If you've ever pushed your PC to its limits - whether you're a gamer or creative pro - you've probably noticed things can get pretty heated, literally! Without some serious cooling down, your computer's performance can take a hit and its lifespan can be seriously slashed. Well, that's where PC case fan kits step in. They're like a cool drink on a hot day for your PC. In this guide, we're going to dive into the world of PC fan kits and check out some of the best ones we currently have. So, buckle up and let's dive in! We present our top 3 picks for those looking to add PC cooling fans to their gaming rig!
How to Choose a PC Case Fan
Picking the right PC case fan kit for your gaming rig is an important step towards having an enhanced gaming experience. Before we get onto our recommendations, here are some factors to consider when choosing yours:
Fan size - Fans come in many sizes, with 120mm and 140mm being the most common. You'll need to determine what size your case can accommodate. A larger fan will typically move more air while spinning at a lower speed than a smaller fan, making it more efficient and quieter, but it will take up more room. Make sure to check your case's capacity. This information can typically be found in your case's manual or the manufacturer's website (otherwise you can measure the distance between the screw hole mounts on the case).
Noise Level - If silent operation or minimal noise is important for your gaming environment, check the noise level of the fans. Take note of the decibel measurements or dB(A) rating on the fan - the lower the dB(A), the quieter the operation. It's worth noting that larger models can often move the same amount of air as smaller counterparts but at lower speeds, reducing noise.
Airflow - The airflow of a fan is measured in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). The higher the CFM, the more air it pushes out, which generally means better cooling potential. Make sure to choose a fan with a CFM rating that suits your cooling needs. If your GPU and CPU run hot during gaming sessions, you'll need a higher CFM. Typically, larger fans or those with higher RPMs have higher CFM ratings.
RPM - A fan's speed is measured in Rotations Per Minute (RPM). Typically, the faster a fan spins, the more air it moves, but this also creates more noise. It's all about finding the right balance.
Lighting - Many modern fans come with built-in RGB lighting which can be a nice touch if you want your gaming rig to have a certain aesthetic. While all of the fans on this list have RGB lighting, there are variations you can opt for depending on if you want more or less lights - we've included some of those different options too.
Static Pressure - If your case has lots of obstructions like radiators or heatsinks, you'll want a fan optimised for high static pressure. High static pressure ensures airflow maintains momentum, allowing it to pass through these barriers effectively.
PWM Control - You may wish to look for a fan that has PWM, or Pulse Width Modulation. These fans have headers that connect to your motherboard, allowing it to control the fan speed depending on the temperature of your PC. PWM provides more precise control over fan speed, ensuring that the fan only spins as fast as necessary to keep the system cool. This can result in quieter operation and also save energy. To use a PWM fan, you'll need to ensure that your motherboard supports PWM control. PWM fans have a 4-pin connector, while standard (non-PWM) fans generally have a 3-pin connector.
Bearing Type - The bearing type primarily retlates to the way the fan's rotor (blades and hub) is supported and kept in place while it rotates. It significantly affects the fan’s performance, noise level, and lifespan. The different types include:
- Sleeve Bearings: Budget-friendly and quiet, but have a shorter lifespan, especially at high temperatures or when mounted vertically, due to the way lubrication works in the bearing.
- Ball Bearings: Longer lifespan and can stand higher temperatures compared to sleeve bearings. They can be noisier, but their life expectancy and performance are less affected by the mounting orientation.
- Rifle Bearings: A variant of sleeve bearings, rifle bearings employ a spiral groove to boost lubrication, improving life expectancy. They're comparably quiet, but somewhat pricier.
- Fluid Dynamic Bearings (FDB): Premium bearings designed to reduce friction and noise while increasing lifespan. FDB fans are generally quieter and durable, making them ideal for high-end systems, but they tend to be more expensive.
- Magnetic Bearings: Known as MagLev technology, they use a magnetic field to suspend the rotor, eliminating friction altogether. This leads to a very long life span and extremely quiet operation but at a higher cost.
Typically, for most users, a fan with either an FDB or a good-quality rifle bearing will be a good compromise between cost, noise level, and lifespan.
Additional Features - Many fans will be fairly similar in specs, so taking note of any additional features will be helpful too. Extra features like rubber pads for noise reduction, braided cables for aesthetics, or swappable color trims to match your build could be the tipping point between two similar fans.
