Heat Is The Enemy
Air cooling using fans has been the primary cooling method for the last couple of decades. When building a gaming PC you should always keep in mind that electricity creates heat. The more powerful components your Gaming PC has the better cooling it will need. Every computer component has a maximum temperature. Going close or above these temperatures will not only crash your machine but even break the component. The last thing you want is for your PC to break down after spending so much time and money building it. But throwing fans in all directions will not do the job. Fan positioning is critical to pulling cool air in and pushing the hot air out.
Pulling Vs Pushing Air
The first step starts with choosing a case where you can mount fans where you need them. Having as many fans as possible is not as important as mounting them where they should be. As proven by science, hot air rises and this is important to keep in mind when installing your case fans. Ideally, you want to pull in cool air from the bottom and push it out the top and back of the case. If you are new to building gaming PCs, the fans will pull or push depending on which side they are installed. Here is the fan positioning I recommend:
- Front bottom pulls cool air in
- Inside the case bottom pulls cool air in and helps push hot air to the top
- Back pushes hot air out
- Top pushes hot air out
- Bonus: Side panel case pulls cool air in
Positive Vs Negative Pressure
Just when you thought it was that simple, fan positioning gets a little more tricky. Positive vs Negative pressure is not only important to cooling but also to keep your PC clean inside.
Positive – There is more cool air coming in the case than hot air exiting.
Negative – There is more hot air exiting than cool air coming in.
How does this happen? It all has to do with CFM-Cubic Feet per Minute. CFM is the measure of air volume moved by the fan blower. Each fan has a CFM rating. Fans don’t create air but rather move air. There is much debate about which is better positive or negative air pressure. But I will settle this argument by saying neutral is the best. A balanced air flow is ideal and prevents fans working against each other. To start off you want to match the intake CFM to exhaust CFM but adjustment might be needed along the way. Signs of too much positive pressure include excessive dust accumulation. This is a good way to know whether to make an adjustment or not. Ultimately you need to make adjustments and monitor overall PC temperature under full load.