Server cooling fans consist of several features to keep the server components cool during operation. High temperatures will cause the performance of the central processing unit (CPU), graphics card, hard drives or chip sets to malfunction prematurely. Passive and active heat sinks are usually required to facilitate the cooling process and achieve optimal server performance. Consumers should research the types of fans available to ensure the device will adequately cool the components within the server.
Passive and Active Cooling Devices Most premium server cooling fans have both passive and active cooling devices inside. Some of the best server fans on the market contain a copper heat sink or cooling plate to increase the surface area and dissipate heat faster. This same cooling fan may also contain a liquid cooling system to facilitate the cooling process of the plate. The third component of the system is active. The fan blows air over the cooling plate to keep the CPU cool and aid in the heat exchange process. These three devices work in conjunction with one another to provide an efficient cooling system for servers.
One heat sink devices alone is not enough to create an optimal cooling experience. Some server fans only offer the fan and the passive copper heat sink to create a cooling environment. While this method is effective, this method does not create an optimal environment. Premium fans address each of the three aforementioned cooling techniques.
Server fans are effective cooling mechanisms; however, they must be fast to adequately exchange the air within the system to avoid overheating. A fan with RPM between 1800 and 2800 RPM will adequately exchange the heated air with cool air to maintain an optimal environment.
Server fans also accumulate dust as they circulate. The dust falls on the cooling plate and diminishes the cooling effect of the system. Dusts acts as a thermal insulator and impedes airflow. A cooling fan that minimizes dust intake is also preferred. Purchasers should clean the fans periodically with gas dusters to ensure the fan provides optimal performance.
Lifetime of the Device
Consumers want to purchase a product that has longevity. Products that need to be replaced frequently are a hassle, cost more money and require more IT manpower. Server fans should possess warranties to guarantee they can withstand continual operation over the lifetime of the server. Some devices are guaranteed for 70,000 hours or more. Other companies guarantee parts and labor for two years or more. Select a company that stands behind their product and their design.
Moisture accumulation in server fans may cause a safety hazard. Devices may short or malfunction prematurely. Select devices that control moisture and have fail-safe mechanisms that will shut the device down if moisture accumulates. Some cooling fan applications have programs embedded that will detect temperature fluctuations and moisture accumulation. Thermo-sensors aid in the detection of moisture and temperature changes. The cooling fan applications will disconnect power to the device to minimize damage to the server. Customer data is protected because of this fail-safe mechanism.
Positioning and Technology
Server fans should support the technology that consumers are attempting to cool. Most server cooling fans focus on cooling the CPU. Ensure the device may be positioned to direct the air towards the CPU. Some designs are inefficient because the placement of the fan does not focus on the device it is designed to cool. Ensure the pin placement of the device will allow for focused cooling.