Best PC Case Fans in 2017
So what are 10 of the best PC Case Fans of 2017 and why do you care? Well, are you building a PC? Upgrading the CPU or planning to do some overclocking? If this is what you are into then you already know that cooling is an important issue in the PC world and that there are as many opinions (and solutions) out there as there are grains of sand on the beach.
Do you crave ‘silent running’ – or don’t you mind if your system sounds like a hurricane wrapped in a cyclone mating with a tornado in heat? Do you want to risk water cooling (just one drip…. and your machine is toast!) or are you into more experimental solutions like oil baths and liquid Helium? Whatever you need, we’ve got you covered as we take a quick look at 10 of the best PC case fans of 2017.
Best Case Fans for PC's in 2017
- 1. MasterAir Pro 3 CPU Air Cooler with Continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 PC Case Fan
- 2. Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler PC Case Fan
- 3. Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED CPU Cooler with PWM Fan, Four Direct Contact Heat Pipes, Unique Blade Design
- 4. Scythe Slip Stream 120mm Case Fan
- 5. ARCTIC Freezer i32 – CPU Cooler with 120 mm PWM Fan for Intel with New Fan Controller
- 6. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 CPU Cooler
- 7. Thermalright True Spirit 140 Power
- 8. Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 CPU Cooler with 120mm Low Noise Fans
- 9. Cryorig R1 Ultimate CR-R1A Dual Tower CPU Heatsink
- 10. MasterLiquid Pro 240 All-In-One MasterFan
MasterAir Pro 3 CPU Air Cooler with Continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 PC Case Fan
Our Expert Review
A budget beating product, the MasterAir Pro 3 is a mini-tower design that offers great features. It has patented X-vents which directs a precise combination of air flow onto the heat sink. Thanks to the Direct Contact Technology 2.0 you get a 45% base in contact with the CPU - which leads to better heat dissipation and so maximises your PC’s cooling system.
If you require near silent operation of your PC then this is one to look at. The design of the brackets with anti-vibration pad ensures whisper quite running. Bear in mind that if you are planning to do any major overclocking, then the it does tend to run a little more noisily, this is not an issue if you are not going to have any heavy gaming sessions or do high overclocking though.
This is a 92mm so it will fit into cases where the standard 120mm would not work. Great for smaller cases or if you are doing your own case mod.
The Pro 3 has a stacked fin array that results in less airflow resistance and maximises that all important flow of air through the case – it never helps if the CPU one only blows already hot air onto the heat sink! The speed of the fans range from 650 to 3000 RPM.
Removing and replacing fans is made easy with the MasterAir Pro 3 with its intuitive bracket design, simply pin it to your motherboard using the push-pin bracket using only your fingers (less stress and strain on the motherboard), or choose the sturdier X-bracket. All MasterAir Pro 3 CPU Air come with thermal paste.
Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler PC Case Fan
Our Expert Review
If air helps move heat around, it is nothing compared to water. Water is far more effective at absorbing and moving heat. As temperature problems in PCs grew so people started to figure out how water is used to cool a PC, despite the great downside of (spilled / leaked) water and electricity not mixing well. Meet the first of our water cooled contenders!
If you your PC is highly overclocked then this is the one you need. The 240mm radiator and dual SP120L PWM fans of the Corsair Hyrdo Series give you excellent heat dissipation. You can monitor CPU temperature and control lighting and speed without the need for any additional hardware using the supplied Corsair Link Monitoring and Control module. The Corsair is a completely self-contained liquid types that is prefilled and you will never need to refill it during its lifespan.
The fans on the Corsair Hydro offer high static pressure air delivery that allow for very little turbulence and quiet operation. The Corsair allows you can customise the balance between cooling and noise using Link.
The Corsair Hydro Series is easy to install, with very few tools needed. It is also compatible with both Intel and AMD processors. It uses large diameter, low permeability tubing to extend its lifespan and ensure excellent leak protection. The Corsair Hydro Series comes with pre-applied thermal paste on the cooling block. There is a lot of wiring to deal with but that is not a major problem if you work carefully and are sure to neaten it all up once installed. Once operational the Corsair Hydro Series will light up with a white LED light, the light changes colour based on the temperature.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED CPU Cooler with PWM Fan, Four Direct Contact Heat Pipes, Unique Blade Design
Our Expert Review
An upgrade form the well-loved 212 EVO this sports an upgraded Heat Sink which improves heat dissipation. The mounting system in the 212 LED has also been tweaked to make it virtually painless to install using a snap cover for mounting.
