Fan Performance Testing (Part 1)

LZ7 Side Power Panel with 140mm Fan and Finger Guard

This is the first of a 2 part article investigating fan performance and how it is affected by case design.  The research is being used to improve and develop current and future Lazer3D cases.


I think most people are aware that fan performance is affected by vent design and close proximity to flat surfaces, but the big question is by how much?

The aim of this article is to try and apply a bit of scientific experimentation to measure the percentage loss of airflow in different scenarios.  This first part of the article will focus on how well a PC fan can cope when placed near to a flat surface on its intake side.  The second part (to follow) will focus on vent design efficiency (difference between perforation, slots and dust filters, etc).



When people build a PC in a console style case such as the Silverstone RVZ01 or Node 202, they usually find that they get better thermal performance standing the case upright rather than lying it flat.

The reason for this is because the GPU fans are in close proximity and parallel to the flat surface of the desktop the case is sat on.  Even though the desk appears to be a good distance away from the GPU fans (20 – 30mm in most cases), this distance still has a significant affect on fan efficiency.

So just how much of a reduction in fan performance is the desktop surface causing? Let’s find out:

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