The electronic components of a computer run on electrical impulses. These components generate heat that must be removed and replaced with cooler air for the components to function. Fans are commonly used in computers to remove the generated heat, and computers typically have a fan with the power supply, a fan to cool the central processing unit, several fans in the computer's case and even a fan on the graphics card. Despite the popularity of using fans, there are some advantages to having a computer without any fans. Fanless computers are very quiet, clean, reliable and flexible as to their location.
Almost all the noise a computer makes comes from its fans. When you eliminate fans, you eliminate noise. Creating a PC that runs silently is an important consideration for some computers such as a home theater PC, or HTPC. Fanless computers are commonly used as HTPCs because they can replace several existing audio/visual components with a single computer that runs as silently as a cable TV box or DVD player.
No External Debris
Some computer fans blow inward and others blow outward, depending on the location of the fan and the air circulation dynamics of the case. When a computer fan blows inward, it carries not only cool air but also debris such as dust and dirt. This debris can build up over time and interfere with the electronic components inside the computer, causing them to fail. By using a fanless computer, you eliminate the inflow of debris that can potentially harm the PC.
No Moving Parts
Moving parts in a computer are susceptible to mechanical failure caused by debris, shock and vibration. Most, if not all, of a computer's moving parts are fans. When a fan has a mechanical failure, it not only requires a replacement fan but also puts the stability and health of the computer at risk. As the temperature rises, the computer might shut itself down unexpectedly. Some electronic components may overheat and become permanently damaged. With a fanless computer, you eliminate the risk of a fan's mechanical breakdown and the resulting downtime and potential damage to electronic components.
Fanless computers can be placed in locations unsuitable for computers with fans. For example, there might be a need to locate a computer in an outdoor space exposed to rain or snow. While a computer with fans could not function if exposed to the elements, a fanless computer could tolerate the exposure. Medical computers used in operating rooms are usually fanless computers because fans threaten the sterility of the operating room.