Inside Your Computer, Part 4: Fans and Cooling

This is the fourth part in an ongoing series about the parts and pieces that make up the innards of your computer.
This time I will talk about the fans and ways of cooling your PC.

First off, why do PC’s even need cooling? As the electrons that compose electricity move along wires, they generate heat. The faster they move, or the more of them that are moving, the more heat that is generated.

As I mentioned in the previous post in this series, the CPU and other components generate a lot of heat, which has to go somewhere.

A CPU has a heatsink and a fan to dissipate its built-up heat, but that heat has to go somewhere too. So, now we come to case fans (or chassis fans). The are the fans that pull in cool outside air and exhaust the hot inside air.

Every computer you buy has at least two fans that come with it, even laptops. One is the CPU fan and one is the power supply fan.

If you put your hand behind a computer’s case, you will feel a breeze of warm air. That is the power supply fan keeping the power supply cool, and in the process helping to keep the computer cool as well.

These fans usually come in three sizes, 60mm, 80mm, and 120mm; or small, medium and large.

Computer cases, except for the small ones, can usually add one or two more fans. Some cases can add several fans; fans for cooling hard drives, cooling the RAM, cooling the chipset, even.

Why? Because cold computers work better, faster and longer. Think of it this way; do you work better when it is 110 degrees out or when it is 70?

In the continuation of this post, I will talk about the other ways of cooling your PC: Water, Immersion, and Peltier.