The fans in your case are vital to keeping your whole system cool and running smoothly. That’s why you should always make sure they are in working order.
Case fans are one of the most heavily worked components of a PC. They often run continuously and because of that, case fans tend to wear out faster than other components. So, how often should you replace your case fans? That’s what we’re here to help you figure out.
In this article, we will go over the life expectancy of case fans, how to tell if your case fan is failing, why picking the right fan is important, and we’ll finish by telling you about a few of our favorite case fan brands for when it’s time for you to replace yours.
How Often Should You Replace Your Case Fans?
The Life Expectancy of Case Fans
When it comes to the lifespan of case fans, there are many factors that come into play. But on average, you can expect around 5-10 years in regards to high-quality case fans from renowned manufacturers.
But there are many cheap case fans out there that only last a few months to a few years if you’re lucky. These fans are attractive due to their low price point. But, take our advice, and make sure to only buy case fans from brand name companies. There’s a reason why cheap fans are so inexpensive when compared to name-brand fans, but we’ll get into all of that soon.
To get the most out of your case fans, you should adhere to a routine cleaning schedule. This means taking your computer apart and cleaning any dust that has built up. Having a regular cleaning routine is the best thing you can do for your computer, and we recommend cleaning everything every six months at a minimum.
Sometimes cleaning isn’t enough. If you use your computer a lot or never turn it off, then your fans are working constantly. This can wear out your case fan’s bearings, which is the most common reason they fail.
You can help ensure your fans keep spinning as long as possible by lubing the bearings every year or so. This can be done by removing the sticker on the fan to expose the fan’s shaft. Just drip a drop or two of machine oil on the shaft and lightly spin the blades by hand to help the oil seep into the bearings. When you’re done, place a piece of tape where the sticker was to prevent any dust from getting to the bearings.
Unfortunately, you can’t always count on your due diligence paying off. Like any mechanical part, wear and tear will eventually win in the end. Luckily, fans don’t usually die quietly.
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How to Tell if Your Case Fan is Failing
The problem with case fans is no matter how vigilant you are or how well you take care of your computer, they will eventually fail. Usually, when they start to go out, they’ll let you know.
One of the most obvious signs that your fan is going bad is random weird noises. This can come in the form of squeaking, rattling, or vibrations causing a ruckus.
Another telltale sign that your fan is suffering from problems is that your fan might just completely stop altogether. No warning, no noises, nothing. This is indicative of a seized bearing. This failure is more common in humid climates where rust could build up within the bearing housing causing a sudden failure. But make sure that your fan is actually shot and not on a quiet mode setting in your BIOS.
Quiet mode is a setting for your fans to only run when your computer’s internal temperatures reach a certain temp. Typically, this would be set for all fans and not just one. So, if you have only one fan that has stopped spinning, then it’s likely the fan and not a setting.
To avoid a premature failure of your fan, you want to keep on the lookout for fans from reputable brands. There are many manufacturers out there selling crap, and no one wants that.
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Why Brand Matters
While some of you might not care what brand you use, you should at least make sure you buy from a well-known company.
Cheap off-brand fans are made with inferior plastics, use low-grade traditional bearings, have poor quality control, and are less efficient in moving air. While they may be more affordable, you’ll end up replacing them sooner than case fans from reputable manufacturers, resulting in you spending more money in the long run.
More expensive name-brand fans are made with high-quality materials, use innovative bearing techniques such as magnetic levitation, and typically have much better quality control, which results in a longer-lasting case fan.
With such a vast selection of case fan brands to choose from, there’s no reason you should be buying crappy inferior fans.
Our Recommended Case Fan Brands
When it is inevitably time to replace your case fans, you should only buy from the known name brands. That way you know your money is being well spent. Here, we will tell you about a few of our favorites and explain why we chose them.
One of the best fan manufacturers in the world is Noctua. While they may not be very aesthetically pleasing, they are widely considered the best in the business. Noctua fans are rugged, quiet, and made to last. They use only the best materials and put performance over anything else.
Thermaltake is another contender for the number one spot when it comes to case fans. Unlike Noctua, Thermaltake cares about aesthetics almost as much as performance. Thermaltake fans come in a wide array of RGB and styles. But they tend to be a little louder than Noctua fans as a whole.
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Another one of our favorite fan brands is Cooler Master. Cooler Master fans offer a good mix between performance and aesthetics. They come in all kinds of colors and RGB styles. But in our experience, Cooler Master fans run louder at full speed and don’t have the same longevity as case fans from Noctua or Thermaltake.
Corsair also makes great case fans. These fans are usually geared toward RGB enthusiasts rather than performance junkies. But that’s not to say they aren’t good fans, they just don’t live up to the hype in our opinion. They have all kinds of flashy styles and tend to perform very well, but their longevity is lower than the others we’ve mentioned.
The brand isn’t the only thing you should consider when buying new case fans, however. The type of fan is important as well.
Okay, to be frank, any computer fan can be used as a case fan, but they won’t all be as efficient. You’ll see two primary types of fans for computers: high-pressure static fans and high-airflow fans.
Be sure to get high-airflow fans rather than static pressure fans for your case. High-airflow fans have more airfoils and thinner gaps between the blades to maximize the amount of air being moved. High-airflow fans move a lot of air, but not forcefully so. That means they are not the best for applications that require force such as radiators.
Static pressure fans are meant for liquid cooling radiators. They have fatter blades that are further apart to maximize the force at which the air is being moved. This is crucial for the fan to push or pull air through a radiator, as high-airflow fans don’t have the gusto to push air through radiator fins.
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Case fans are one of the most important parts of a computer. Without them, your PC will overheat. So to make sure your computer runs at optimal temperatures, you should always replace a fan as soon as it goes out.
But due to the nature of fans, the life expectancy varies wildly due to a number of factors such as environment, usage, etc. To get the most out of your fans, you should keep them clean and let them rest from time to time to extend the life of the bearings.
This wraps up our article. We hope we were able to help you figure out how often you should replace your case fans as well as help you find the right brand for your next replacement.
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