Best PC Case Fans in 2018
So what are 10 of the best PC Case Fans of 2018 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 2018.
Best Case Fans for PC's in 2018
- 1. MasterAir Pro 3 CPU Air Cooler Direct Contact Technology PC Case Fan
- 2. Corsair Hydro Series H100i v2 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler Case Fan
- 3. Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED CPU Cooler with PWM Fan
- 4. Scythe Slip Stream 120mm Case Fan
- 5. ARCTIC Freezer i32 – CPU Cooler PWM Sharing Technology
- 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
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 2018.
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 2018.
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 2018. 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 2018 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.