Gearing up to upgrade or build your own PC? One essential component often overlooked is the humble PC fan. Let’s dive into the intricacies of PC fan sizes.

Introduction to PC Fan Sizes

In the vast world of PC components, from powerful processors to dazzling graphics cards, the PC fan might seem like a minor player. However, the right fan size can greatly influence your PC’s performance and longevity. But how do you determine the right size?

Why PC Fan Size Matters

Airflow and Cooling Efficiency

The primary role of a PC fan is to ensure adequate airflow, keeping the components cool. A fan that’s too small might not provide sufficient cooling, especially during resource-intensive tasks, while an excessively large fan might not fit or could be overkill for your setup.

Noise Levels

Bigger fans can run at lower speeds to move the same amount of air as smaller fans, which often means they’re quieter. But this isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule; the quality and design of the fan also influence its noise levels.

Breakdown of the Most Common PC Fan Sizes

80mm Fans

The smallest standard size for PC fans, 80mm fans are typically found in smaller cases or older models. They can be a tad noisier due to their size, but they’re efficient for compact setups.

120mm Fans

Arguably the most popular fan size, 120mm strikes a balance between airflow and noise. It’s the go-to size for many mid-tower cases, offering efficient cooling for a variety of components.

140mm Fans

A tad larger than the 120mm, the 140mm fans offer even better airflow at a similarly low noise level. They’re ideal for larger cases or systems that need more efficient cooling, like high-end gaming rigs.

200mm Fans

These are the giants of the PC fan world. Their large size ensures maximum airflow at minimal RPMs, meaning they can be incredibly quiet. They’re commonly found in full-tower cases or cases designed for extreme cooling.

Selecting the Right Fan Size for Your PC

Case Dimensions

Before anything else, measure your case. The last thing you want is to buy a fan that doesn’t fit. Most cases will list their supported fan sizes.

Desired Performance

Are you building a high-end gaming PC or a simple workstation? The performance and heat output of your components should guide your fan size choice.


The fan might not be the flashiest component in your PC, but it plays a critical role. Whether you’re assembling a new PC or upgrading, selecting the appropriate fan size can be the difference between smooth operation and overheating frustrations.