|power supply||Built into the power supply. Always included.||Make sure its fan is mounted so that it blows air out the back. If it is mounted to suck air into the case, a stray piece of paper could easily block the vents. In modern machines the fan is thermostatically controlled so it is runs only as fast as necessary. This makes a huge difference is how noisy the machine is.|
|CPU (Central Processing Unit) fan||Sometimes included with the CPU.||Glued with heat sink compound right to CPU. Blows air down onto the CPU. In modern machines the fan is thermostatically controlled so it is runs more slowly (and more silently) when the CPU is cool.|
|back case fan||Rarely included with the case.||Make sure it blows air out the back.|
|front case fan||Rarely included with the case.||Make sure it sucks air in the front.|
|hard drive fan||Never included.||Needed when you have more than one drive. Mount drives with a spare bay between them for air circulation if possible.|
|video card fan||Always included if required||Integrated into the video card.|
Cat hair and dust can clog them. If they fail, sometimes they can be repaired by cleaning. If the power supply fan fails, there is no need to buy a whole new power supply, just get a new fan.
When replacing a fan, take the old one in with you so you will get the exact same size and mountings. Electronic supply stores sell fans at a quarter the price of the usual retail outlets.
If you can’t find a new fan with compatible power connectors, you can cut part of the tail off your old fan and cut off part of the tail of the new fan and wire the old fan’s connector onto the new fan.
Cheap fans last about a year. Better quality fans have smoother bearings, last longer and run quieter.
Modern fans have sensors so that if something blocks them, e.g. An unsecured wire inside the case, they shut down the computer. There is no beep, no flashing lights. Your computer just sits there unable to run to tell you what the problem is.
As you add components, you increase the risk of overheating. The symptoms include:
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