How to Improve Airflow in a PC Case (Effective Method)

When your system heats up or shuts down suddenly, then this could be due to the rising temperature inside the case. The system gets heated up when the airflow inside your PC case is bad and needs some quick fixes. There are numerous factors that affect airflow inside your PC case and you need to address them.

No matter if you are using a computer to run light or heavily threaded tasks, you need a balanced airflow inside of their PC cases otherwise, you’ll face heating issues, extreme noises, dust particles, and more that will eventually lead to system failure at one point or another.

Airflow in a PC case helps in keeping every piece of hardware packed inside to run at an optimal temperature. There are numerous ways through which you can improve the airflow inside your PC case. But, first, it’s better to understand how the airflow works inside a PC case.

Also learn, How to Safely Open Your PC Case before you start with improving the airflow.

Types of Airflow in a PC Case

1. Positive Airflow

Positive Airflow works with the help of intake fans which are mounted in a way where they are facing the inside of the case, they take air from outside and pull it inside the case, getting more air inside the case to keep it cool.

Positive airflow also helps in minimizing the chances of getting dust inside but it can become a disaster when there is no way or very less space for the incoming air to get outside.

When the incoming flow of air is higher as opposed to the outer flow, it will become stagnant inside the case, resulting in more heat.

2. Negative Airflow

The negative airflow is the opposite of the positive airflow method. In this case, the exhaust fans are attached to the PC case in such a way that they will blow the air inside the case out. In this method, the incoming airflow is much less than the outgoing airflow.

This method helps with getting rid of warm air in a better way but the downside is the dust particles. If you can keep your PC case clean on regular cases, this might work but still, the dust will be an issue in the longer run.

3. Neutral Airflow

Lastly, the neutral airflow is somewhat a combination of Positive Airflow and Negative Airflow. It is the most common and most beneficial airflow for any type of PC case and has been used all over the globe.

This method is known to create a very neutral and balanced airflow inside your PC case and it is also beneficial when it comes to the maintenance of your PC case.

You’ll find this method in most PC cases that promote high airflow, these methods work in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio, depending on the size of your PC case and the size of fans you are using.

You will be using two intake fans and one exhaust fan or three intake fans for taking cool air in and one exhaust fan to let warm air out to create an even amount of balanced airflow inside of your PC case.

depcition of airflow in a pc case
Depiction of how air flows inside a PC case

Which fan is the right fit for your PC case?

The fans that you might be using already might not be the right fit or if you want to choose the new one by replacing your old fans, the very first step you should take is to check the size of your PC case and the size and number of fans.

If you are using a PC case, big or small, with one small intake fan at the front, it might not be enough. It will twirl at a higher RPM (revolution per minute) creating more noise and consuming more energy, which is common in most cases because people think small fans are equal to less noise.

Big fans at the front and one exhaust fan at the end (if you prefer) will create a very balanced airflow while keeping everything quiet for you.

Once you are done with configuring what type of fan and the number of fans you need, the next thing you need to do is install the air filters on the front of the intake fans.

Fan Positioning

Now, we know all about airflow fans and their ratio. Next is the positioning of your fans for even better airflow. There are two types of airflow fan positioning.

Upside down

In this position, you use intake fans at the top of your PC case and the exhaust fan is placed on the opposite side. You can use two or three intake fans on the front and one exhaust fan at the end.


In this position, which is quite common as well, you use intake fans on the left side and an exhaust fan on the right.

You place two or three intake fans on the left and one exhaust on the right.

You can also add one additional exhaust fan on the top of the PC case for even better airflow, it all depends on the PC case you are using.

Use air-filters

Once the fans are determined and installed according to your PC case, you should always go for air filters. Air filters help in keeping dust away. There are different kinds of air filters available and you can choose one according to your style.

Always, make sure your air filters are not of high density, if they are too dense, the airflow will be compromised and you will not be able to achieve smooth airflow inside through the intake fans.

Also, you need to look out for wafer-thin air filters. They will not be able to hold the dust particles and you will be stuck with cleaning the PC case often.

You can use mesh-air filters that are easily available in stores like eBay. They can be easily installed or removed as per your requirement.

You need to keep one thing in mind, no matter how good an air filter is you still need to clean it every once in a while for smooth airflow. Just choose the one which is neither too thick nor thin.

Organize Cable-Mess

Cables inside a PC case matter a lot when it comes to airflow in your PC case. If you want a clean and smooth airflow inside of your PC case, you should always keep the cables organized. The cables can get in the way of airflow and no matter how you think it is not a big deal, it is!

You can always test and try it, check your airflow with a messy PC case, and then check it with a neat and tidy space inside you will notice the remarkable difference.

How to check the airflow inside a PC case?

There are numerous methods available today through which you can always keep a check on your airflow. However, below are some of the recommended and easy methods you can opt for to easily check the airflow inside your PC case.

Feel the airflow

This is the simplest method, you can check the airflow of your fans by simply putting your hands against both of them and feeling the pressure of the air. This will roughly give your an idea if your fans are even working because most of the time, fans work less and create more noise.

Visible testing

You can use any incense or colored smoke to check how the airflow is traveling through the ins and outs of your PC case. You can also try using thin papers to see the airflow by simply removing the cover of your PC case, whatever works for you, it will give you a good idea of what’s happening inside.

Using airflow meter

If you want to go a little further you can try using an airflow meter, they will help you in getting even and more accurate results.


You can choose any of the above-mentioned airflow methods for your PC case and your situation but we highly recommend you go for the neutral airflow method.

It is reliable, safe, and works better in most PC cases. Small fans work fine, but big fans work even better. In most cases, two big fans air enough to create a great airflow inside of your PC case.

Always organize the cables for even better results. Use air filters that are not so thick or thin to keep the dust away and don’t forget to clean the air filters at least once in every three months.

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