Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge' started by Slushpup, Sep 22, 2017.
Is there a difference betweem a cpu fan and a case fan?
Yes, CPU Fan AKA CPU cooler is what is strapped onto your motherboard cooling your CPU, a case fan is connected to your case pushing air through. Although some fans can be used as both a case fan as well as on certain cpu coolers.
If you are talking about the headers on your motherboard for fans then you need to make sure the CPU fan is hooked up to the one specifically for the CPU.
Hope that clarifies a bit.
The only real difference is that case fans tend to have Molex connectors on them (to connect straight to the power supply), while CPU fans almost invariably have 3-pin or 4-pin 0.1" plugs that go into the mainboard's fan headers (which allows for speed control and monitoring).
Adaptors are readily available, and many fans include them (or have them built-in, so the cable just has two plugs on it).
When you get down to it, they're all just 12V DC brushless fans - as used for many purposes apart from PCs. You can certainly mount an appropriately-sized "CPU fan" on the case and use it as a case fan, or mount an appropriately sized "case fan" on the CPU heatsink and use it as a heatsink fan.
Actually case fans rarely ever have molex these days, barely anything does anymore. Most fans are just plain old 3 pin unless they are 4 pin PWM.
Is it for something in particular? A bit more clarity might help.
If I were to throw my assumption onto the pile I would guess the OP is asking whether the actual fans themselves have any differences. CPU fans tend to have a higher static pressure than case fans to enable them to push air through the cooler fins or rad. Either type of fan could fill either purpose but it's not optimal.
Googling 'cpu fan vs case fan' we actually get a good response from tomshardware (the 2nd post):