- The inside of today's computer is a very, very hot place. For starters, you've got a CPU that's generating as much heat as a high powered light bulb, but it's not just the CPU. We've got video cards that have graphics processors on them that's generating heat. We have other devices making heat and the bottom line is that it's hot in there. So, what we have to do is we have to use fans to keep things cool and that's what I want to talk about in this episode. So, we have fans on the CPU.
We have fans on certain devices, primarily video cards and they tend to take care of themselves pretty well, but then we also have case fans that are laid around in different places of the case itself. Now what I want to talk about is how we can plug these in, control them and take advantage of them. The trick to cooling is that you want your system to be cool enough to run well, but on the same token, the more fans you have the more noise you make. It can get like a jet engine inside your computer, so there's this balance between how much fan we need versus how much sound can we handle.
So let's get to it. Let's start with a CPU. Now if we take a look at this CPU you're gonna see I've got a four prong controller there. Anytime you see any power connector, two of them are for power to make the fan spin, one of the other connectors is a tack that keeps track of how fast the fan is spinning and if there's a fourth connector it is a controller for the fan so anytime you plug a fan into a four prong controller, you can control the speed of the fan. Now there's another type of connector right here.
This is a three prong connector. Now, motherboards are gonna have a number of these types of connectors on them. Just every motherboard's a little bit different here. This is a three prong connector and we're probably gonna be plugging a system fan like this into it or a case fan to help cool the system. Whoops. But there's one other connector. Look right here. Now this is a four prong connector. Four prong connectors are controllable so this is actually pretty cool. We've got two four prong connectors on this system.
Now the trick is how do we control them and what do we plug into it? Well the CPU is obvious. Now, when we talk about CPU fans, you've got two main choices. Number one, you're gonna have an OEM fan. OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and most of the time when you buy a CPU it comes with a fan, so this a OEM Intel fan right here. Now, if you want a little bit more cooling then you can usually go for a third party solution. This is a very cool (laughs), pardon the pun, cooler master fan and this is designed to generate more cooling so that systems that tend to be hotter than you'd expect can take advantage of larger third party fans like this.
Don't knock OEM fans. In general, they're actually pretty good and you can use the most of the time. The people who are using third party fans like this are either people like me who just like looking cool or people who are having heating issues and they need a little bit more cooling power. The next thing I want to talk about are all these little fans. Now, every case is different and they all have different fans. A lot of these fans you just simply plug into any handy power outlet. You plug it directly into the power supply. Those you have no control over whatsoever.
Every now and then you'll see one that has a little rheostat on it so you can spin it, turn it up and down, but it's done manually and you have to open the case. The other option is to have fans that you plug into four prong outlets so that you can have some control over them. Now the trick is, when you plug these in, well, how do you have control? Well, you've got a lot of options there. A lot of times in your system setup there's fan controls. On other motherboards you can actually have third party utilities that will control your fans and then there's always a good fallback, the popular Speed Fan utility.
So, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna fire my system up and let's play with some fans a little bit. Now, what I have in front of me here are two very different programs that are basically reading the same information. Here on the left is the popular and free Speed Fan. Speed Fan is a generic utility that works on just about every computer there is. On the right hand side is a control tool that actually came with my motherboard. This is a very cool motherboard, by the way, and it allows me to make adjustments and controls here as well.
So let's go ahead and start here with the ASUS tool because this one's a little bit more accurate. First of all, you'll notice that I only have three fans installed. This motherboard can take a lot more, but just for this particular system this is all I've installed. There's actually more fans, but they're plugged directly in the power supply so the system can't access those, but I have three and four prong connectors all over my motherboard, but in this case I have three and this is pretty accurate to what I have plugged in. I've got a CPU fan. I've got an optional CPU fan is what they call it here and then I've got one of my chassis fans installed.
So there's a total of three fans. If you look over here on the left, Speed Fan only sees two of these fans. You can see the speeds the RPMs tie in, but this chassis fan too, Speed Fan, being a more generic tool simply doesn't see it and that happens sometimes. If I want to make adjustments, usually what you're doing is you don't just adjust the fan, you usually give it a speed threshold where I want to have it spin up to a maximum speed or something like that. A lot of times I can also adjust by temperature so if I go into, for example, the CPU and I can set the temperature and the fan's going to spin at relatively low speed until it hits a particular temperature and then it spins higher than that.
Now, Speed Fan does have a kind of a interesting feature and if you take a look here, it actually has fan controls. Now, they're very simplistic, but they work on most motherboards. I can literally slow down the CPU fan just by hitting down that little down arrow key. Now that's not necessarily a good idea (laughs) because the fan usually needs to be monitoring a particular temperature before you adjust it up or down. The bottom line is that you're gonna have to play with your fans a little bit. If you're lucky, you usually should have some utility that comes with your motherboard that really knows your fans and allows you to make nice adjustments.
However, if you don't have that you can always fall back on Speed Fan. Speed Fan works on just about any motherboard you can name. (upbeat music)
The CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam is comprised of six key parts. The first, core processing, is covered by this course. Instructor Mike Meyers explains the fundamentals of PCs, microprocessors, RAM, and BIOS. He also shows you how to set up, connect, maintain, and troubleshoot the main components of a computer.
Note: The six courses designed for the CompTIA A+ (220-901) exam preparation include core processing, core hardware, peripherals and building a PC, displays and printers, networking, and laptops and mobile devices.
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- How do personal computers (PCs) work?
- What is a central processing unit (CPU)?
- When is random access memory (RAM) used?
- What is a basic input/output system (BIOS)?
- Installing a CPU
- Working with extensions and sockets
- Troubleshooting RAM
- Setting up a BIOS