Think your PC is too hot and its cooling system isn’t doing its job well, but you don’t have the money to upgrade it? Then you might have considered overclocking the fans to make them run faster and cool better. Is it a good idea to do so, or is there no apparent benefit, and what are the consequences?
One of the questions that at first glance may seem absurd concerns the speed of the fans that we have in our PC. What happens if we make them work faster? Will it result in an advantage in system performance and cooling or, failing that, only in more noise and greater consumption?
We can find fans in various places on our PC and not exactly in small quantities. Unless we’re pulling liquid cooling solutions into our system. They are not only found in the case that protects all the components of our computer, but also in the heatsink that is placed above the CPU and even in the graphics card where we usually have several fans.
The job of these is known to most of us, but we repeat for the newer ones, what fans do is create air currents to expel hot air from inside the system and import the much cooler air that is in the environment. The reason is that the semiconductor material with which the processors are built, when they reach certain temperatures, change their electrical properties and stop working properly. Also, if they get too hot, they can burn out, melting the interconnects and the board they’re mounted on, rendering the hardware useless.
In reality, the concept of overclocking a fan is wrong, since these do not work for a clock value, but for a specific number of revolutions per minute. So in this case we would be talking about increasing the speed of the airflow inside the PC or graphics card case with the theoretical goal of cooling our hardware faster. Although it is not to gain more performance, since this component only has to do with cooling and not with processing.
But it works ?
We have already understood that to overclock a fan is really to increase its RPM in order to increase the speed at which the wind generated by it travels. What happens when we do this? Well, the volume of air moving around increases and there are much better ways to do it, since the first consequence is a huge increase in decibels. Also, graphics card manufacturers when launching their custom graphics cards try different fan diameters before choosing one, as they cannot exceed certain noise levels.
What should be clear is that if you need a certain volume of air moved per minute, it is better to go for larger fans. A 140mm fan, for example, can achieve the same amount of airflow with fewer revolutions than a 120mm fan at higher resolutions, while making less noise. So if your PC isn’t cooling enough, or you think it isn’t, consider replacing the fans with larger ones in parts where the case allows. We all know there’s nothing more annoying than a PC making as much noise as an aircraft carrier.