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Laptop Fan Knowledge
On disassembling your laptop, you might wonder to see the fan module on the CPU of the motherboard, which has the primary purpose of heat dissipation in order to avoid overheating. It efficiently conducts the CPU’s produced heat and blows it in the nearby air. It is worth noting that the cooling effect directly relates to the heatsinking capabilities inside your CPU’s fan.
In the current era, several types of CPU fans have different characteristics in terms of size, bearing type, the number of blades, and related stuff.
Usually, the fan’s performance inside your laptop is based on the following aspects: Speed, Blade Shape, Blade Angle, and Bearing System. Nearly 30-35% of the cooling effect of the radiator depends on the fan’s speed. However, it must be known that a much higher fan’s speed doesn’t make the heat dissipation better. Its speed should be set according to the calorific value of the CPU. Further, the fan speed selection is also differentiated based on its specifications.
The basic principle is: under the premise of generating the same air volume, the larger the fan, the lower the speed, while the noise will also be lower. On the other side, the smaller fan comes with a high speed, i.e., between 3500 rpm and 5200 rpm, pretty conventional compared with large-sized cooling fans.
The majority of cooling fans support 5V DC Connection and consume power between 1W to 5W.
The bearing (part) of the fan is generally categorized into three types: Sliding Bearings, Ball + Sliding Bearings, and Double Ball Bearings.
Among these three kinds of bearings, the sliding bearing has the lowest noise, but at the same time, it has the shortest life and can easily be affected by the environment. Whereas the double ball bearings are pretty different, they are noisy but work fine in long-term usage. These bearings also have a simpler manufacturing process and are often used in mainstream laptops.
Another bearing type can be called an improved version of sliding bearings. The difference between this and the standard sliding bearing is that it has longer life while maintaining the low noise simultaneously, the reason why it has become the first choice of some high-end cooling fans. Among them, the Sunon’s Magnetic Bearing and AVC’s Hydraulic Bearing are excellent kinds.
The term “Blade Shape” refers to the wings inside the cooling fan. This part is divided into three types as well: Sickle type, Trapezoid, and AVC Patented Flange type.
Starting from the Sickle-Shaped Fan blade, it is relatively quiet while running but has the drawback of producing slight wind pressure. The next is the Trapezoid Fan blade which is opposite to the Sickle-Shaped Fan blade as it can generate higher wind pressure and is also noisy. The best we can get in this segment is the Flanged type fan which produces higher wind pressure and also maintains the comfort of less noise. However, this fan blade type is quite rare.
Numbers of Blades:
In general, CPU fans usually feature 6 to 12 blades. However, the less number of blades generates more significant wind pressure but with high noise. In the case of more numbers of blades, the scenario would be the opposite.
According to the air outlet’s direction, this category is split into Axial Flow and Centrifugal Type.
The air outlet direction of the axial flow is along the path of the fan shaft, i.e., the direction perpendicular to the blade’s rotating surface. Almost every CPU cooling module uses this type of fan.
The second kind we have is a Centrifugal Type fan, and from a practical point of view, the wind generated by these fans cannot be fully utilized. Another downside is its loud noise. However, in the scenario of manufacturing a radiator, it is easy to achieve a thin body design thanks to centrifugal type adjustments; the primary reason this kind of fan is often used in GPU’s cooling system.
In terms of spinning speed, the laptop fan is divided into the following classifications: Powerful and Silent.
This classification isn’t too strict, but for fans of the same size and type, the characteristics, including the wind pressure and noise, are always two contradictions that cannot be reconciled.
One major aspect that influences the fan’s cooling effect is its power. On providing high current/power, the wind power will be higher. In laptops, cooling fans with 5V DC Connection are commonly used, consuming current between 1-5 watts.
This term refers to the fan’s size. If a fan has a large diameter in a suitable range, the air output would also be more prominent, ensuring a solid wind effect.
As mentioned before, the fan’s speed can be increased within a specific range by supplying more power. The higher the fan speed, the better the cooling effect. However, if we try to get a higher output by providing more current, the fan will likely start malfunctioning. In simple words, if we apply a heavy current on a fan that exceeds its rated value, its speed may increase, but there would be a significant increase in noise too. In addition, its working lifespan would also get shorter.
The primary purpose of a CPU’s cooling fan is to conduct the produced heat with its heat sink and generate the cold air through the fan. However, if the material is of low grade for conducting the heat, it would have a decisive effect on the fan’s working and quality, so a better material for the heat sink is compulsory. In the market, most cooling fans use iron and aluminum material, which has good results in heatsink.
Fan Noise is another major thing that influences the buying decision of consumers. While using the laptop, if the cooling fan’s noise is relatively high, it would straightly affect your mood even if the higher noise results in an excellent cooling effect and makes the laptop’s performance stable.
In general, the fan’s noise directly refers to the power it consumes—the greater the power, the faster the rotation speed, and the more significant noise simultaneously.
In the term “Fan Shape,” we refer to the shape of a fan’s fins. It is also worth mentioning that the shape of the fan module plays an essential role in the adequate air intake and exhaust environment as these two factors directly affect the heat dissipation system.
Ordinary heat sinks are die-cast and are the most commonly used type. Then we have another kind known as fin-shaped, formed by bending a thin aluminum plate. It has a similar appearance to the accordion bellows. This fan provides a satisfactory level of heat dissipation system.
Another type is Eddy Current Guide fins, known for being used in high-end cooling fans. These fins are manufactured by die casting and are inclined in a specific direction to maintain a proper passage of airflow.
Fan Exhaust Volume:
This term usually defines the total air volume produced by exhaust, another major factor for measuring the fan’s capabilities.
If a fan can reach 5000 rpm (round per minute), but its blades are flat, it wouldn’t produce any airflow; that’s why the angle of fan blades is also important in determining the exhaust volume.
Well, this is the most important aspect of the cooling fan. Further, from the bearing’s quality, the value of your cooling fan can be determined. Usually, high-end cooling fans are equipped with advanced bearing types, providing a longer lifespan and less noise.
In low-tier cooling fans, you will find low-quality bearings with less life and more noise. The magnetic bearing fan is a decent example of a high-end cooling fan as it has a lifespan of 100k hours which is around double that of the conventional ball bearing.
- Unsmooth Rotation: This issue mainly occurs in the case of oil-impregnated bearings due to the dust entering the bearings, and all the lubricants (inside it) lose the lubricating effect. In this problem, adding the new lube will solve the problem.
- Noise Suddenly Becomes Very Loud: Sometimes, while normal usage (of laptop), the cooling fan suddenly starts making a loud noise. If the scenario is like this, then there is a high probability that the blades of your cooling fan are cracked; changing the whole fan is the only solution.
- Noisy on Startup and Gets Quiet After a While: This type of issue happens typically in winters in which, on startup, the laptop’s cooling fan generates loud noise, but after a while, the noise gets down. The possible reason for this error is again the lubricants which got mixed with dust. Wiping off the original lubricant oil (with dust) and adding a few drops of clean one is the solution. However, changing the entire fan is also another option, but costly too.