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Case Fans vs. Radiator Fans: What’s The Difference?

Case Fans vs. Radiator Fans: What’s The Difference?

You may have wondered about the difference between case fans and radiator fans. Are they just different names for the same thing?

This article will explore the differences between case fans and radiator fans in more detail to help you decide which type of fan is right for your computer. 

Case Fans vs. Radiator Fans: What’s The Difference?

A computer case fan is different from a radiator fan. Case fans move air inside the case, while radiator fans remove heat from a water-based cooling system. Radiator fans are typically more powerful than case fans. 

Water based cooling systems work by circulating water over your processor to move heat out of your processor and into the water. Radiator fans’ purpose is to cool the water circulating in your water cooler so that it can continue to keep the processor cool.

Radiator fans spin at a higher speed, meaning they can move air faster. That’s important because the water-based cooling system needs a high static system to cool the fast-moving water.

A case fan, on the other hand, is designed to create airflow between the inside of your case and the environment. That’s important for two reasons:

  • It helps keep the components cool
  • It prevents dust from building up inside the case 

Which Is Better: Case Fans Or Radiator Fans?

Radiator fans are generally better than case fans. Radiator fans have a newer design that works with a more efficient water-based method to cool down a high-performance system. In contrast, case fans are more useful for dry-cooling systems.

It’s worth noting that each fan type has a different use. A radiator fan is better for water cooling setups due to its static pressure, which cools the radiator more efficiently than a case fan and results in lower temperatures.

On the other hand, a case fan works reliably on any air-cooled setup. 

Can You Use Case Fans As Radiator Fans?

You can use a case fan as a radiator fan, but it’s not recommended. Radiator fans are designed to push air efficiently through the radiator, which helps cool down the circulating water. Although case fans also push air, they don’t do it as quickly as radiator fans do.

That said, I have seen water-cooled rigs working with case fans under heavy loads. In other words, you may be able to use case fans to supplement the cooling of your water-cooled system.

Just remember to keep an eye on the temperatures. If they go below 55°C (131°F), it’s all good; if it’s at 70°C or hotter, you’ll need to tweak your cooling system.

If you want to use a case fan as a radiator fan, look for one that has a relatively high static pressure and airflow rate.

For example, the Cooler Master MasterFan MF200R RGB Lighting Fan (available on pushes 90 cubic feet of air per minute while having 800 rotations per minute (RPM). That means it’s efficient at cooling your PC and doesn’t produce too much noise at the same time.

Difference Between Static Pressure And High Air Flow In PC Fans

The main difference between static pressure and high airflow fans is that static pressure works better at lowering temperatures in water-based cooling systems, while high airflow fans are better at circulating air inside the case.

Static pressure fans are designed to push air through a finned radiator surface. The blades on these fans are steeper, which helps them produce more pressure. Static pressure fans are also more powerful and spin at a higher speed than most high airflow fans.

On the other hand, high airflow fans are designed to circulate air inside the case. These fans have flatter blades, pushing more air than static pressure fans.

Also, high airflow fans are smaller and use less power than static pressure fans, making them more energy-efficient.

The thing with these fans is they’re designed for different purposes. You don’t need a static pressure fan if you’re not using a water cooler. And if you’re not worried about dust buildup in your water-cooled PC, you don’t need a high airflow fan.

Which Is Better For PC Cooling: Static Pressure Or High Air Flow Fans?

High airflow fans are generally better for cooling most PC cases. They move a lot of air, and don’t cost as much as static pressure fans do. On the other hand, static pressure fans work better if you’re using a radiator.

Static pressure fans move less air, but since the air they move is pressurized, it passes through the radiator more efficiently and cools down the CPU faster.

If you’re not using a water cooling system (i.e., radiator), high airflow fans are the way to go. Just make sure you don’t have any dust buildup in your case because that will get in the way of proper air circulation within your PC case.

Should You Use More Than One Fan Type For Your PC?

You can use more than one fan type for your PC. The number and type of fans you need depends on the size of your case and how many components it has. If you have many components, you may need a water-cooled system and a couple of case fans to keep everything cool.

Also, you need to consider the airflow of each fan. It’s better to have a few high-quality fans than a bunch of cheap ones that’ll break down in no time. That’s because the quality of the fan(s) will determine how well air can move within your PC and for how long.

Final Thoughts

Case fans differ from radiator fans due to their blade design, and what cooling system they work with best. You can use case fans as radiator fans, but I don’t recommend it. 

The difference between static pressure and high airflow is that static pressure works better for cooling down water-based systems while high airflow is better at circulating air inside the case. 

Static pressure fans are more expensive, but they’re worth it if you’re using a water cooler, while high airflow fans are a solid option for cooling PC cases. 


👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.