Gaming computers are basically like any other computers. However, gaming PCs are typically equipped with more powerful processors and video cards. In this case, gaming PCs also tend to consume more power which translates to higher temperatures. This is where computer fans come into play. These are the best PC fans you can buy today.
Computer fans boost airflow into your gaming PC which helps in keeping your computer components like cool. This helps in keeping your gaming PC fast and stable for long periods of gaming sessions.
Before reviewing some of the best PC fans for gaming setups. Let us first identify some computer case airflow setups. This helps circulate air into your computer hardware efficiently for better performance and lower temperatures.
When setting up your computer fans, it is important to remember this basic principle that air should flow from front-to-back or bottom-to-top.
This means that your intake fans should be mounted at the front or bottom of your case. On the other hand, exhaust fans that blow out hot air from your computer should be mounted at the top or back of your computer case.
Now, any fans can be mounted for exhaust or intake. All you need to remember is the orientation that you would mount the fan on your case.
The part of your fan with grills indicates that the air would come out from that side. So, if you would use your fan as an intake make sure that the grills of the fans are facing the inside part of the computer case and vise versa if you would use it as an exhaust.
Now, let’s proceed to the actual review of the best PC fans for gaming setups.
Let’s get started.
First on our list is Noctua NF-S12B fan. Noctua has been a trusted favorite among PC builders for a good reason. Their fans are known for silent operation that doesn’t lack airflow.
It features a self-stabilizing oil-pressure bearing. This helps a lot in keeping the fan quiet when running on higher RPM. The Noctua NF-S12B has an RPM range of 400 – 1200. This leaves plenty of room for customization based on your preference.
Unlike other Noctua fans, the NF-S12B has a gray and black color that blends well on most gaming PC builds compared to the weird brown color accent in other Noctua models.
Now, it may lack the fancy RGB lighting that you would get on other PC fans. But, the Noctua NF-S12B is a great example of function over aesthetics. It would surely give you excellent cooling performance and outstanding durability.
If you are looking for a computer fan that has RGB, then you should definitely checkout the Corsair LL120 RGB Fan. This one is packed with a lot of LED lighting!
First off, it has an RGB LED light attached to the rotor which shines light across the length of each fan blade. This LED setup makes it really appealing to the eyes as it spins. Then, there’s a separate ring light on the outer casing of the fan making it perfect for all the RGB lovers out there.
Now, enough with the aesthetics and let’s get down to performance. The Corsair LL120 is equipped with a hydraulic bearing that allows the fan to last up to 300,000 hours, but it is a bit loud compared to self-stabilizing oil bearings.
For the speed, the LL120 features a dynamic speed adjustment ranging from 360 RPM up to 2,200 RPM. This allows you to customize the fan speed to maximize airflow or minimize fan noise.
To sum things up, the Corsair LL120 is solid PC fan for gaming setups. It is still quieter compared to other non-Noctua fans and can run at a much higher RPM if you want more airflow.
However, to purchase the Corsair LL120 you would need to purchase a three-pack of fans that costs over a hundred dollars which is quite expensive especially if you don’t need three fans for your gaming PC.
Okay, so maybe the Corsair LL120 is out of your budget or you don’t need three PC fans for your gaming rig. Check out the Cooler Master MF120 fan, it is also RGB and can be purchased individually per piece.
Just like the LL120 the Cooler Master MF120 also features an RGB LED light attached to the rotor that sheds light through the entire fan blades making it an eye candy when it spins. It also has a ring light attached to the outer casing of the fan, but here’s the catch! There’s also a dual RGB LED ring on the side of the fan. So, if you are really into RGB lighting, then the Cooler Master MF120 is the right option for you.
When it comes to performance, the MF120 RGB fan packs a rifle bearing type system which allows it to operate quietly on higher fan speeds, but not as quiet compared to hydraulic and self-stabilizing oil bearings.
The Cooler Master MF120 also allows dynamic speed adjustment that ranges from 650 RPM up to 1,800 RPM that gives you full control in maximizing airflow or minimizing fan noise.
In terms of airflow, the Cooler Master MF120 matches some Noctua fans when set to its maximum RPM. However, if you get annoyed by loud fan noise, then there’s no way that you would be comfortable in running the fans at max RPM as the MF120 can get really loud on high RPMs.
If you don’t care about RGB and prefer maximum airflow that comes with lesser noise, then you should consider getting the Noctua NF-A 12×25 PWM. It has the classic Noctua brown accent design that prioritizes performance and quiet operation over aesthetics and design.
The Noctua NF-A PWM also has a self-stabilizing oil pressure bearing that allows the fan to produce lesser noise when running at higher RMPs. You can control the fans output speed that ranges from 450 RPM up to 2000 RPM.
Now, let’s be honest. No fan at 2000 RPM would stay quiet however, the Noctua NF-A PWM still manages to keep the fan noise lower compared to other 120 MM fans in the market.
In summary, the Noctua NF-A is a good PC fan to consider if you want to maximize airflow on your gaming rig to ensure that your PC would perform at its peak all the time. However, the brown color of the fan may not go well with the theme of your build.
Last on our list is the budget-friendly Scythe Kaze Flex. If you compare it with expensive brands like Noctua and Corsair it would really feel cheap from the packaging up to the actual fans.
However, considering that it is less than half of the price of most high-end PC fans. The Scythe Kaze Flex is still worth considering. For less than $15 you get a fan that features a fluid dynamic type bearing which still performs miles better compared to the ordinary ball bearings on cheap computer fans.
When it comes to fan speed, the Kaze Flex can reach up to 1,200 RPM and has a minimum speed of 300 RPM. In terms of noise, the Kaze Flex is considerably quiet even when running at its max RPM. The only downside is you don’t get enough airflow from the fan as it only has a max speed of 1,200 RPM.
If you are not running crazy hardware specs for your gaming rigs like dual graphics card or processors with high core count and high TDPs, then installing two or three of these Kaze Flex fans would be enough for your PC.