Question Replacing CPU fan but leaving heatsink.

Apr 22, 2019
My CPU fan has been making a terrible racket lately, and after service cleaning the fan and heat sinks, I noticed these didn't solve the problem. I opened my rig back up and just did a spin flick and it made the sound. So is there a way I can replace the fan itself? Or do I need to just buy a whole new fan+heatsink combo? I don't knowthe model of the cooler but the brand is Cooler Master and I think the fan is 90 mm, simply because it's smaller than my 120 mm case fans.

Also, are static fans used for CPU's, or just water-cooled systems?


Windows 10
MSI B250 Bazooka Motherboard
Intel Extreme i7-7700k CPU @ 4.2 ghz
Seasonic G Series 550 SSR-550RM 550W 80+ Gold ATX12V & EPS12V Semi-Modular
16gb DDR4 ram
120 gb SSD


Is it the stock cooler or an aftermarket one? Probably, if it is a 90mm Cooler master cooler, there's not a very compelling reason to replace the fan when a much better cooler is likely only a few bucks more.

What is your case model?

Is your current cooler a stock style top-down unit or a tower heatsink model?
For reference on fan size, the size is the dimension (mm) of one SIDE of the fan's square frame. It is not the hole spacing.

Look closely at how the fan is fastened to the heatsink. Sometimes it is merely screws through the fan's corner holes into the spaces between heatsink fins. Looking at photos of Cooler Master CPU Air Coolers, I see two fastening types. Some use a set of springy metal wires at the four corners to hold the fan against the heatsink. Others seem to have a plastic frame snapped onto the heatsink, and then screws through the fan corners into that plastic frame. In any case, see if you can spot how to disconnect the fan from its heatsink mounting. Then it would be easy to replace it with another fan of the same size.

I suggest you get a 4-pin fan since so many CPU_FAN headers seem pre-set for that type. DO look for one with a higher static pressure rating, NOT the type optimized for high air flow in a low-backpressure setting. The narrow spaces of a heatsink present significant air flow impediment, so a higher output pressure fan is needed there.

While you have the old fan off, inspect carefully the spaces between the heatsink fins. There may be dust collected there. If so, remove all that before replacing the fans.

On the new fan, you should find two arrow molded into the exterior of the frame. One points through the fan body to indicate air flow direction, so use that to guide your installation. The other points around the frame to indicate fan rotation direction.