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How to Choose a Good CPU Fan

Mukulika Mukherjee
Does your CPU heat up too quickly? Well, then you probably need to get a new CPU fan. This story tells you how to choose the right one.

Did You Know?

The latest in the world of CPU coolers is the heat pipe technology, and it is highly efficient.
The central processing unit (CPU) of your computer can generate large amounts of heat, which if not dissipated properly, can damage the internal components, rendering your computer useless. You need to have a proper cooling system in order to ensure that the heat generated is effectively dissipated and your system remains cool.
The cooling system for your processor consists of a heat sink and a fan. The fan is attached to the heat sink, which is a block with numerous fins. The heat generated by the CPU is dissipated by the fins of the heat sink, and the airflow created by the movement of the blades of the fan helps to speed up the process.

Choosing a Good CPU Fan

It helps to know that the heat sink and fan that come with a new CPU are mostly of average quality, and only do a fair job in cooling your system.
If you want a computer that works silently, or if your computer has been overheating of late, then it's highly recommended that you invest in a high-quality fan and heat sink combination. So, how do you choose the right one for your processor? Just considering the following factors will help you.

1. Socket Type and Size

The first parameter that you should consider when choosing a CPU fan is the size and type of the socket in your CPU, and this applies even when you're choosing a heat sink. A fan that is not compatible with your CPU will do little to serve your purpose.
So, before you look for different designs of fans, make sure you refer to the computer manual to know the exact model of your processor, along with the size and type of its socket.

2. Noise Output

So, you've found a few nice makes of fans that are compatible with your CPU, but what next? Well, the next factor to consider is the noise output, which is the sound emitted by the fan during operation. The noise output is rated in Sones, and higher the rating, louder the fan. Note that a bigger fan emits lesser noise as compared to a fan of smaller size.

3. Airflow Rating

Airflow rating is the measure of the volume of air that the fan moves per minute. The higher the airflow rating, the higher the cooling capacity of the fan. The airflow rating is directly proportional to the number of rotations per minute (rpm).
A smaller fan has a higher rpm, and hence, can cool faster than a bigger fan. When you choose a fan, go for one that offers you a balance of both, airflow rating and noise output.

4. Overclocking

Overclocking is the process of operating your computer at a speed that is greater than the default clock frequency. It requires an increase in the operating voltage, resulting in increased consumption of power and increased heat generation. The excess heat generated must be dispersed effectively for the system to function properly and prevent damage.
So, if you're overclocking your system, it is highly recommended that you invest in an efficient cooling system (one with a high airflow rating) for your processor.

5. Case Clearance

The size of the fan you choose also depends on the case clearance, which is the amount of room available inside the CPU case and around the socket area. If you have a smaller case, then you have no option but to settle for a smaller fan, even if it's low noise output you're seeking.

6. Ambient Room Temperature

While it may not have occurred to you, but the temperature of the immediate surroundings does play a key role in your choice of a CPU fan. If you've placed your system in an air-conditioned environment, then you can probably go for a bigger CPU fan that moves less air.
However, if the temperature of your room is relatively warm, then you have no choice but to opt for a smaller fan with a higher airflow rating.
If you're planning to purchase a fan, just find out if it comes with a heat sink, so that you wouldn't have to purchase one separately. And in case you do have to purchase a heat sink, go for one that is made from copper, as opposed to aluminum. This is because copper conducts heat better than aluminum, and hence, is more effective in dissipating heat.