The Hyper 212 LED comes with 4 6mm, u-shaped copper heat pipes with funnel shaped aluminium fins which pass through the baseplate making direct contact with the CPU and giving you excellent heat dissipation. The EVO had the same basic design but the LED adds the small improvement of leaving gaps between the pipes, so improving airflow.
The LED comes with a PWM type and you can add an optional extra 120mm fan for increased cooling performance. The 120mm PWM comes with anti-vibration rubber pad and a wide 600-2000 RPM range.
Just for pizazz, if you get a Hyper 212 LED, you are not only getting and upgrade for your CPU fan but also jazzing up the look of your PC as this product has 7 translucent blades with red LED lighting (you got to have a translucent case wall for this to mean anything though).
All in all, you get a good computer fan here that can tame an overclocked CPU with ease.
Scythe Slip Stream 120mm Case Fan
Our Expert Review
This is a good 120mm case fan, it has a range of different speeds which will suite both power users and silent users.These 120mm case fans generate approximately 20-40 percent more airflow and are one of the most silent and efficient computer case fans on the market.
The power user can get even more airflow from the static pressure feature found in the Scythe, not only that but they can chose from 5 different RPM speeds from 500 - 1900 RPM. The silent user also benefits here from more airflow but keeping quiet operation.This product comes with a 4-pin peripheral adapter to make it very versatile.
ARCTIC Freezer i32 – CPU Cooler with 120 mm PWM Fan for Intel with New Fan Controller
Our Expert Review
This is an all-in-one liquid cooling system that is low-cost but high in features. One of the most interesting of these features is that there is a F12 fan included that only spins up once the CPU is under load.
In the box you get your standard accessories - but that is not many as you might expect as Arctic’s i32 only supports Intel sockets. You get the Arctic F12, a slim heat sink unit with 4 copper heatpipes (the heatpipes are off-centre to enable greater heat dissipation), fan clips, washers, pides, etc.
Installation of the i32 is fairly easy, although there are some smaller bits that make it quite fiddly, for example having to install a rubber washer on the four corners of the fan. Once you have mastered the washers, it is simple to snap together using the two standard clips.
The F12 is very quiet when idle as it only spins up when the CPU is under pressure, and even then the noise levels are negligible.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 CPU Cooler
Our Expert Review
The 212 EVO has one of the best direct contact bases of all computer fans. It has a Heat Sink what is covered in copper with only a minuscule stripe across the surface. The Hyper 212 EVO has the ‘new’ CDC or Continuous Direct Contact. This pushes the heat pipes much closer together than the previous 212+, eliminating these gaps and this in turn increases the heat transfer capability of the base. It operates at 2000 RPM and moves a lot of air at 83CFM.
Included in the accessories that you get with this product are universal backplate and mounting crossbars, nuts and screws for its mounting, four rubber dampening pads as well as plastic rails and screws in order to attach and additional optional fan, Hex tool and thermal plate. You also get a quite comprehensive manual.
Installing and uninstalling this product is very easy and only takes a second or two to accomplish. There are not a lot of the wires, wire fan clips or rubber nails that make some other systems really painful to install.
This product has great idle temperatures, due, in main, to the direct interface between the CPU and the cooling system. The one downside is that it does not cope that well with heavy loads, but for a small product it still performs well.
Thermalright True Spirit 140 Power
Our Expert Review
This is a very compact 140mm computer cooling fan that should not present any problems with clearance issues in regards the mainboard components or RAM modules. The Themalright True Spirit has TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 360W and boasts 6 x 8mm heat pipes. This is a high performance product that can compete even under the harshest conditions.
The ULTRA style heat sink fin array, with copper base levels gives the True Spirit and excellent heat sink quality. It supports many platforms which makes it very versatile.
