How Many Fans Are Best for a Gaming PC?

how many fans are best for a gaming pc

If you’ve been playing games on your PC for a while now, you probably already know the importance of keeping your system cool. An overheated PC can affect the quality of your game, you’ll experience some serious lagging and it can totally ruin your mood. This is where installing case fans can come in handy for you. They can prevent your PC from overheating which means that you’ll be able to enjoy a seamless and smooth gaming experience.

Now, you might be wondering, “How many case fans do I need?” to keep my system cool? Well, if you search it up on the internet, you’ll see that people usually go for 2 case fans for exhausting the heat and 2 for intaking the cool air. It’s different for different PCs and it also depends on the kind of games you play. To find out the right answer, today we’ll discuss it all in detail.

Understand How The Airflow Works On A Gaming PC?

Before we get into the whole “how many case fans do I need?” question, it’s important to first understand how these fans work. For starters, there are exhaust fans and then there are the intake fans. When the heat inside your PC’s components has nowhere to go, the temperature increases. This is where exhaust fans come into action.

Hey, by the way, are you eager to learn about airflows and how to control your fan speed for maximum gaming performance? Check out our article on how to control fan speed.

I found an interesting article for you to control a fan speed

These fans just pull away from the heat from your PC but that’s not enough, right? You need fans that can keep the airflow constant so this is where you need intake fans. The main purpose of intake fans is to bring fresh and cool air into your system so that it keeps operating properly.

Will Stacking Fans Increase The Airflow?

Stacking fans is never a good idea whether it’s the exhaust fan or the intake fan. What happens when you stack fans is that the front fan will interfere with the second fan and ultimately less air will be pulled out and less cool air will be pushed in.

Are Two 2 Fans Enough For A Gaming PC?

First of all, having too many case fans can ruin your main purpose of installing the fans in the first place. As far as the question of two fans is concerned, well, it all depends on the configuration of the case and the hardware. Usually, having two fans (one exhaust fan at the back and one intake fan on the front) is more than enough. Especially for low-end gaming, you should only install 2 fans.

However, if you want to play some GPU and CPU-intensive games then 2/1 and 3/1 will work just fine for you. Excessive fans will be of no use to you. Instead, they might increase the temperature of your PC to a whole other level so it’s never a good idea.

Are 140mm Fans Better Than 120mm Fans?

Now that you know the answer to “how many fans should a gaming PC have?”, the next big decision to make is whether you want a 140mm fan or a 120mm fan. When deciding the right size, your main focus should be the “Airflow”. It’s simple to understand that the better the airflow, the cooler your PC will be.

Usually, people think that the bigger the better but that’s not the case here. A 140mm fan might seem like a great idea to you but it’s not because a fan that big won’t bring efficient airflow because it won’t spin as well as a 120mm fan. With a 120mm fan you’ll get a good spin and a good airflow too so this should be your first priority!

What RPM Should My PC Fans Be?

Running your case fans at the maximum speed is never a good idea because that will just shorten their lifespan. The perfect RPM lies between 900 and 1000. The reason is that it’s of utmost importance that you balance the airflow with the noise. To enjoy a smooth gaming experience, you wouldn’t want case fans that make too much noise, right? This is why you have to consider the right RPM.

Moreover, running the fans at different speeds is another major blunder because that can have a negative impact on the airflow. Both the exhaust and the intake fans should run at an equal speed so that the components of your PC can perform properly without overheating.

Liquid Cooling-Is It Better Than Installing A Fan Case?

When it comes to cooling your PC down, you have two options – install case fans or opt for liquid cooling. Liquid cooling is basically all about installing a water cooler or a water block to keep the temperature down.

The structure of your cooling changes at a whole other level when you install a water cooler. The best combination is to have intake fans on the front side of your PC and a liquid cooler at the top of your system. This will totally prevent your system from overheating even if you are playing high-end, GPU, or CPU-intensive games.

How Does Liquid Cooling Work?

Water cooling is a bit complex as compared to fan cooling but when done right, the results are totally worth it. As far as the working is concerned, liquid cooling is similar to fan cooling.

When you install a water cooler, the heat from your CPU is transferred to the liquid, the liquid then passes through the radiator where it cools down and it’s then sent back the water block through tubes and fins. This cycle continues. However, to keep the temperature of the radiator low, you have to send the heat away somewhere, this is where the fans come into action.

Liquid Cooling Radiator Fans

Just like what we discussed above, the radiator of the water block needs a source to get rid of all the heat. There are exhaust fans attached to the radiator that can suck up the heat to keep the temperature down.

Can A Liquid Cooling Radiator Fan Act As A Case Fan?

Yes, liquid cooling radiator fans can act as case fans but it’s not going to be good enough for the airflow. These fans perform the same job as the intake fans but if you want everything to go smooth then it’s better to have separate original intake fans installed at the front of the PC. Whereas the water block can stay on top of the PC and perform its function. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Liquid cooling better than fan cooling?

Yes, to some extent liquid cooling your PC is a better idea than installing case fans because of the noise that these fans make. If noise isn’t something you can compromise on then water cooling is the best solution for you.

Is 5 Fans Too Much?

The more fans you install, the more trouble you’ll have at keeping the airflow optimal. 2 fans are perfect for your average gaming experience. Anything more than that requires some serious considerations.

Do I Really Need Fans For My PC?

Yes, you do need fans for your PC especially if you are a gaming geek or someone who uses some heavy duty editing software. Dealing with the heat of your PC at the right time is of utmost importance if you want things to work smoothly.

Is Fan Cooling Effective?

Yes, fan cooling is effective and that also explains why it’s famous all around the world. People usually install case fans on their PC to prevent it from overheating or burning up.

Can Case Fans Boost My Gaming Experience?

Case fans can make a huge difference in your gaming experience. Imagine having no lags, no crashes and perfect image quality when playing games on your PC? If that’s what you want then you need to install case fans or opt for a water block right away.


The simple answer to your question of “how many case fans do I need?” is “2”. It usually depends on the configuration of your case but if you aren’t opting for any high end, high power games then 2 fans are more than enough for optimal airflow.

If fan cooling isn’t something that appeals to you then you can always go for the second method which is to use a water block. Liquid cooling is also a very effective and efficient way to keep the temperature of your system down.

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