120mm vs 140mm Fans

120mm vs 140mm Fans – Which One to Go With?

Want a cooler CPU? How to keep it? There are some methods. In the ever-evolving world of PC building and customization, enthusiasts constantly seek the perfect balance between performance, temperature control, and noise reduction.

One crucial component in achieving this delicate equilibrium is the choice of cooling fans. Among the myriad options available, the debate between 120mm and 140mm fans has been a persistent and heated one.

In this article, we’ll dive into the nuances of each to help you make an informed decision for your PC cooling needs.

What is a Case Fan?

Also known as a system fan, a case fan is situated within a computer, typically affixed to either the front or back of its casing.

The primary function of case fans is to facilitate the inflow of cool air into the system and expel hot air from the case. These fans are offered in diverse sizes, although the most prevalent dimensions are 80mm, 92mm, and 120mm (12cm), with a width of 25mm.

Here is an illustration showcasing the typical appearance of a computer case fan.

Airflow and Cooling Efficiency:

One of the primary considerations when choosing between 120mm and 140mm fans is the airflow and cooling efficiency.

The larger surface area of a 140mm fan allows it to move more air with each rotation compared to a 120mm counterpart. It can result in better overall cooling performance, especially in larger cases where a 140mm fan can cover more space.

120mm vs 140mm Fan Cooling

RPM and CFM are the two typical specifications of any case fan. RPM is revolutions per minute, meaning how many times a fan rotates in it’s origin in a minute. CFM is cubic feet per minute, meaning how much air can be moved in a minute through that fan.

Typically, 140mm case fans perform better and have higher efficiency than 120mm case fans. But remember, the other aspects/constraints like quality, build, design, or computer case should remain constant.

120mm vs 140mm Fans — Performance, Noise & Value

When comparing 120mm fans and 140mm fans, several factors come into play, including airflow, noise levels, compatibility, and cooling performance. Let us explore the differences between these two fan sizes.

Performance: Typically, 140mm has greater CFM/airflow and RPM due to it’s larger blades and size. Therefore, it’s performance is always greater than 120mm case fan if constraints are kept constant.

Value: In terms of value to money, the cost of the 140mm fans will always be greater than 120mm, but it will surpass the 120mm in performance and noise. Moreover, if you are aiming for multiple fans, then 140mm or even greater is always better than many 120mm fans connected, which will take more space and power.

Noise Levels:

Noise is a crucial factor for many PC users, especially those who prioritize a quiet computing environment. As mentioned earlier, larger fans can move the same amount of air as smaller ones at lower RPMs, potentially reducing noise levels.

However, the design and quality of the fan also play a significant role. Premium 120mm fans with advanced blade designs and bearings may offer similar or even quieter operations compared to standard 140mm fans.

Case Compatibility:

When choosing between 120mm and 140mm fans, it’s essential to consider your PC case’s compatibility. While many cases support both sizes, some are specifically designed with one size in mind.

Before making a purchase, check your case specifications to ensure compatibility and optimal placement for efficient airflow.

Aesthetics and Build Considerations:

PC building is not just about performance; aesthetics also play a crucial role. The choice between 120mm and 140mm fans can affect the overall look and feel of your system.

Some users prefer the sleeker appearance of 140mm fans, while others may appreciate the compactness of 120mm fans. Additionally, RGB lighting options are abundant in both sizes, allowing users to customize the visual appeal of their builds.


In the battle of 120mm vs. 140mm fans, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The right choice depends on your specific requirements, case compatibility, and personal preferences.

If you prioritize cooling performance in a spacious case and don’t mind the larger dimensions, a 140mm fan might be the ideal choice.

On the other hand, if space is a premium or you’re aiming for a compact build, 120mm fans could be more suitable.

Regardless of your choice, investing in high-quality, well-designed fans is key to achieving optimal airflow, cooling efficiency, and a quieter computing experience.

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