CPU fans are the unsung heroes of modern PC builds. Eclipsed by fancy liquid cooling systems and never considered unless they are causing a problem, CPU fans are often left out of the conversation. However, if your Ryzen CPU fan is demanding to be heard, how can we address these noisy issues and get this fan to cool down?
The first thing to check is your CPU usage to make sure there are no problem programs causing a CPU spike. Next, use fan control software to regain control over noisy fans. If all else fails, consider upgrading your CPU fan to a high-end model that delivers on cooling without the noise.
If your Ryzen fan is more noisy than it is cool, we’ve got some solutions for you.
What Are CPU Fans (And Why They Get So Loud)
Your CPU fan is one of the most important parts of your PC. Its job is simply to keep your CPU cool so that your processor doesn’t burn itself out. CPU fans have a reputation for getting loud, but that’s only because a CPU can easily reach temperatures greater than 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
A Guide To Ryzen CPU Wraith Fans
AMD’s Ryzen line of CPUs are some of the best on the market. They are ideal for high performance gaming and desktop computers that are going to be under heavy workloads. They will make easy work of all but the most demanding software and games.
Ryzen makes some complimentary fans that come with their CPUs and some can be bought separately. Here’s the four main type of their CPU fans:
- Wraith PRISM – Prism comes with direct contact heat pipes, transparent fan, and fully controllable RGB lighting.
- Wraith SPIRE – A performance option, some options come with RGB lighting and some do not.
- Wraith STEALTH – A low profile CPU fan that delivers on performance without taking up space.
- Wraith MAX – A high performance fan that takes up a bit more room than the other three fans.
Which Ryzen CPUs Come With Fans
Most of the non-“X” Ryzen CPUs that you’ll be able to find come with their own cooling options. You’re likely to get a Wraith Spire bundled with your CPU. However, some higher-end models will come bundled with a Wraith Prism, whilst their cheapest CPUs will come with the Wraith Stealth.
For example, the budget Ryzen 3200G (4-core CPU) comes with the Wraith Stealth fan whilst the more expensive 3700 (8-core CPU) comes with the Wraith Prism.
Any Ryzen CPU with an “X” in its name won’t come with a CPU fan in the box. The Ryzen X CPUs are designed for enthusiasts, and it’s generally expected that they have custom CPU cooling plans in mind for their PC builds.
Are Ryzen Fans Louder Than Normal?
Ryzen has a rough reputation when it comes to their CPU fans. Ryzen used to include premium fans with their products, but for a few product generations they opted for cheaper Foxconn fans rather than their usual, high quality products.
This caused a massive spike in noticeable with a noticeable dip in cooling and reliability. Ryzen’s current fan lineup suffers from different problems. These fans don’t have the same build quality issues, but they are known for a few defects that can cause louder than normal operation.
How To Get Your Ryzen Fans To Quiet Down
There are a few things that you can do to get your Ryzen fans to quiet down. We’re going to walk through a few quick fixes that should lower the decibel level and keep your PC cool at the same time
First, Is This Noise Just Normal?
The fan that cools your CPU is going to make more noise while your CPU is heating up. These fans are designed to cool down your computer’s processor which can get pretty hot. If your fan is starting to make a loud noise hours into your gaming session or while processing large video files, this just might be the normal noise that your PC makes.
There are still ways we can quiet things down, but some CPU fan noise is normal.
Check Your PC Build
There might be problems with your PC build itself that could be causing your fan to be louder than it needs to be. Your fan fires up when the processing load gets too high and your CPU starts to get hot. Proper airflow inside your PC case is essential for keeping things cool.
If your PC is loaded with oversized components, airflow is going to be a big problem. You also might need additional cooling for your graphics card and any M.2 drives you might have. Case fans are also a must for making sure that your CPU fan doesn’t have to do all the work.
Are You Overclocking?
Overclocking can be a major source for heat on your CPU. Overclocking is when you push your CPU past its factory limitations to get more performance at the risk of overheating. Your fans are likely only designed to operate within the factory specifications which means you might need to invest in more powerful fans to cope with the additional heat that comes with overclocking without the additional noise.
What Software Are You Running?
