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Gaming fans in a PC aren’t just for gamers anymore. These are a worthy investment for anyone putting strain on their PC, including filmmakers, photographers, editors, or casual users looking to make sure their machine is ready to handle anything.
Even just a few years ago, there weren’t that many fan brands and types to choose from. But now it’s a whole different game. A number of new companies have sprung up, offering various types and specialties, and the original manufacturers have stepped it up too.
What Are the Best Gaming Fans?
Here’s a few basic things to consider when shopping for the best gaming fan online, whether you’re building a PC from scratch or want to optimize an existing one for best performance:
Speed: This can really vary across the board, depending on what you’re doing with your PC and how hard you generally push it: 1000-3000rpm is a safe range, or if you’re looking for something quieter, under 1000. Fans don’t run at 100% all the time either. On average, they’ll be spinning steadily at about 70%, and only kicking into high gear at 90-100% when things really heat up, up over 2000rpm, even up to 5000rpm for extreme builds. Also, the bigger the fan, the slower the RPM, since it’ll require more power to give it the torque necessary to spin at the speeds you want.
Blades: Static pressure and air flow, for example, require different blade designs to do their jobs. A static pressure fan has wider, thicker, flatter blades and is better at overcoming anything that might block airflow like a large filter. These help pull their air in, and the thicker blades give it less chance to escape backwards the way it came in, while reducing static pressure too. Air flow fans have thinner, curvier blades and bigger spaces in between them, moving a larger volume of air through once it’s inside. Generally, the smaller the fan, the higher the static pressure it’s going to be, because it’s a smaller, more focused area of airflow.
Extras: While RGB lighting isn’t necessary for function, it’s still a major part of most fans, and something companies have learned that users want. Linking cables together is easier than ever now too, with most including clips to connect them up to each other, or even pins built onto the frame to snap them together. A better, tougher material can help cut down on noise too. A sealed and secured core around the center will also prevent dust and debris from getting inside, or any lubricant to leak out.
1. Lian Li UNI Fan SL120
This three-pack of fans lets you connect them together, providing power as well as RGB lighting up to as many as four at a time. One power cable and one RGB cable controls them all, cutting way down on clutter.
The included control box can handle up to four fans, but connect it up to a cluster and add up to 16 total fans to your setup. These are on the thicker side (and also loud), so be sure you’ve got room for them wherever you plan on mounting. You’ll also need to use the Lian Li software to get these going.
2. Corsair QL Series
The bright RGB lights aren’t the only thing that’s glowing about this fan – it’s also easy to set up and use. These case fans can act as exhaust or intake, and provide the performance that Corsair has become known for throughout the past decade.
The light display is dazzling, with 34 individual addressable lights in each fan, but this brings its A-game for performance too. They spin at a 1500rpm peak and are nicely quiet.
3. Thermaltake Pure 12 ARGB 5V
Lighting is all over the place here, even in the power supply unit, giving this gaming fan a glow that’s unmatched and controlled with the included remote. Plus it’s easily compatible with common 5V capable motherboards from brands like Asus and Gigabyte.
These run quietly and efficiently, though the cables are extra long, so be sure to have a good cable management system in place.
4. Noctua NF-P12
This affordable and quiet fan has an optimized blade design for increased airflow, with vortex-control notches that help spread out and dissipate noise.
You can even add on anti-vibration pads for further dampening of sound, along with creating a cool color scheme to go along with the rest of your customized build. This is a simple but powerful gaming fan that’s suitable for a variety of uses.