The True Spirit comes with a 140mm fan (make sure your case is big enough) and a large Heat Sink. It cools efficiently, keeping the heat levels low even when overclocking. It allows for a much higher overclock than comparative ones. It is easy to install and it comes with clips that are compatible with 120mm and 140mm fans.
Even though it is very tall (it measures 170mm in height) it is very narrow and this helps to accommodate 2 fans without encroaching on the memory Heat Sink or the motherboard. This on its own will make it very desirable for high powered users looking for an alternative to expensive AIO cooling system.
The one down side of this product is the installation, it has 10 tiny screws which makes it very difficult and finicky to mount.
Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 CPU Cooler with 120mm Low Noise Fans
Our Expert Review
Typically products of this magnitude also demand a large asking price but the Arctic Liquid Freezer comes in at lower than normal. It comes with four F12 fans, a 38mm radiator and a small compact and minimalistic design. Each of the fans comes with a long 60cm PWM cable that affords extra flexibility and these operate at a maximum of 1350 RPM
The radiator on the Liquid Freezer 240 is thicker than most similar ones at 38mm in depth, this gives it a performance boost as it allows for a wider surface area which gives extra heat dissipation.
The Arctic Liquid Freezer also comes with rubber tubing and not braided hoses, this allows for added flexibility and no resistance when mounting and installing the pump.
Because the fans are interconnected and only the last one plugs into the header on your motherboard, only one header is needed and this negates the need for a controller or PWM hub.
The total thickness of the radiator with a one on either side is 88mm and this could interfere with the motherboard, it is recommended that you check the dimensions of your system before purchasing this product.
The installation is very simple and even the novice should have no trouble installing this AIO cooling system.
Most important of all is that this is the best AIO cooling system as its performance in both quiet operation and cooling in testing is exceptional and easily beats out the rest of competition.
Cryorig R1 Ultimate CR-R1A Dual Tower CPU Heatsink
Our Expert Review
For those who want cooling without risking the water method. The Cryorig R1 is a great dual-tower CPU cooling system and has such innovative features such as DirectCompass Soldering, Heat Sink Displacement Optimization, Jet Fin Acceleration System, Heat Pipe Convex Align and High Precision Low Noise sleeve bearings for their fans.
The Cryorig R1 has seven heat pipes spread across a copper base in Cryorig’s Heat Pipe Convex Align System. These seven pipes are also soldered into the aluminium fins using the DirectCompress method, which gives you 10% more surface contact.
It comes with two XFR140mm fans and they have rubber applied to their bases to avoid vibration. The fans can spin at speeds between 700 and 1300 RPM and deliver up to 76 CFM each.
It is compatible with many different motherboards and installs very simply in five easy steps. For AMD users it comes with an omni-directional mounting plate to ensure that it will orientate correctly in the chassis.
The noise factor on these fans is reduced by using low noise PWM fans with acoustic noise cancellation absorbers on them. Although not the most silent, it does not generate enough noise to irritate during heaviest of gaming sessions when using the PWM functionality.
The Cryorig R1 comes with a three year warranty and an extended warranty if you register the product with them.
MasterLiquid Pro 240 All-In-One MasterFan
Our Expert Review
This cooling system is the first to sport the new FlowOp Technology. This refers to the holistic design and the flow of liquid around it for specific optimisation and quieter, more powerful and longer lasting that other products.
It uses the 240mm aluminium radiator (which at only 27mm is a slimline model) to give it maximum compatibility. The fins are an all-black design and are very densely packed, they are also squared rather than rounded, and this gives them a greater surface area for heat absorption from the radiator channels. It is not designed to refilled or expanded.
The Pro 240 AIO is designed with FEP tubing instead of rubber; the tubes are flexible and anti-kink and long enough to do the job.
The pump unit on this product is what is most noticeable. It is tall and has two separate chambers. The top one is where the water flows up to, the lower one is where the water is jet-sprayed in a concentrated flow. The pump uses a custom driver that is very quiet.