The next thing you need to look at is the software that your computer is currently running. High CPU usage usually means allowed CPU fan noise. You can use the task manager to close any unnecessary programs which will improve your CPUs efficiency, lower its temperature, and lower the noise made by the fans.
Some software is inherently CPU-intensive. This is typically software that deals with complicated processing tasks. Rendering 3D graphics, playing the latest video games, and Adobe’s creative software all require more CPU power than other programs:
You should also be on the lookout for common software glitches that can send your CPU usage sky-high. The Chrome web browser is one of the most notorious programs when it comes to sudden spikes in CPU usage.
Your Fan Could Be Defective
Another thing that you need to consider is that your fan might be defective. This is fairly rare, but occasionally a CPU fan leaves the factory with a defect that causes it to be far more noisy than it should be. If your fan is making knocking, banging, or grinding sounds, it is a good sign that it is broken and needs to be replaced.
Use Fan Control Software
You can also sometimes use fan control software to manually adjust the speed of your CPU fan, although this can vary depending on whether the CPU fan is plugged (correctly) into the CPU_FAN slot or one of the chassis fan slots.
Keep in mind, this can also be dangerous if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Improper adjustments to your CPU fan speed can lead to overheating and possibly burn out your CPU.
This solution is most effective if you find that your fan is jumping to 100% speed well before your CPU starts getting hot.
Control Your Fan From BIOS
You can also make manual adjustments to your CPU fan from your BIOS menu. To enter your computer’s BIOS menu, press F2, F12, Delete, or your computer’s BIOS key while booting. You’ll usually find your fan controls under options menus titled Cooling, Performance, or CPU.
The exact process varies per motherboard, but the video below shows the process for many modern MSI motherboards:
Clean Your PC
There’s also a good chance that the additional noise that you’re hearing from your fans has more to do with how clean your PC is than the performance of the software. Dust, dirt, and debris can get clogged in various parts of the case which can lower fan performance:
You should do regular cleanings to ensure that your PC is dust free and that your fans aren’t fighting an uphill battle.
Practice PC Cooling 101
There are a few things that you can do to ensure that your PC is always in good shape when it comes to heat and fan noise:
- The first thing is to regularly clear out any dust that is building on your fans. Dust also collects on the motherboard itself. This dust insulates our PC which can send your CPU temp sky-high.
- Next, make sure your PC case is positioned away from walls to ensure proper airflow. Also, never place a PC case on a carpet floor as this attracts dust and lowers heat dispersal.
- The last thing you should do is regularly inspect your fans to ensure that they are working properly. A fan control program can let you speed them up to test both noise and performance.
Get To Know TIM
TIM is your best friend when it comes to keeping your CPU cool. TIM stands for Thermal Interface Material. This is the thermal paste you applied when you attached your fan to your CPU.
TIM needs to be applied properly in order to assist with heat mitigation. TIM also has a real-world lifespan of only a few years (although it’s often advertised as “up to 7 years”). You’ll need to reapply your TIM every few years to get the best heat mitigation possible.
How To Tell If Your Fan Sound Is Bad
Before we go any further, you need to know what fan sound signals serious problems. Loud operation is normal when your PC is under heavy load, but you should inspect, or even replace, your fan if you notice any of these sounds.
- Starting and Stopping (failure to keep spinning)
These sounds can be signs that your fan is not properly attached, has a broken blade, or the motor is starting to fail.
Ryzen-Compatible Fans That Are Quiet
Here are a few CPU fans that will fit your new Ryzen CPU and make sure you get a whisper quiet experience.
- Gelid Slim Silence AM4, which is a neat low-profile fan for small cases.
- Noctua fans are amazing, and they have dozens of models to choose from
- Scythe Big Shuriken 3
How To Tell If A Fan Is Ryzen Compatible?
There are a few compatibility factors for Ryzen fans. Actually, these factors pop up with just about any CPU fan.
The first is fit. You want to make sure that the fan you want is the right size and has the right mountings for your motherboard. In the case of the latest Ryzen CPUs, this is the AM4 socket.
Next, look for fans that are rated for the right static pressure for your PC. This ensures that your CPU fan has enough power to move air away from the CPU.
The last thing to look out for is power needs. Most modern motherboards can accommodate a wide range of fans, but if you have a non-standard build, you will want to double-check your mobo + fan combination to make sure it’s not drawing too much power.