What is a Good RPM For a CPU Fan and How To Control CPU Fan Speed?

By: Editorial Team

Can you run your CPU fan at any speed? Yes, your fan can run at the highest or medium settings depending on the tasks at hand. More on this is discussed below.

What’s Considered Normal CPU Fan Speeds?

Average CPU fan speeds vary depending on manufacturers and users. For example, gamers view high speeds as normal. Why is this? It keeps their PCs cool even when playing competitive games. 

Most CPU fans will run over 3000rpm. That’s the norm and they can exceed 4000 rpm. Some even reach and exceed 5,000 rpm. However, the average CPU fan will run at 3,500-4,000 rpm.

Is 1000 RPM Normal?

1000 rpm isn’t normal but it’s also not uncommon for CPUs. Such speeds are ideal for PCs typically used for non-intensive tasks such as browsing or watching YouTube videos.

Also, the size of your CPU fan can affect the amount of air it transfers. For example, your large fan running at low speeds can transfer more air than a smaller fan running at higher speeds.

Is 2000 RPM Normal?

Yes, 2,000 rpm is considered normal for CPU fans even at rest. Some claim to run these speeds at all times without issues. Standard fans run closer to 2,000 rpm when at rest.

Is 2,000 rpm better than 1,000 rpm? Yes, higher RPMs offer better cooling provided the fans are similar sized. Also, note that higher RPMs means noisier fans.

Therefore, increasing CPU fan speed from 1,000 rpm to 2,000 rpm may get louder.

Is 5,000 RPM Overkill?

It’s overkill if you’re only running apps such as browsers or watching Netflix. 5,000 rpm or more is also considered overkill if your PC is idle.

Does Fan Speed Matter?

Yes, fan speed matters because it affects how your CPU runs. If your fan runs at high speeds, it will keep your CPU cool and extend its lifespan.

How To Adjust PC Fan RPM

Conversely, if it runs at lower speeds, your fan will be quieter but could damage your CPU.

Does Higher RPM Guarantee Better Cooling?

In theory, higher RPMs often translate to more efficient cooling. The reality is different because it factors in size, location, hygiene, and heating.

For example, don’t expect a smaller fan running at 1500 RPM to cool a CPU faster than a larger fan running at 1400 RPM.

The important element isn’t RPM or size, it’s the CFM. How much air can the fan mover per minute? The CPU fan with the highest CFM will offer better cooling efficiency regardless of whether its peak RPM is the highest or not.

Alternatively, look for high static pressure fans that can deliver lower CFM but with more force than your average fan.

Will Increasing CPU Fan Speed Damage CPU?

Typically, most PCs and laptops have CPU fans that run at default speeds. Most users rarely tweak their CPU fan settings because they run perfectly or are good enough to complete daily tasks.

Occasionally, will need an extra boost in CPU fan speeds to counter the temperature rise. This is often exhibited when running graphics-intensive apps or games. Those who tweak these settings often do it without a second thought.

Are There Ramifications to Increasing CPU Fan Speeds?

On the upside, increasing fan speeds improves airflow; thus, cooling your CPU faster. This will keep your CPU running for longer. That said, running your CPU fans at full capacity reduces their longevity.

Fan manufacturers create fans with the capacity to run at full speeds. This means that longevity shouldn’t be an issue.

However, manufacturers don’t expect users to run the fans at full speeds; thus, the estimated longevity doesn’t account for this factor. If you continue increasing speeds to full capacity, your fans will fail or break down faster than estimated.

Faster speeds also translate to noisy fans. If your fans run quietly expect them to get louder as you increase the speeds.

The sudden increase in fan noise can become frustrating and distracting, especially when working on tasks that require precision and concentration.

Increased airflow to the fan also means that more dust is pulled into the ball bearings, vents, etc. Your fan will clog and gradually become slower. Regular cleaning should avert this clogging issue.

Also, running your fan at max speed will increase your energy consumption. CPU fans don’t consume much, but the increase in speed will hike your utility bills by a small margin.

Does this mean increasing CPU fan speed is bad for your PC? Not necessarily, and if increasing the speed keeps your CPU running while conserving its longevity, then do it. You can easily upgrade the CPU fans.

Will Increasing Fan RPM Improve CPU Performance?

No, running your CPU fan at peak RPM won’t magically improve the performance of your CPU under load. The CPU won’t handle the game better because the fan is running at 6,000 RPM.

The load on your processor will remain constant whether the processor is running at 300 RPM or 5,000 RPM.

Should CPU Fans Run at Same RPM?

Not necessarily, especially if they’re not the same brand, set up, etc. Your laptop CPU fan won’t run at the same RPM as your PC fan.

Also, the current load will affect the RPM. For example, an idle PC will have fans that run at low RPM while gaming PCs will run closer to peak RPM to cool the CPUs.

There is no stipulation that CPU fans should run at the same speeds; thus, expect your CPU fan to adjust the RPM intuitively depending on cooling requirements.

Are Faster Fans Louder?

Yes, running your CPU fan at 5,000 RPM or more won’t be quiet. You’ll hear a slight hum that isn’t too distracting.

However, if the noise gets louder, check if the fan is faulty or damaged. Similarly, dust accumulation can clog the fan making it louder when running at full RPM.

Can CPU Fans Run at Peak RPM When Idle?

Yes, your fan can run at peak RPM even when idle. This is always worrying since it means you have an overheating issue.

Your PC could be running background apps that are eating at your CPU resources, causing the fan to run at 100% to continue cooling the components.

Why is the CPU Fan Running At 100% Without Changing Settings?

Can your CPU fan run at 100% without tweaking the settings? Yes, it’s possible. This often occurs when you plug the fan in the wrong ports. Check you’ve plugged your fan in the right ports.

It also occurs after a BIOS update, especially on ASUS motherboards. The upgrade can also limit control of fan settings making it impossible to lower the speeds in BIOS.

Fortunately, reverting to an older BIOS version can resolve the issue.

If reverting to an older BIOS version doesn’t help, consider replacing the BIOS chip. Alternatively, check whether the power supply or fan is faulty.

If none of these remedies work, use software to override fan speeds. Download programs such as Speedfan to override the speed settings. This route isn’t recommended because it can interfere with your RAID card.

How to Control CPU Fan Speeds

The two main options to control fan speeds include using BIOS settings or software. BIOS settings offer more control even for novices. To gain control via BIOS:

  • Power off your PC.
  • Restart your PC and press F2, F1, F12, or F10 depending on keys set by the manufacturer.
  • Select Monitor or Status to access CPU fan settings.
  • Scroll to the fan speed control menu.
  • Select the CPU fan and tweak the settings as needed.
  • You can lower the speed if it’s currently at 100% or increase it if it’s stuck at lower speeds.
  • Select save changes and restart your PC.

Alternatively, use software such as Speedfan to control the speed manually. Follow these tips:

  • Download Speedfan and install it on your PC.
  • Open the configure window and adjust the CPU fan value to 100%.
  • Open the advanced tab and select your CPU.
  • Change the value of the CPU fan to manual.
  • Click OK.
  • This will return the user to the main page, where you can adjust the fan speeds using the arrow key.

Final Thoughts

Ensure that you maintain a clean CPU fan to avoid overheating your processor due to dust. Occasionally use compressed air to clean your CPU fan and motherboard.

If your CPU fan continues to run at 100% even when idle, seek a specialist.