It comes with two MasterFan 120 Air Balance Fans. These fans have nine blades and they are meant to bring balance between airflow and static pressure. They both have neatly braided four-pin PWM cables. They have rubberised mounting corners and do not mount directly on to the radiator but on to a supplied rubber bracket, this acts effectively as a rubber washer between the two.
Overall the mounting process is easy and quick, with one exception, there is nothing to hold the backplate construction in place and holding it there while you place the first nuts becomes a rather tricky endeavour.
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More Information about PC Fans
Firstly: Chips run at 30° – 40°when idle. Just sitting there, doing nothing. When running intensive computing tasks (or gaming) that temperature can shoot up and could easily get over 100°.
Secondly: Heat is the enemy. Of just about anything man made. Heat warps, distorts, makes brittle, changes conductivity, etc., etc. Too much heat in your computer is like letting the Zombie Apocalypse virus loose – it might start slowly, but it inevitably makes a huge mess of things. Your motherboard, your CPU, your GPU, your Hard Drive, your RAM… All these precious components are just waiting to fail when exposed to too much heat.
Thirdly: YOU NEED COOLING. Period. Gotta try and get that temperature down into the 40°- 50° range – or at MAXIMUM 50° – 60°! For that you need fans. Lots of them. But which fans and where do they go?
Generally, except for in lower-powered computers (which are passively cooled), you will find a minimum of four fans in your PC Case. These are the intake fan, exhaust fan, CPU and PSU fans. Intake fans draw cool air into the case and are usually mounted at the bottom in the front of the casing. Exhaust fans are mostly found at the top to the rear of the casing and they expel the hot air. These two fans work together to try to ensure that a flow of air passes through your PC case.
On top of the CPU, you will find a convoluted metal grid called a heat sink. The heat sink takes heat from the CPU and exposes as much of itself to air (that’s why it has so many ridges and convolutions) to maximize the amount of heat that the air can carry away. On top of this heatsink the CPU can also get its own fan – blasting air directly onto the heat sink instead of just relying on the air passing through the case to do the cooling work. The PSU (power supply) converts 110v / 220v AC into the lower DC voltages the computer actually works with – and it generates its own heat and so it has its own fan (interestingly in the first PCs the PSU fan was the only cooling a computer needed). Finally, the GPU often gets its own fan as well.
Engineers don’t like to do things in an aimless, purposeless way – so you got to think that if they design all these fans into a PC, then it’s pretty much a certainty that they are essential. So if you are building upgrading or overclocking you are changing the amount of heat your PC generates – and you’d better do some research and make sure you include the best fans for the job.
Buyers Guide Questions
What is a cooler fan?
A cooler fan is what a fan that is found inside or attached to a computer case in order to disperse the hot air generated by the CPU during operation.
These fans can either draw cooler air in, expel warmer air or disperse air over a heat sink to cool a particular component such as a CPU, GPU, RAM or ROM. As the power and capabilities of computer components have increased over the years, so has the amount of heat generated by their operation. The components of a computer need to be kept at a regulated temperature to ensure optimal performance. Computers are susceptible to damage from overheating which can result in failures of any single component or the computer as a whole. Active cooling methods have been standard on all desktop computers since 1997 and it has become common practice to find five or more fans located in your modern PC.
There are a number of different types of cooler fans, the Case Mount fan is used to move air through the case, these types of box fans will generally draw cooler air into the case through the (preferably the front) bottom of the case which will allow the air to move over the hard drive and other internal components before expelling it from the (preferably the rear) top of the case.
The CPU fan is used in conjunction with a Heat Sink to cool the CPU of a computer. A Graphics Card Fan is used to cool the Heat Sink of the GPU or the memory on a standard graphics card. The Chipset Fan, this fan is generally used if you are going to overclock your computer. There are a few other types of fans specifically designed for certain components but they are not commonly used.
Does my CPU need a cooler fan?
Absolutely your CPU needs a cooler fan. A CPU without sufficient cooling will not function optimally, it will slowly, or sometimes very quickly, deteriorate until it burns out. Cooling is one of the most important aspects and all CPU’s need to be looked after in this regards. All PCU’s and some CPU’s need cooling fans specific unto themselves, not only a case fan, to dissipate the heat that is generated by your computer’s operation. The PSU generally will use a fan that expels air from the computer, an exhaust fan if you like. If you are not overclocking your CPU then the standard cooler that you get with your CPU will suffice, however, if you are going to be overclocking then you will need to invest in an aftermarket CPU cooler.