Top PC Case Fan Kits
1. Lian Li UNI FAN SL120
The Lian Li UNI FAN SL120 V2 is a standout in the gaming world and for good reasons. Designed to keep your gaming rig cool under pressure, it offers a perfect blend of aesthetics and performance. This fan stands out with its unique interlocking mechanism that lets you connect up to four fans together, making the setup process a breeze and cabling less cluttered. With a modular connector design, it reduces the number of wires needed, ensuring a cleaner and more organised system. With its slide-in-lock mechanism, you can combine your fans in a way that’s somewhat similar to lego; fastening together to form a single block that’s ideal for 240mm placement all the way up to a massive 480mm. All of this makes the installation process much easier!
But it's not just about function; the SL120 V2 knows how to turn heads. With customizable ARGB (Addressable RGB) lighting, this fan knows how to put on a show. You can personalise your gaming rig's look with a multitude of colour options and light effects that sync effortlessly with your game flow.
As for performance, it doesn’t disappoint with a max airflow of 58.54 CFM and a noise level of 17 - 31 dBA, offering an optimal balance between cooling and sound. It also has a fluid dynamic bearing type for longer lifespan and reduced noise. In short, with the Lian Li UNI FAN SL120 V2, you are not just getting a fan; you're dialing up your gaming experience to a whole new level of cool, both literally and figuratively.
The Lian Li UNI FAN kit can be controlled either via the included controller and L-Connect software, or through connection to a motherboard with an ADD_LED (addressable LED) header.
If you want a bigger visual impact, check out the Lian Li UNI FAN SL Infinity Fan. While the SL120 has a distinctive, bright RGB light display, the SL Infinity features even more advanced lighting with 'Infinity Mirror' Design and double-sided RGB lighting that creates a unique, mirrored light loop effect which gives an impression of endless lighting.
Another option is the Lian Li Uni Fan AL120 - made from aluminum, it provides a more premium feel and look. But its charm isn't just skin-deep. The AL120 has superior RGB lighting effects which include an additional ring of light on the outer edge that makes it pop even more, elevating the look of your gaming rig. Performance-wise, it impresses with a maximum rated speed of 1900 RPM and an airflow that reaches up to 64.48 CFM, doing a stellar job at keeping your system cool even under pressure. Despite its power, it manages to stay relatively quiet with a noise level ranging between 17-28.3 dBA, so you can focus on your game without any distracting noise. While this one is technically better than the SL120, it ultimately comes down to personal preference as some gamers simply prefer the more simplified look of the SL120.
2. Cooler Master MasterFan MF120 Halo
MasterFan MF120 Halo provides a specific air cooling solution ideal for CPU coolers and chassis in-take fans. Its dual Loop Addressable RGB Lighting contributes to an incredibly vibrant display of colours while simultaneously generating high-pressure airflow, crucial for maintaining an efficient and well-operating system.
The MF120 Halo fan is fitted with multiple layers of Cooler Master’s exclusive noise reduction technologies and a perfect blend of fan blade design that put together work in harmony to cool your entire case and its components, in silence.
These fans can operate effectively from 650RPM all the way up to 1800RPM, so the cooling performance can be tailored to their position within the PC build and is more than capable of pushing airflow though the largest of chassis.
The aRGB cables also daisy chain for easy connection and this kit is compatible with ASUS AURA, Gigabyte FUSION RGB, MSi Mystic Light and ASrock Polychrome - so they’re a great addition to the majority of Gaming PC configs available today, or you can use the included controller to configure things with a hardware button. Cooler Masters also have their own in house software suite to configure the fan kit even more - it’s pretty great with any of the options above!
A real contender for the top spot, these Cooler Master MasterFan HALO kits are probably the most eye-catching with the fan blades catching the light in a beautiful way. For some extra flair, you could also check out the Cooler Master MF120 Prismatic. The MF120 Halo features a dual loop addressable RGB lighting design, whereas the MF120 Prismatic utilizes a tri-loop addressable RGB lighting design, delivering more varied light effects.
Check out the latest in the Cooler Master Store today!
3. Corsair QL140/QL120 RGB
Sporting a sleek and white facade, the Corsair QL 140 RGB RGB LED Fan doesn't just blend with your setup - it elevates it. To pair with its good looks, this fan has some serious lighting game. With 34 individually addressable RGB LEDs orchestrating a vibrant symphony across four distinct light loops, it brings a light show right into your battle station. Using the Corsair iCUE software, you can customize this spectacle to sync with your gaming mood and vibe.
