If you’ve ever built a PC, you’ll know that the correct pattern of airflow is crucial to keeping your components cool and preventing them from overheating. Whether the airflow is intake or exhaust, it’s important to keep that pattern consistent across all fans in your system. This will ensure hot and cold air don’t mix, creating a cycle of overheating that can damage your CPU or GPU or cause your rig to perform less efficiently than expected.
The easiest way to determine the direction of an AIO cooler fan is to look for an arrow on the fan casing that indicates which way it’s designed to blow air. However, not all fans have this indicator, and some are installed in cases where you can’t easily access the arrow. If this is the case, you can still evaluate a fan’s direction by looking at how the blades are positioned. Each fan has a specific airflow pattern that’s determined by the way the blades are angled.
The best position for an AIO radiator is in the front of the case, mounted as an exhaust. This way, the heat it moves from the CPU to the radiator gets immediately exhausted out of the rear and top of your PC. This configuration will also allow your case fans to pull fresh, cool air in from the front of your chassis and spread it over your other heat-generating components before pushing it out through the radiator.