Question Are case fans at the rear, top, and front of a PC case the same?

Nov 11, 2020
I am new to PC building, and hope to get some wisdom for a ‘build’ I am making.

I am in the process of picking fans for my PC case, and have realized that I haven't considered whether the fans I hope to buy can be used for the rear, top, or front of my case.

My question is whether I have to buy a particular type of fan for the rear, top, and front of my case; or can fans be suited for any location of the PC case?

I'm just confused how the 'rear' fan can be used as a fan at the front if its job is to blowing hot air? How would it know that it should be sucking in cool air at the front?

I am sorry if this is a dumb question. I have used a laptop all my life.


A fan pulls air in one side and blows out the other.

Airflow is dependant on which way you face it.

On a front intake you keep the open intake side to the front of the case

On a rear / top exhaust the rear strutted side is faced outwards towards the case.

Front pulls air in, rear/top blows air out.

Its as simple as that and yes you can use the same fans for intake and exhaust irregardless.

My case has 4 x 140mm fans, all the same fractal gp2's - 2 x front intake, 1 x rear exhaust, 1 x top exhaust.
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