Your computer may need more than one fan depending on what you are going to be using your computer for. If you are a graphic designer then your GPU or graphics processing unit will also require special attention using a Heat Sink and fan to keep it at optimal performance levels. Fans attached to the specific components often use a Heat Sink in order to optimize cooling for these specialized components. Sometimes there is also a need for cooling fans to cool chips down, as it has been said before but cannot be emphasized enough, cooling is critical to your CPU operating at optimal levels.
How do I change the direction of the cooler fan?
- So you have just installed your CPU fan only to find that it is blowing in the opposite direction to the through case airflow generated by the case fans. Bummer. That’s why you ask the question.
The simple answer to this question is you don’t. These fans are made to flow in one direction, their blades are curved to blow in a specific direction and if you change that direction by, for example, changing the polarity, then the blades will barely push any air at all.
These fans are not built to change their rotation. They have safety mechanisms to prevent them from reversing the flow. The only real option is to remove the fan and physically turn it around in order to change the direction of the fan. This is easily done as the fan can be physically removed and then turned around and resetting it into the case.
How do you replace a cooler fan?
The first question you need to ask is if you have a faulty fan. If your PC is making excessive noise then the chances are you will need to replace a fan that is not operational.
Before you open your PC to make the replacement make sure it is powered off. Check if you have only the plastic clips holding the fan in place or if they are secured by screws.
If the PC fan is secured by screws then you will need a Philips head screwdriver. First, you will remove the old damaged fan by unscrewing it from the case, also make sure that you unplug it from the header or MOLEX connection. Once the old fan is removed you can insert the new one by holding it in the mounting position, make sure that the holes on the case and the holes for the screws line up neatly. Screw the new fan into place. You will then have to reattach the fan to the header.
If the PC fan is secured by the plastic clips then it is simple to unsnap the clips and remove the old fan, replacing it with the new one and snapping it in. Then you also need to reconnect the fan to the header.
Finally, you will have to make sure that the wires are properly routed so as not to make contact with the blades of the fan. To do this you could use zip-ties. If your wires do come in contact with the fan head then you could stop the fan from spinning or, in the worst case scenario, damage the cable.
Choosing the best cooler fan?
All PC’s come with stock case fans, but if you want the best performance boost you can get you are going to have to invest in some aftermarket cooling fans. These range not only in size but shape and color and speed. Different fans also offer different capabilities, like high airflow or low noise level. If you want to jazz up your PC some fans even come with LED lighting!
There are several issues you need to consider when deciding what kind of cooling system would be the best one for you:
Do you plan to overclock?
You almost certainly need a water cooled system. Although there are some air coolers that can compete, they are few and far between.
Do you game with standard kit running at spec speeds?
If you are truly high end then you may need water cooling, but if you don’t overclock you can use one of the beefier air only systems.
How important is noise?
If you want silent running then water cooling is generally quieter than fan only systems, although again there are exceptions to this rule.
- How risk averse are you?
Most of the time the liquid in the pipes is not pure water and contains additives to avoid catastrophe when leaks occur. But if you are risk averse then avoid water cooling, because you never know…
Another important decision you will make is what size fan do you need?
It would not be any use getting the best case fan on the market only to find that it does not fit your case. And don’t only check the size of the case. Check the space between CPU and RAM, the gap between CPU and GPU, the space taken up by the chipset heatsink – etc. If something doesn’t fit, there’s not much you can do to make it fit except curse and swear and trudge back off to the store to try and get something the right size.
Does the size matter in any other way you ask? Well in this case it does. The size of your cooler fan will affect two major aspects, namely your airflow and noise levels. The bigger the fan size the more air it can push at a lower speed. Lower speed means less noise (that whiny fan sound is usually from smaller fans running at high speeds). Again this will depend on the size of your case. Most cooling fans come in standard sizes, from 40mm to 120mm.
The decision of what the best computer case fan for your needs depends on what you will be using your computer for.
