Is CPU fan intake or exhaust?


When it comes to cooling your computer’s CPU, one of the key components is the CPU fan. However, there is often confusion about whether the CPU fan should be set to intake air into the system or exhaust air out of the system. In this article, we will address this question directly to clear up any confusion and provide you with the information you need to properly cool your CPU.

The Answer:

**The CPU fan should primarily be set as an exhaust fan to remove hot air from the CPU cooler.**

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the purpose of the CPU fan?

The CPU fan’s main purpose is to dissipate the heat generated by the CPU during operation to prevent overheating.

2. What is the difference between intake and exhaust fans?

Intake fans bring cool air into the system, while exhaust fans expel hot air out of the system.

3. Can a CPU fan be used as both an intake and exhaust fan?

In most cases, the CPU fan is designed to function as either an intake or exhaust fan, not both simultaneously.

4. Why is it recommended to set the CPU fan as an exhaust fan?

Setting the CPU fan as an exhaust fan helps to expel the hot air that builds up around the CPU cooler more efficiently, improving overall cooling performance.

5. Will setting the CPU fan as an intake fan affect the CPU’s cooling performance?

Setting the CPU fan as an intake fan can disrupt the airflow inside the case and lead to the recycling of hot air around the CPU cooler, potentially causing the CPU to overheat.

6. How can I determine if my CPU fan is set to intake or exhaust?

You can determine whether your CPU fan is set to intake or exhaust by observing the direction in which the fan blades are spinning.

7. What are the consequences of having an improperly set CPU fan?

An improperly set CPU fan can result in inadequate cooling of the CPU, leading to overheating, reduced performance, and potential damage to the system.

8. Should I have both intake and exhaust fans in my system in addition to the CPU fan?

Having a balanced combination of intake and exhaust fans in your system can help maintain optimal airflow and cooling, in addition to the CPU fan.

9. Are there any specific guidelines for the placement of intake and exhaust fans in a computer case?

Intake fans are typically placed at the front or bottom of the case, while exhaust fans are placed at the rear or top of the case to promote efficient airflow.

10. Can I control the direction of airflow in my system through software or BIOS settings?

Some motherboards offer fan control options in the BIOS or through software, allowing you to adjust the fan speed and optimize airflow for better cooling performance.

11. How often should I clean my CPU fan to maintain its efficiency?

It is recommended to clean your CPU fan regularly, at least every few months, to prevent dust buildup and maintain optimal cooling performance.

12. Are there any alternative cooling solutions for the CPU besides the fan?

In addition to the fan, you can also consider liquid cooling systems or heat sinks with heat pipes as alternative cooling solutions for your CPU, depending on your specific needs and preferences.


In conclusion, setting the CPU fan as an exhaust fan is crucial for efficient cooling of the CPU and overall system. By following the guidelines provided in this article and maintaining proper airflow in your system, you can ensure optimal cooling performance and prolong the lifespan of your computer components.

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