How Many Cooling Fans Do You Need In a Gaming PC?

When building a PC you have 2 choices either air-cooled or water-cooled the most common choice amongst these is an air-cooled pc because it is much more affordable. This leaves us with the question how many cooling fans do you need for your gaming PC?

Computer exhaust case fan

3 cooling fans are usually the standard to keep your PC cool. Having 2 intake fans at the front and 1 exhaust fan at the back allows for optimal airflow and cooling throughout your PC. Using 2 case fans to cool your PC is still possible, but it won’t give you the optimal cooling that your PC needs under big loads.

It is important to have good airflow so that you can keep your PC cool and prevent it from overheating and prevent your computer from damaging itself.

Are 2 Case Fans Enough For a Gaming PC?

If somehow you aren’t able to get at least 3 case fans for your PC and are stuck with only 2 case fans, you will still be able to adequately cool your in most situations.

Cooling your PC with only 2 case fans can be tricky if you want to keep your whole PC cool.

In order to get the optimal airflow and cooling out of 2 case fans, you should have one intake fan at the front of your PC and 1 exhaust fan on the back of your PC.

You should try to have the fans lined up in the middle of your case so that you can get as much air running through as many PC parts as possible.

2 intake case fans at the front of the pc

The reason why you should do this is that if the fans are at the top of your case the airflow will only be able to reach the top half of your PC, which can greatly increase the chance of parts overheating if they are installed at the bottom of your case and vise versa.

If you own a big computer case like an ATX or an XL-ATX case, then the two fans should both be placed at the front of your PC as 2 intake face stacked right on top of each other.

The reason for this is that you want to try to have air fully circulating the PC. You won’t get a smooth consistent airflow because you won’t have an exhaust fan, but at least you will have air flowing through the majority of your computer.

How Many Case Fans Are Too Many?

You might think having 5, 6, or even 10 case fans are a lot, but there are many PC builds that use up to 15 case fans to cool their PC, but does the more case fans you use actually benefit your PC, or could it even be damaging to your PC?

The short answer is no.

Having more fans on your PC won’t harm or change the performance of your gaming computer, but there is also a point where those extra fans become unnecessary because your computer is already cool enough with fewer fans.

having a few extra fans can benefit your PC especially if you have a bigger computer case so that you can have airflow throughout every knock and cranny, but having an excess amount of case fans in your PC can use a lot of power and create a lot of unnecessary noise that you don’t want to hear.

I would say that if you have 5 fans your PC will have no problem with overheating as 5 fans will allow you to have airflow going through your whole PC.

For my PC I use 4 fans to cool my system. 2 intake fans and 2 exhaust fans.

I heavily overclock my computer and my computer temperatures are stable. I have no problem with overheating and no damage is being done to any of my computer parts.

I think my cooling would still be fine even if I only had 3 fans, but I have the 4th one just in case.

What you should take away from this is that you can use as many case fans as you want, but it will get to a point where your PC can only be cooled so much and those extra fans won’t matter.

How Many Exhaust Fans Do You Need?

If you are trying to figure out where you should put your case fans in your case and whether you should have another exhaust fan or intake fan, then it really depends on your case size, and how many fan slots you have.

In a typical world, you want to try to have as many exhaust fans as you do intake fans. If you have 2 fans then you want to have 1 intake fan and 1 exhaust fan. If you have 4 fans then you want to have 2 intake fans and 2 exhaust fans.

However, if you happen to have an odd number of fans then you should have 1 less exhaust fan for every intake fan.

Exhaust fan at the back of the computer

For example, if you have 3 case fans then you would want to have 2 intake fans and 1 exhaust fan. If you have 5 fans you would want to have 3 intake and 2 exhaust fans.

You should also note that depending on what kind of case you have will determine where you can place your fans and how many fans you can place inside your gaming computer.

Use the guide that I just explained above to figure out how you can position your fans so that you can have that proper intake to exhaust fan ratio.

FAQ: About Case Fans

Do More Case Fans Create Less Noise?

Yes, having more case fans can create less noise because if you have more fans then they don’t have to work as hard so they will make less noise.

The faster a fan moves the more noise it makes.

Do You Need a CPU Cooler If Your Case Has Fans?

Yes, you still need a CPU cooler even if your computer case has fans. It doesn’t matter how many case fans you have because it won’t be enough to cool down your CPU directly.

The reason for this is because your CPU needs to be cooled directly or else it won’t work and that’s the reason why you need a CPU cooler.

Here is an article about Managing Your CPU Heat.

Do You Need Case Fans On Top Of Your PC Case?

Typically, you do not need case fans on top of your case, but if you do you should have an exhaust fan on the top because hot air tends to rise and you want to hot air to leave your computer.

If you have an intake fan on the top of your computer then you will only be pushing the hot air down further into the case which is the opposite of what you want.

An intake fan on the top of your computer case will also disrupt the airflow of all the other fans, which might cause overheating.

Lucas Coulson

I first got into building my own computer when I was around 12 or 13. The first computer I had ever built didn't work. So I kept researching to figure what I did wrong. I really enjoyed researching, learning, and building computers, so I decided to turn it into an online business, and here I am.

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