What makes a fan noisy? Apparently there are big differences in stock fans compared to after market ones. Is it just poor design?

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buildapc

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vesp_au
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The bearings, fan blade design, and mounting design all contribute to the noise of a fan. Usually stock fans are the most basic of the basic: cheap bearings, cheap fan blades, and standard mounting. Good aftermarket fans will have better parts.

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WishIHadAComputer
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