How to Check the Speed of a CPU Fan

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You can check your CPU fan speed.
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A computer is a complex piece of hardware, made up of various components that make it easy for you to do everything from checking your bank balance to earning a living. While your computer is hard at work, those components can overheat, which is why there's a fan inside to keep the temperature down. You can check PC fan speed to ensure it's working properly by physically inspecting the components or using software to gain insight.


Check Computer Fan Speed

The CPU fan in your computer serves a very important role. It pulls heat off the processor, keeping it cool to avoid your computer overheating. When a computer's parts overheat, you'll see reduced performance and even potential damage to those components over time. In addition to a CPU fan, your computer should also have a fan for the power supply and video card, as well as a general fan that cools down everything within the case.

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You may not realize your CPU fan isn't working properly until it's been under-performing for a while. To check your PC's fan speed, you can open the case, go into BIOS or use a third-party tool that helps you view and manage your fan's performance.


Conduct a Physical Inspection

If you can easily get inside the case, one of the easiest ways to check computer fan speed is to take a look at it. Some CPU fans are attached to the heat sink, which is then attached to the motherboard, while others have the heat sink built in and both attach to the motherboard.

To find your CPU, look for the manual that came with your PC. You can also usually find a layout for your particular model online. If you have a laptop, there's likely a small fan built in near the CPU, which is usually near the edge of the unit. That location allows the fan to blow air out of the laptop without having to pass over other components first.


Check Your Fan in BIOS

Instead of taking your computer apart, you may find it easier to check your computer's fan speed using software. Your computer's BIOS contains the basic information you'll need to determine your fan's performance. The controls you get in BIOS depend on the computer you have, but at the very least, you'll be able to take a look to make sure it's working.

To get to the fan speed controller in BIOS, you'll reboot your computer and press the appropriate key to go into setup. This is usually either the "Delete" key or F12. Find your hardware settings, which is usually under a more general "Settings" menu, and look for the fan settings. Here, you may be able to control the target temperature for your CPU. If you feel your computer is running hot, lower that temperature.


Check Your Fan Using Software

You may find it easier to use a third-party fan speed controller to monitor and manage your fan speed. The best tool is likely specific to the equipment you have. Check to see if your PC's CPU manufacturer has software specific to the type of CPU you're cooling.

If you can't find an app for your particular type of fan – or you simply don't want to dig into it – you can find generic third-party apps that can manage and check PC fan speed. Apps like SpeedFan and MSI Afterburner are great tools. If you have a Mac, Mac Fan Control should work for you.


Repair Fan Speed Issues

Diagnosing issues is the first step. You'll also need to repair any problems you find. If your fan speed controller reveals your fan isn't running as quickly as you believe it should, the first step should be to clean your computer. Dust can build up over time, slowing down your fan's operation. A quick burst of canned air can do wonders.

In some cases, your fan may simply need to be replaced. If you've adjusted the settings and cleaned out your computer and you still can't get the performance you need, replacing your fan could make a big difference.