Maximum Performance: Best Case Fans For Gaming PCs

Also called a system fan,  a case fan is typically mounted to the front or back of the computer case. The purpose of the case fan is to draw cooler air into the system from outside the case, move air along a heat sink for targeted cooling, and simultaneously blowing the hot air out of the case.

As a gamer, you know the sound of an overheating PC all too well. That tell-tale sign of an overworked fan.

While your computer came with a stock case fan, you may be considering an upgrade to give you the best possible air-cooled system for speed, performance, and reliability. And we can help you outfit your gaming PC with one of the best case fans for cooling and airflow on your PC build.

Best Case Fans For The Money (2019-2020)

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Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What to Consider Before Buying Case Fans

The right case fan will protect your computer components, preventing heat build-up and moving the heat away and out of the case.

If the heat is captured in the case for too long without an outlet or circulation, the extreme heat can cause component failure, overheating, and it can also severely compromise the lifespan of the computer part.

Some of the more common reasons you may be looking to upgrade your case fans is because:

  • You’re in the process of upgrading your PC
  • Your computer is not performing to spec
  • Your PC is generating a lot of heat.
  • You’re overclocking.
  • You want to tap into the extra fan features

Based on the key reasoning behind your case-fan upgrade, look at the relevant variables: size, power, cosmetics, air flow, and noise to determine the appropriate case fan.

Types

The two types of computer case fans are axial and centrifugal. They are powered and controlled via 3-pin and 4-pin connectors.

Size

The range of sized is between 25mm and 250 mm. More common sizes really range in the middle 80mm, 120mm, and 140mm.

You’re not just looking for the biggest fan, though. You also need to be sure that the fan is the appropriate size for the case.

You can find that information by reviewing the manual for your computer case. You’ll probably find a diagram and/or detailed specifics.

If you don’t have the manual easily accessible, you can usually find the information on the manufacturer’s website.

Power

Fans are powered by 12 volts supplied by the power supply the motherboard. The small Molex connector fans are designed to run off the motherboard with 2 pins.

Fans with a tachometer signal often have 3 pins, so the motherboard can read the fan’s RPM. Fans can also come with a PWM signal that allows speed control and typically come with 4 pins.

Although the 4-pin fans can be more expensive, they are also popular because they can help you control and reduce noise.

gaming pc

Aesthetics

While function is key to any case-fan decision, the aesthetics are often an important factor. With such a range of options for cases, the look of the fan(s) can make a big difference.

Even if you can see the fan while the computer is running, and even if aesthetics are super important to you, you should still put the performance of your machine above the coolness factor of flashing lights and a cool design.

The other reality is that the purposeful aesthetics feature may be adding a considerable cost differential. If you’re more for a cool-looking case fan that’s subpar in performance, it’s just not worth it.

You can still find case fans that still look cool, perform to the specifications you need, and will hopefully fit into your preferred price range.

Air Flow

The air flow is determined by cubic feet per minute (CFM), with the bigger number meaning that the fan is more effective at pushing air through the system.

Noise

The fan noise is measured in decibels (dB or dBA), and the typical range is from 10 dB to 36 dB.

The noise factor is not a deal-breaker for everyone, but it is a factor you can control, so it’s important to know that the noise can be directly related to the fan design, the proximity of the blades to each other, and the type of bearings.

Our Top Gaming PC Case Fans Reviewed

Still not sure which case fan is the best option for you? Check out our best case fan reviews below to see what our team recommends for gamers like you.

1. Corsair ML120, 120mm Premium Magnetic Levitation Fan (2-Pack)

The Corsair ML120 is a top-rated fan, with a custom rotor design that delivers high-static pressure and high airflow.

Sale
Corsair ML120, 120mm Premium Magnetic Levitation Fan (2-Pack)
  • Magnetic Bearing: harnesses magnetic Levitation technology to provide lower noise, higher performance, and a longer lifespan.. Air flow - 75 CFM. Noise level - 35.0 decibels
  • Custom rotor design: Delivers the perfect balance between high static pressure and high airflow, operating flawlessly in the most challenging environments
  • Extensive control range: a 2, 000 RPM control range gives you total control between silence and absolute performance

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Makes This Case Fan Stand Out?

