You’ve decided to build your first gaming PC.
You’ve selected all your hardware from the motherboard and CPU down to the exact RAM kit you’ll use.
Now it’s time to choose the case that will enshrine this beast of a computer.
Since cooling is a critical concern in high-performance computers, you’re wondering whether you should buy a case fan.
Does the case itself have a fan?
Do PC Cases Come With Fans?
Almost all computer cases come with at least one fan in the back.
Many manufacturers include two fans in their cases: one in the front and another in the back.
Mid-range and high-end gaming cases may even come with up to six fan slots in the front, back, top, and side.
They usually have two fans, and you can install extras.
Only barebones cases that cost around 20 to 30 dollars don’t come without a fan.
It’s always wise to spend a few extra dollars on a well-ventilated case to protect your more expensive equipment (i.e., CPU and GPU) in the long run.
You should check the maximum number of fans your case supports in case you need to upgrade your cooling mechanism in the future.
How Many Fans Do You Need In A Case?
The consensus is that the more fans you have in your case, the better.
However, that’s usually not true as the improvements diminish as you add more fans.
The bare minimum is that you need a fan on top of your CPU.
The fan usually comes in the CPU package, but you can buy a more sophisticated fan with a large heatsink if you’re worried about overheating.
You can’t expect the stock cooler alone to be very effective.
If you keep your computer in a cold room, you may be able to keep it running for a while before the temperature exceeds 100°C.
If you don’t plan to put more fans in your case, you’ll need an advanced cooler such as the Cooler Master Hyper T4.
With this cooler alone, you can expect your CPU to work at around 70°C, and the GPU will likely hit 90 degrees.
The second option is to add one fan to your case as well as the CPU cooler.
That fan can go in the front, back, side, or top of the case.
Depending on the layout of your case and whether or not you have a large graphics card, the fan’s position can make a slight difference of up to a few degrees.
You can expect the fan in the front to give you a bit of extra cooling compared to the one in the back.
The ideal situation is to have one fan in the front and another in the rear, but if you only want to install one fan, put it in the front.
Note: Most power supply units and graphics cards come with dedicated fans, so you’re unlikely to have only one CPU fan in your case.
In addition to the number of fans, their direction is also essential.
If you have more than one fan in your case, balance their direction such that half the fans blow air in while the other half suck the air out.
This arrangement minimizes dust build-up on your components and distributes air more effectively, leading to better heat management.
Proper planning is crucial when installing fans.
Always pay attention to how air enters and exits your case so that you can protect your components from dust and debris and extend their lifetime.
Do PC Cases Come With RGB Fans?
Most mid-range PC cases don’t come with RGB fans because not everyone wants to have that type of look on their computer.
They’re more common among avid gamers who want to customize their PC’s appearance and convey a message.
These fans include programmable LEDs and require extra controllers to work.
In addition to RGB fans, you can get RGB RAM, power strips, and power supplies.
There’s no limit on what you can achieve with RGB products.
However, you need to make sure your case, motherboard, and PSU support RGB utilities and are compatible with each other.
Some cases may even come with integrated RGB lighting and multiple preinstalled RGB fans.
You also need a more powerful PSU because the extra accessories consume a significant amount of power.
Caution: Never compromise heat efficiency for appearance because overheating can damage your computer components and cost you hundreds of dollars.
Building an RGB rig also requires special software to control how the different accessories and peripherals interact.
The most common programs are Open RGB and Jacknet RGB Sync.
The motherboard may also have software utilities that give you incredible flexibility.
Corsair has a proprietary application called iCUE that allows you to use preset color schemes or customize your patterns across all your Corsair devices.
Other manufacturers offer similar applications, but the downside is that you need to buy all your RGB components from the same company.
Note: Building an RGB rig can set you back anywhere from a couple hundred to around a thousand dollars more than a regular PC because RGB versions of any hardware are slightly more expensive, and there are practically no limits on the accessories you can include.
Do PC Cases Come With Screws?
Depending on the design, PC cases come with the required screws for mounting your fans, side panels, front panels, and extra accessories.
However, each component in your build also requires screws that come with the component itself.
For example, your motherboard must come with a few screws that allow you to secure it to the case.
If your motherboard, PSU, GPU, or any other component didn’t have the required screws, there’s no need to worry.
The screws are relatively standard, and you can easily order them online.
PC builders also have many of these screws lying around, so you can borrow a few from a friend who builds PCs for a living.
Do PC Cases Come With A Power Supply?
A power supply unit (PSU) is a separate component that doesn’t come with a PC case because the choice of a PSU depends on many factors that are independent of the case.
For example, you may want to build a PC for machine learning purposes that requires two high-end GPUs and a Core i9 CPU.
Although you can house all these components in a mid-tower, you need a highly reliable PSU that average users have no use for.
Some case manufacturers like Antec and Cooler Master used to bundle their cases with PSUs, but the practice has become obsolete in recent years.
Do PC Cases Come With A Motherboard?
