Installing a Fan in a Computer (with Pictures)

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Installing a Fan in a Computer (with Pictures)
Installing a Fan in a Computer (with Pictures)

Computers are complex pieces of technology with countless components that all have to work properly. Fans are an essential part of any computer as they provide cool airflow over the components. If your computer overheats, or you need to replace an existing fan, installing a new fan can help lower the temperature and even make the computer quieter.


Part 1 of 3: Buying a fan

Install a Computer Fan Step 1

Step 1. Check the specifications of your computer case

There are 2 sizes most commonly used for fans in computers: 80mm and 120mm. Your computer may support multiple sizes, such as 60mm or 140mm. If you are not sure, remove one of the installed fans and take it to your computer store.

Most modern cabinets have 120mm fans

Install a Computer Fan Step 2

Step 2. Check out your computer case

Look for empty places where you can install a fan. You will find these on each side of the computer. Each cabinet is constructed differently and has its own maximum for the number of possible fans.

Install a Computer Fan Step 3

Step 3. Choose large fans, if possible

If your cabinet supports multiple sizes of fans, please choose a larger size. 120mm fans are significantly quieter and move a lot more air, compared to the less efficient, smaller fans.

Install a Computer Fan Step 4

Step 4. Compare different fans

Read the spec sheets and experiences of others to compare the different fans. Look for fans that are quieter and more reliable. Fans are usually very cheap and you may be able to get a discount if you buy several. Some of the more popular manufacturers are:

  • Cooler Master
  • evercool
  • Deep Cool
  • corsair
  • thermal take
Install a Computer Fan Step 5

Step 5. Choose between LED or standard

If you want to add a little flair to your cabinet, you can purchase LED fans. These ensure that your cabinet lights up in different colors, but they are a bit more expensive.

Part 2 of 3: Opening the closet

Install a Computer Fan Step 6

Step 1. Remove the side panel

You have to remove the side panel from the computer to access the inside. Use the screws on the back of the computer to remove the side panel. This is the panel opposite the panel where the motherboard is attached.

Make sure the computer is turned off and the power cord is unplugged

Install a Computer Fan Step 7

Step 2. Ground yourself You should always ground yourself before working on the inside of a computer

Electrostatic discharge can seriously damage components. You can purchase an electrostatic wristband, or you can ground yourself by touching a metal water tap.

Continue to ground yourself while working with the computer to ensure that no further charge can build up

Install a Computer Fan Step 8

Step 3. Locate all fan vents

There are several openings in the cabinet for installing a fan. You can find these all over the closet, depending on the model.

Install a Computer Fan Step 9

Step 4. Locate the power connectors on the motherboard

These can be found everywhere, and maybe there are only a few. Connections for fans are usually labeled CHA_FAN# or SYS_FAN#. If you're having trouble locating the connectors, check your motherboard's documentation.

If you have more fans than connectors, you can use Molex adapters to control additional fans

Part 3 of 3: Configuring the fans

Install a Computer Fan Step 10

Step 1. Understand how efficient air cooling works

The fans in your computer don't just blow air over your components. This is not the most efficient way to cool your computer. Instead, fans are supposed to move air through your computer, constantly flowing fresh air over the components.

Install a Computer Fan Step 11

Step 2. Examine the fan

Fans move air in a certain direction, which is indicated by an arrow, printed on the top of the housing. If no arrow is printed, you can examine the label on the fan mechanism. The air usually flows out on the side where the sticker is stuck.

Install a Computer Fan Step 12

Step 3. Place your fans in such a way that a wind tunnel is created

You make the wind tunnel by placing suction and blowing fans. Usually you will want to place more blowing fans than suction fans, because this ensures that a kind of vacuum is created in the cabinet. If that is the case, all the small openings and crevices in the cabinet will also start sucking in cool air.

  • Back - The power supply on the back of a computer has a fan that blows the air out. Place another fan on the back of the case that is also intended to blow air out.
  • Front - Install a fan on the front of your computer that draws in air. If possible, place a two-front fan in the hard drive slot (if possible).
  • Side - Side fans should be set up as exhaust. Most cases do support a fan on the side.
  • Top – A top fan should be set to draw air in. It may seem logical to place an exhaust just at the top, but this usually leads to too much air flowing out, without enough air coming in its place.
Install a Computer Fan Step 13

Step 4. Install the fans

Fasten the fan with the corresponding screws. Make sure it is securely fastened, otherwise the fan will make too much noise. Screw the fan on tightly, but don't overdo it, as you may want to remove the fan later.

  • Make sure that the power cables, including those of the fan itself, cannot get caught between the propellers. Use zip ties to keep it out of the way, if necessary.
  • If it is difficult to hold the fan in place while screwing it on, use a few pieces of masking tape to secure it until the screws are tightened. Be careful not to tape any other components or circuits.
Install a Computer Fan Step 14

Step 5. Connect the fans to your motherboard

If you have too many fans, or the fan cables are not long enough to reach the connectors, use a Molex adapter to connect the fans directly to your power supply.

If the fans are connected directly to the power supply, it is not possible to control the speed of the fans in the BIOS; they always run at full speed

Install a Computer Fan Step 15

Step 6. Close the case of your computer

Make sure the housing of your PC is closed before you start testing the fans. Cabinets and fans are designed with airflow in mind, and an open cabinet negates this. Open cabinets have a much less efficient airflow than a closed cabinet.

Install a Computer Fan Step 16

Step 7. Monitor your fans

If the fans are connected to the motherboard, you can check if they are working properly through the BIOS. You can also control the fan speed via the BIOS. Use a program like SpeedFan to control the speed of your fans from within Windows.

Install a Computer Fan Step 17

Step 8. Monitor your computer's temperature

It's nice if your fans are running fine, but the goal is, of course, that the components in your PC stay cool. Download a program to monitor the temperature in your computer (SpeedFan can do this for you too). If your computer is still getting too hot, you may want to move or reorient the fans, or consider more extreme cooling methods.

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