Best cooler fans
So what are the best cooler fans? Do you choose AIO Liquid coolers or air coolers? What is the best gaming PC fans? These are all good questions. There are many “best” cooler fans in different categories. What are you looking to use your PC for? Are you going to be overclocking, or are you going to be doing some heavy gaming or do you need something exceptionally quiet?
The best gaming PC fans are those that can operate with a low noise level and high-performance level, heavy gaming often involves overclocking your CPU, most gamers will tell you that an AIO Liquid cooler is the best case cooling fans for gaming PC’s. If you are looking for aesthetics then the LED lighting becomes an important aspect in your search for the best cooler fan. If you are setting up a media center then you will be looking for the best silent case fans.
The best computer fans are often the ones that are well known and a little pricier. Cheaper fans generally have a lower lifespan coupled with a higher noise, less cooling and more often than not are not compatible with many CPU’s.
We have given you an insight into some of the best on the market covering both Air and Liquid coolers.
Cooler Master fans have a very good reputation and come with many thousands of great reviews over the years. If you are looking for a cooling fan that is one of the best budget cooling fans then you can look at one of the Cooler Master series. We have reviewed a few above to give you some insight such as the Masterliquid Pro 240 All-In-One Master Fan and Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 CPU Cooler. If budget and performance drive your choice then have a look at the MasterAir Pro 3 CPU Air Cooler with continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 PC Case Fan.
Then there is Thermalright which is an elite design house that specializes in the manufacture of computer components, we have featured the Thermalright True Spirit 140mm fan that made it onto our list of the best PC case fans for 2017.
Cryorig is a new player on the scene and we reviewed their R1 dual tower cooler and found it also has a place as one of the 10 best PC case fans of 2017.
ARCTIC coolers in the form of the Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 CPU Cooler with 120w low noise fans as well as the ARCTIC Freezer i32 – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan for Intel with New Fan Controller make the list as great PC case fans. Corsair liquid coolers in the Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler PC Case Fan also make our list.
The Scythe Slip Stream 120mm Case Fan comes in as one of the 10 best 120mm fan case fans on the market, not only does it have great airflow it can also cope with moderate overclocking.
The MasterAir Pro 3 CPU Air Cooler with continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 PC Case Fan comes in as one of the 10 best budget beating case fans for 2017. With near silent operation, CDC 2.0 base design and great price this is one to beat.
As we said in the introduction, PC Case Fans and coolers are essential for the health and wellbeing of your computer, if you do not provide adequate cooling systems then your computer’s lifespan will definitely be short and you will find yourself in a pickle. The best computer case fans make your computer not only run silently but provide the necessary cooling off and if you are lucky, jazz up your computer as well with LED lighting.
Ultimately you need to know what you are going to use your computer for and then chose one of the 10 best PC Case Fans to suite your needs. If you are planning on doing heavy overclocking or need something for gaming PC’s then you need to look at going for liquid cooling systems. These two players produce some of the best on the market in the form of Liquid cooling.
MasterAir Pro 3 CPU Air Cooler with Continuous Direct Contact Technology 2.0 PC Case Fan. A great PC Case Fan and a standout with its 2.0 base design and near silent operation. This is also one of the better priced cooling fans, so it is a win, win with both operational performance and budget.
Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler PC Case Fan. This liquid cooler gives you efficient heat dispersion and very low noise overall. It can handle anything from basic to heavy overclocking operations and the cherry on the top is that it is super easy to install. Everything you want or need is to be found in this PC Case Fan.
Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED CPU Cooler with PWM Fan. Four Direct contract heat pipes, Unique Blade Design. Although this is not going to give you the best performance under heavy overclocking conditions, it copes well with moderate overclocking. Low noise levels and a great price put this in as a PC Case Fan gives you great value for money. Add to that you can jazz up your computer with the LED fan light.
10 of the best PC Case Fans of 2017 include both Liquid and Air based cooling systems. Liquid cooling is best for high power overclocking users as well as high powered gamers, however there are some air cooling systems that can also cut the mustard as it were in this area. Ultimately the best cooling fan for you is the one that suits your needs.