Your PC case won’t come with a motherboard because it’s a separate component.
The motherboard is the central hub that allows all your PC hardware to communicate and sync.
The case’s job is to enclose the motherboard and other components to organize and protect them from damage.
Your choice of motherboard highly depends on what you want to use your computer for.
That said, the motherboard and the case need to be compatible in size.
In other words, you can’t fit every motherboard in every case.
However, any case that accepts a motherboard equal to or larger than your motherboard size will work.
Do PC Cases Come With Cables?
PC cases only come with the necessary cables that allow their fans and accessories to work.
You should expect each component to come with its necessary cables and screws.
Therefore, for example, if your hard drive needs a SATA cable to connect to the motherboard, the cable must be included in the hard drive’s package.
However, if your case has a unique design that forces you to use extra cables that aren’t necessary in a regular build, the extra cables must come with the case.
As an example, you may need an extra cable to connect your graphics card to the motherboard because the case’s layout prevents you from directly mounting the card to the board.
In this situation, the case manufacturer must include the extra cable with the case.
How To Choose The Right PC Case
When deciding on the type of case for your PC, consider these factors:
- Form factor: The amount of space you need to install your components.
- Heat management: How you want to cool your PC.
- Budget: The amount of money you want to spend.
Computer cases come in four different sizes that determine how many components you can install in them:
- Small cases that fit mini-ITX motherboards.
- Larger cases that fit micro-ATX motherboards.
- Mid-tower cases that fit regular ATX motherboards.
- Full-tower cases that fit ATX motherboards and have extra space for other components and cables.
You should make sure the case is compatible with your components.
Most importantly, it should be wide enough to fit your graphics card because most gaming graphics cards are bulky and long, which can cause clearance issues.
You may also run into issues with larger CPU coolers.
Check the dimensions of both components before finalizing your case choice.
We recommend buying a case with dust filters because they prevent debris build-up on your components.
Cases with extra cable management features are excellent for building custom rigs with RGB lighting.
Proper cable management also contributes to better airflow.
How Much Should You Spend On A PC Case?
The amount you spend on a case depends on your situation.
Barebones cases are okay if you use your PC for routine tasks such as web browsing because your components won’t be stretched to their limits, and heat generation won’t be a problem.
These cases are usually built with lower-quality materials and don’t have extra features.
On the other hand, products from reputable brands are usually sturdier and feature extra capabilities that make your life easier.
Some of the extra options you can get with pricier cases include:
- Cable management.
- Front USB ports, especially type C.
- SSD mounting points.
- Side hinges that allow easy access.
- Magnetic dust filters.
- Transparent side panels made of tempered glass.
- Built-in RGB lighting.
- RGB-enabled fans.
As you can see, the actual price varies depending on many factors.
You can expect to pay from around $50 for a decent mid-tower with no additional features to over $300 for a full-tower case with RGB controllers, tempered glass design, dust filters, and plenty of cooling options.
Some extreme cases can even house two complete systems simultaneously, which is perfect for game streamers who want to play on one system and stream it on another—eliminating the need for two full desktops.
A feature-rich case like that will set you back more than $500.
Can You Have A PC Without A Fan?
A common complaint about PC fans is the noise they generate.
A poorly optimized cooling solution can become extremely annoying under the slightest load.
Smartphones and tablets don’t have heatsinks and fans.
Isn’t it possible to create a fanless PC?
You can have a PC that doesn’t have a fan if you install a large enough heat sink.
That’s because heat can dissipate on its own, but it takes longer and requires a larger surface.
The fan’s role is to move the heat more quickly, allowing your CPU to cool down and do more demanding operations.
The main benefit of fanless PCs is that they run entirely silently (barring the electrical noise generated by the power supply).
However, before you go fanless, consider these primary disadvantages:
- You’ll need to pay significantly more money because you need a specialized case that costs north of $300.
- You’ll have to spend more money on specialized components because you need a custom build.
- Your case will be hefty as it contains gigantic heat sinks. You can expect the case to weigh 30 to 40 pounds before installing the hardware.
- Installing the components isn’t as straightforward as in a typical case.
- You’ll need to tune your hardware, especially the CPU and GPU, to avoid overheating while still getting a consistent performance.
- Your computer will still underperform compared to a system with an efficient fan because it can’t dissipate heat as quickly.
Fanless cooling technology is still very young.
Despite its disadvantages, though, it has come a long way.
The YouTube video below shows how a top-of-the-line case can run a demanding game without using any fans or other moving parts:
Now, are you wondering how mobile devices can work without fans or large heat sinks?
The answer is Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC), a computer architecture that can execute a limited, highly optimized number of operations.
As a result, RISC processors generate much less heat.
However, they can still accomplish many tasks, although you wouldn’t expect your smartphone to render a 4K video or run engineering simulations.
The small amount of generated heat can be dissipated using the metal back panel on the mobile device.
You’ve most likely felt how hot your smartphone gets when you play a demanding game on it or watch a 4K video.