This blog post is part of a series on my experience building the perfect computer, where I discuss the various decisions that I made on the most efficient, reliable way to cool my computer's components.
Air cooling was only part of my solution. For more, see Water Cooling Part 1 and Part 2.
To decide which fans to choose, you need to consider the following:
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)
This tells you the volume of air pushed by a fan, given no resistance. Higher airflow is better; however, high airflow fans can sometimes have lower static pressure, which may be a defect if you are trying to cool a radiator. I equate this to horsepower in a car. Fans with higher airflow are best suited for pushing/pulling air through your case when a radiator does not obstruct them.
The amount of force behind airflow, which is like the amount of torque in a car. Fans with higher static pressure are best suited for pushing/pulling air through a radiator. For fans that use a radiator, you should look for static pressure of at least 2-3 mmH20.
In general, you will want to choose fans with the lowest noise possible that still gives you the performance you need. Luckily, most manufacturers are conscious of noise concerns. You should look for fans with a dBA of less than 30 or less than 20 if you want it to be very quiet.
There are two basic types of fan connectors, PWM ...
RPM In my opinion, this is the least essential metric to care about.
Aside: If you have a choice, make sure to choose fans with a relatively
high static pressure for pushing/pulling air past your radiator.
In my first build, I used Silent Wings. I was very impressed by their performance and build quality – if you are creating a build and don't care about going down RGB's route, I would highly recommend these.
Ultimately as I started to build out my iCue RGB system, I went for the Corsair QL120's. While the build quality and performance are not quite as good as the Silent Wings, the RGB features are immense, and their specs...