This allows access to a range of truly mesmerizing animated lighting effects bringing your system to life with dynamic RGB lighting synchronised across all iCUE compatible products and even adding immersive integrated lighting to compatible games - so your PC will visually react to gameplay mechanics.
The Corsair QL140 aRGB 140mm fans feature a low noise fan blade which spins at up to 1,250 RPM to push a respectable amount of air around. Even at full clip, it keeps things whisper-quiet at a subtle 26 decibels, and the anti-vibration dampers keep things steady and fairly quiet.
A hydraulic bearing system seals the deal by ensuring smooth, reliable, long-lasting operation. You get all the cooling without having to worry about abrupt breakdowns or loud grinding sounds putting a dampener on your gaming sessions.
Corsair has also framed their QL 140 case fans in a sleek white colour option which is really nice to see, especially with so many of the new chassis and graphics cards we've been building with recently also coming in white - it's a perfect match.
Small touches, like having the metal Corsair logo in centre position front and back make these Corsair QL fans a great choice for builds that place them as a visible air intake.
Looking for glorious addressable LED effects and awesome cooling performance? Of course you are! Look for the QL140 Fan Kit in the mighty Corsair Store today! If you're after a 120mm fan, check out the QL120 Fan Kit here.
Check out our full range of PC Case Fans!
Woah those are some awesome fans! With so many awesome case fan options incoming to us here in New Zealand, I get the feeling this list os going to develop into a full-blown top 10 soon - so we'll just keep adding to our list with more of the latest and best as they arrive. In the mean time, check out the rest of our range below or by heading to our PC Cooling category!
Frequently Asked Questions
How many fans should I put in my PC?
The number of fans you should install in your PC largely depends on your PC case size, component power, and workload type. Typically, small cases may fit 2-3 fans, mid-tower cases can hold 3-5 fans, and full-tower cases can accommodate up to 7-10 fans. For basic computing or budget gaming, a configuration of one intake and one exhaust fan is often adequate. However, more intensive systems like high-end gaming PCs or workstations might benefit from two intake fans and one exhaust fan as a starting point. Overclocked or high-performance systems that generate significant heat might require even more fans: three intakes and two or three exhausts often work well. But remember, efficient airflow is more critical than fan quantity, and too many fans can increase noise. Larger fans might also be more efficient and quieter than several smaller ones.
Is it better to have more intake or exhaust fans?
In most cases, it's ideal to have a balance between intake and exhaust fans to maintain neutral air pressure within your PC case. However, if you have to choose, it's usually better to lean towards positive pressure—meaning more intake than exhaust fans. Positive pressure means there's more fresh, cooler air entering the case than leaving.
Should bottom fans be intake or exhaust?
Bottom PC fans should typically be configured as intake fans. The principle behind this configuration is that cool air naturally resides lower or closer to the ground. As bottom fans intake this cool air and funnel it upwards within the case, it can effectively cool internal components such as the GPU and CPU. Also, hot air tends to rise due to its lower density. Hence, it is more efficient to have top fans set to exhaust to remove the hot air. So in general, a combination of bottom fans as intake and top fans as exhaust aligns well with the natural physics of heat transfer.
Should I have fans on top of my PC case?
Adding fans to the top of your PC case can be beneficial due to the natural rise of heat, and configuring these as exhaust fans could assist in overall system cooling. However, their necessity depends on your particular setup. Larger cases with high-heat components often benefit more from top fans. If, however, your machine operates within safe temperatures with your current front-to-back airflow, additional top fans may not be necessary.
How long do case fans last?
The lifespan of case fans depends on their quality, bearing type, and usage conditions, but most good-quality fans can typically last around 30,000-60,000 hours of operation. That translates to around 3-7 years of continuous usage. Some high-end fans utilizing fluid dynamic (FDB) or magnetic bearings can have lifespans exceeding 100,000 hours, or more than a decade of constant operation. However, keep in mind these are just average estimates. Fans can last for a significantly shorter or longer time based on how often the PC is used, the conditions of the operating environment, and how well the fans are maintained. Regularly cleaning your fans and case to prevent dust build-up can significantly prolong the life of your fans.