on top of a table or desk, but a good majority of people use the floor or carpet. In these cases you can pick up a lot of dust from the floor or carpet.
     
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,934   +167

    Dust goes into a case regardless of having a front fan or not. My Antec case has a fiber filter behind the front face, that can be removed and cleaned easily. Of course a good exhaust fan will draw in cool air by itself alone. I like a quiet PC. Too many fans= too much noise
     
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