  • Flawless performance
  • 2,000 control range
  • 4-pin fan connector

2. be quiet! Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM High-Speed, BL070, Cooling Fan

The be quiet! Silent Wings 3 is designed to support low power consumption and less vibration, which also means this state-of-the-art fan is virtually noiseless and it has a long-life expectancy.

be quiet! Silent Wings 3 120mm PWM High-Speed, BL070, Cooling Fan
  • Great performance-to-noise ratio with 28.6Db(a) at 2, 200Rpm. Air flow - 73.33 CFM. Noise level - 28.6 decibels
  • 6-Pole fan motor for less power consumption and vibration
  • Fluid-dynamic bearing enables super-long life span of 300, 000 hours
  • Fan frame with funnel-shaped air inlets for extremely high air pressure
  • Seven fan blades provide optimized airflow

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Makes This Case Fan Stand Out?

  • Great performance
  • Removeable anti-vibration mounting
  • Advanced fluid-dynamic bearing (perfect for water- and air-cooled systems)

3. Noctua NF-F12 PWM, Premium Quiet Fan, 4-Pin (120mm, Brown)

The Noctua NF-F12 PWM is designed to be a premium quiet fan with a FocusedFlow frame design to support superior cooling and high-static pressure.

Sale
Noctua NF-F12 PWM, Premium Quiet Fan, 4-Pin (120mm, Brown)
  • Premium quiet fan, 120x120x25 mm, 12V, 4-pin PWM, max. 1500 RPM, max. 22.4 dB(A), >150,000 h MTTF
  • Award-winning 120x25mm fan with FocusedFlow frame for high static pressure and superior quiet cooling performance
  • Ideal for CPU heatsinks (e.g. Noctua NH-U12(S) series) and water cooling radiators, perfect replacement fan for loud all-in-one (AIO) coolers
  • 4-pin PWM version for automatic speed control via 4-pin PWM fan headers, broad 300-1500rpm speed range (1200rpm max. with supplied Low-Noise Adaptor)
  • Includes anti-vibration mounts, fan screws, Low-Noise Adaptor, extension cable and y-cable for running two PWM fans on the same header

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Makes This Case Fan Stand Out?

  • Award-winning fan
  • Great solution for water-cooling radiators and CPU heatsinks
  • With anti-vibration mounts and a Low-Noise Adapter, the 4-Pin PWN fan supports automatic speed control.

4. Corsair Air Series AF120 Performance Edition Single Fan

The Corsair Air Series AF120 is quiet and reliable with noise reduction, custom-molded blades, an advanced hydraulic bearing system, and three colored rings.

Corsair Air Series AF120 Performance Edition Single Fan
  • Fan Size 120mm x 25mm
  • Noise (dBA) 30 dBA
  • Airflow (CFM) 63.47 CFM
  • Static Pressure (mm/H2O) 1.1 mm/H2O
  • 1650 rpm

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Makes This Case Fan Stand Out?

  • 9 ultra-thin, custom-molded blades
  • Advanced hydraulic system
  • Rubber corners to reduce noise

5. Thermaltake Ring 12 High Static Pressure Circular Ring Red LED Case/Radiator Fan with Anti-Vibration Mounting System Triple Pack Cooling CL-F055-PL12RE-A

The Thermaltake Ring 12 supports cooling performance with hydraulic bearings and an optimized fan-blade design.

The patented LED ring supports white, red, blue, and green color options, while the anti-vibration system offers silent running with high-performance capabilities.

Thermaltake RIING 120mm Red LED Ultra Quiet High Airflow Computer Case Fan, CL-F047-PL12RE-A , Pack of Two
  • Twin Pack x 120mm Red LED Computer Case/ Radiator Fans
  • Noise Reduction Level by 24% from 24.6 dBA to 18.7 dBA.
  • High Airflow: 12/14 40.6/51.1CFM.
  • Concentrated Compression Blade: the CCB is engineered to focus the inner weaker circle of air outwards, allowing the outer section to pressurize and compress the air.
  • Anti-vibration Mounting System: In-mold injection anti-vibration rubber pads provide hassle-free usage for 80% protection coverage, including all four corners.

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Makes This Case Fan Stand Out?

  • Patented LED ring
  • Concentrated compression blades (CCB)
  • The anti-vibration system features in-mold injection anti-vibration rubber pads

Summary: Top Case Fans Comparisons

Here’s a quick summary of our top case fans with a look at the current pricing on Amazon.

Last update on 2019-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

top image credit: Marco Verch, Flickr, CC 2.0

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