Recently many PC users are complaining that their PC fans are making a loud noise or running at higher RPM while playing games. On the other hand, some users complain about the opposite. Their CPU fan speed is lower even at higher CPU temperatures.
So the genuine question arises what the recommended RPM or speed for CPU fans is. Is there any specific range that a CPU fan must maintain?
In this article, we have explained the recommended fan RPM for gaming PCs. So you should read it first before tweaking it with your CPU fan settings.
How Does the Airflow Work on a Gaming PC?
As your GPU heats up beyond the specified ideal temperature range, if your system isn’t keeping it cool enough (with a proper cooling mechanism and a good airway), the GPU will reduce your clock speeds and, consequently, the quality of your device’s performance until it maintains its activity in the specified thermal range.
When we speak about positive airflow, we mean that the fans inside your system are bringing in more cool air than they are expelling used air out of the system. This produces a positive cooling cycle, and this is what you want to aim for.
Negative air pressure is when more air is being flushed out than there is being sucked in, creating a potential vacuum that may start sucking the expelled hot air back in or cause the fans to work immensely hard to suck air from within the system could disturb the inside components. Equal air pressure has a balanced intake and expulsion cycle.
While in theory, negative airflow is the most effective cooling mechanism, which flushes out more heat than it sucks in anything else, as explained earlier, the vacuum can be troublesome.
A negative airflow is difficult to maintain once such a vacuum is created. For practically optimized cooling, positive airflow is what you want to achieve to ensure that more cool air is being sucked in and circulated around the heating components.
Here is a video guide if you’re unable to find the airflow direction.
What RPM Should PC Fans Be?
The higher the RPM, the noisier it is. It’s also better for a cool build. A 1000rpm fan is a bit low, as most standard case fans are anywhere from 1400-1600rpm, and you’d use a 1000rpm fan for a non-intensive work or leisure computer.
The RPM of CPU fans varies between manufacturers, but you can check your CPU specifications for the RPM of your CPU fan. Typically, the normal RPM for CPU fans ranges from 3,500RPM to 4,000RPM.
- Low RPM: 2,500RPM and below
- Normal RPM: 3,500-4,000 RPM
- High RPM: 5,000RPM and above
Can You Set All The Fans at Max Speed While Gaming?
The faster the fan turns, the more resistance it has to endure on the ball bearing and the motor behind it. Although a fan is tested for a prolonged duration at maximum speed, the manufacturer expects the fan to not always be on nor be at maximum speed. So it will wear down the fan.
A CPU fan is more than just a fan. It is attached to the CPU with power pins/wires and a sensor that tells it how fast to run. If the CPU is heating, the sensor will make the fan run faster.
The CPU fan runs faster when you are gaming on the computer to keep the processor cool. Based on its type and model, there may be other fans on your computer.
A CPU fan runs at full speed whenever the temperature of the CPU increases. The processor generally uses a sensor that controls the fan speed.
If the CPU fan runs at full speed all the time, there might be something wrong either with the processor or the sensor (in the fan). It can also be an issue with the heatsink on the processor.
Instead of this, you should look at this article about how many fans are best while gaming.
Are 1000 RPM Fans Powerful Enough?
A higher RPM is traditionally noisier. However, it’s also better for a cool build. A 1000 RPM fan is a bit low, as most standard case fans are anywhere from 1400-1600 RPM, and you’d use a 1000RPM fan for a non-intensive work or leisure computer.
While it’s quieter, it’s not as viable or powerful as the 2000RPM fan. Some fans can achieve quietness and power, Corsair being the most popular.
CoolerMaster is also a venerable brand, but they’re more on the budget end, so expect good performance and some noise.
Where Should You Place the Fans in Gaming PCs?
Air travels one way through a fan, on one side and out the other. Changing the direction a fan is mounted can act as either an intake or exhaust.
It would help if you also heeded the placement of the fans. Air should travel in the clear path through the case. Generally, you want the case fans in front of the case drawing in the air while the fans at the rear blow air out.
If your case has vents at the top, they should be placed as exhaust fans because hot air will rise. Side-mounted fans should be used for intake, though they often don’t have air filters. To prevent dust issues, you can custom fabricate your filters.
By following the flow of physics, we can expedite the cooling process and work with nature rather than against it. Here are the basics of fan placement (the bare-bones model):
- 1x Fan in the bottom-front of the case, near the drive bays (intake).
- 1x Fan in the rear-top of the case, “behind” and above the CPU (exhaust).
- 1x Fan in the side of the case, across from the GPU (intake).
The above setup pulls air through the front channels through the drive bays (technically, this pushes hot air further into your case.
But the benefit of the channeling outweighs the difference in heat) around the video card out the exhaust fan.
The side fan forces air directly onto the hottest component (the video card), which is then swept up by the airstream produced by the front fan and escorted out of the rear exhaust fan.
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