Cooling performance is entirely a function of case fans and component fans. The primary component fans dwell on the CPU cooler (either a tower fan or radiator fans), the power supply, and the video card. The CPU cooler’s fans are connected to CPU_FAN headers on the motherboard, the power supply’s fan is wired internally and requires no user intervention, and the same is true for the video card as for the power supply.
Case fans are responsible for funneling that air into the system, of course, for use by the component fans. Case fans ensure lower internal ambient temperatures and help prevent temperature build-up inside the case.
Case fans should be pre-installed in your enclosure, but if you’d like to move them around or install different fans, we’ve done some testing on this.
Here’s an example on how air should travel inside the NZXT Manta:
Here’s an excerpt from the post:
“A general rule seems to be that system builders should avoid top-mounted exhaust fans, as those may actually end up “stealing” cool intake from both the CPU and GPU, assuming a tower cooler or rear-mounted radiator.
Assuming a 120mm radiator, our recommendation is to run NZXT’s stock configuration (2x 120mm intake, 1x 120mm exhaust) with no additional top exhaust fans, as those may hinder GPU cooling potential. The rear exhaust fan will receive the front intake from the radiator and exhaust its slightly warmed air, leaving the GPU to intake from the lower front fan. For larger radiator setups, the cooling potential of a 240/280mm CLC is so great that a top-mount – although it will yield warmer temperatures than a front-mount – will ensure the GPU doesn’t get suffocated for cool air. We would recommend mounting larger radiators in the top as push (exhaust) setups.”
How to Install Fans
- Place the fan on the case in the direction you want air to flow
- Screw fan to case
- Make sure the cable is left exposed and doesn’t get stuck under the motherboard when installed.
It’s important to install case fans correctly. Additional fans should be installed pursuant to their location in the case. Generally, match the fans with whatever’s pre-installed in the enclosure – front is normally intake, rear is normally exhaust. Top can be either, depending on the case setup. To determine which is the correct orientation for the fan, observe the location of the manufacturer’s sticker on said fan – that’s the direction into which the air is blowing. You can also look at the curve of the fan’s blades to determine how it’s carving the air, or spin by hand and feel for airflow.
In the case of a fan with stickers on both sides, and if you’re not sure which way the fan’s blades are oriented just by a glance, check for directional arrows in the plastic. Some fans will use arrows/engravings to inform the user as to airflow paths. Holding paper in front of a powered fan will also reveal airflow.
As for radiator fans, those generally use longer screws. The radiator fan gets mounted to the radiator by using a screw that mounts through the entire fan (in one side, out the other). A few threads will be exposed on the other side, used for the radiator install. You’ll then mount the radiator to the case (normally on the other side) by using four more screws. – Steve Burke, GamersNexus