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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:19 am

My current setup since I've done a major overhaul of my desktop cooling.

I have a Fractal Design Define R4 case with a Corsair H115i water cooler. The entire case uses 140mm 2000RPM Noctua fans (NF-A14).

The two fans in the front draw air in across the hard drives, one on the door drawing air in across the GPU, one on the back drawing air out away from the motherboard, and the two on the top drawing out air across the (inside-mounted) radiator. All the fans are major overkill, apart from maybe the ones on the radiator (which is cooling a heavily-overclocked 4790k), but they are incredibly quiet, and perhaps more importantly the Noctua fans have some of the lowest minimum operating RPM I have seen in a PWM fan, dropping down to around 140-180 RPM before stopping. This allows me to make them extremely quiet when the machine is idle, while still preventing stagnant air inside the case.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:49 am

Corsair carbide 400 case

2 x 120mm inwards front filtered.
2x140mm inwards bottom filtered.
2x140mm inwards side filtered.

2x140mm out top no filter
1x140mm out top-rear no filter

1x 650watt corsair powersupply in bottom, out back with bottom filtered

lots of positive case pressure confirmed by turning off fans with fan controller for each side with a fan (2 fans on a channel per side)
With everything on I get leaks out the gaps and gpu slot cover.

case is quiet with a nice whoosh sound :D
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:27 pm

If it has a whoosh sound it's not quiet.

It can be easy to ignore the noise of a computer if you are in an environment with a high noise floor.

I have a hard time getting to sleep with too much background noise so my standard for a PC is that I have to stick my head right next to the intake or exhaust to hear a faint purr. Once that is achieved I keep it as far away from where I sleep as practical.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:44 pm

NZXT S340. 2x140mm Noctua's in the front as intakes, blowing through an EK radiator. 1x120mm Noctua exhaust in the back. It doesn't take crazy fan numbers (6+ case fans is excessive IMO) to achieve positive pressure and beyond that your gains with more airflow are minimal.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:05 pm

Frugal wrote:
If it has a whoosh sound it's not quiet.

It can be easy to ignore the noise of a computer if you are in an environment with a high noise floor.

I have a hard time getting to sleep with too much background noise so my standard for a PC is that I have to stick my head right next to the intake or exhaust to hear a faint purr. Once that is achieved I keep it as far away from where I sleep as practical.


I wear hearing aides and they pick up white noise better than the human ear. (condenser mics etc.)
From 3 feet away the case is silent to me, you only get the whoosh sound when you are 6inches away.
Case is in the basement on the other side of the house from the furnace etc so it is pretty quiet in there.
Old machine with a NZXT Tempest was much noisier.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:07 pm

slowriot wrote:
(6+ case fans is excessive IMO)


The fans were a steal so I figured "why not?" :D
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 4:59 pm

That sounds like my Grandma's dog who never barked ALL NIGHT LONG (once she took out her hearing aids).

As for hearing aids picking up noise better than human ears, it really depends on the ear in question.

Of course when you can put a couple walls between the computer and your ear and then take out your hearing aids, noise isn't too much of an issue except when your house guests start arriving with Peltor muffs.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:07 pm

The only machine I have that makes any considerable noise is the home server since it's got four 120mm fans all running at full speed. That's why I stuffed it in the closet. In years past I've done lots of watercooling and other mods aimed at keeping the machine quiet, but now that's mostly a solved problem if you buy the right parts.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:08 pm

I don't really fret over airflow. I just keep the case fans in their default positions. I figure the case designers know how to set up fans in their own design.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:01 pm

That's a dangerous assumption. Extra case fans and openings are marketing features these days. Often they are as functional as the windows and lights that they like to add.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:40 pm

I know (and understand) the arguments in favor of positive pressure, but my systems tend to have a lot of drives in them and (frequently) hot swap bays in the 5.25" openings. Putting fans on all the drives/bays is typically not feasible. Because of this, I prefer to run negative pressure, to ensure that cool air from outside the case gets pulled across all of the drives.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:19 pm

My choice-Positive air pressure-Block holes to control air flow.
Handy trick-if you have a windowed case and know someone who smokes-a puff of smoke is a excellent way to check airflow.

Cases on floor tend to collect more dust than desk mounted ones.....
The better the filter the more powerful the fan you need to get air thru it.
Most $4 fans that come with cases are not very good...
Google-Case fan roundups for good info............

I GRRRR every time I look at a GPU in a case,and think-Why couldn't/haven't they reversed them with the components
and heatsink on top instead of bottom..............................................................
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:50 pm

HERETIC wrote:

I GRRRR every time I look at a GPU in a case,and think-Why couldn't/haven't they reversed them with the components
and heatsink on top instead of bottom..............................................................


I've owned a case w a reversed ATX layout (Silverstone KL-01 - CPU socket at bottom, expansion cards on top) and honestly couldn't tell any difference in GPU temps.

EDIT: As to why the GPU points down, this is probably an artefact from the days when desktops were horizontal layout - it made more sense to point the components away from the CPU for thermal and space reasons.
Last edited by Voldenuit on Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:03 am

2x intake fans at front-low
1x intake from the PSU
2x exhaust at back-high

Very slight positive pressure ftw.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:15 am

- Corsair Obsidian 550D
- Dual 120mm front intake fans with filter
- Dual 120mm top intake fans with filter drawing air over a 240mm CPU radiator
- Single 120mm rear exhaust fan
- GPU with blower cooler exiting to rear
- PSU draws in filtered air from bottom of case - exits at rear of case
- No spinning drives
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:39 am

ptsant wrote:
1x intake from the PSU

How do you have your PSU mounted anyway? With a traditional top mount they are effectively an exhaust; if bottom mounted, they don't contribute to case airflow at all, since they suck air in through the bottom of the case and exhaust it directly out the back.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:34 am

Silverstone SG13B, slight positive pressure(MB temps worse with negative pressure)

intake - 1x140mm Noctua 3000rpm PWM fan. Set to 0%@30C to 100%@65C via MB temp. Gets near middle range when CPU/GPU fully stressed. Actively cools six 2.5"(2 ssd/4 hdd) drives between it and PS.

CPU fan- matching power profile as intake. Standard down for positive pressure to VRMs/chipset/RAM,... Noctua NH-L9i, doesn't use loud RPMs under stress. Why? The front fan kicks in as MB temp goes higher.

PS- intake facing up, using top case vent as convection exhaust. Never been able to turn on the hybrid fan. Tried old GTX 460 to heat up case, even if i get a GTX 1070, i dont think ill ever see Corsair's SF450's fan come on...

GPU- does its on thing as it has its own full length vent next to it. Its dual fan, both set to intake, which used to direct some hot air out front of case before i switched to 140mm case fan.


Most important lesson, you dont need many RPMs if you have good airflow and separate air zones. Im considering creating air duct to CPU fan to see if that does anything. I used to have so many Noctua fans in my bad ATX case. You know, the one were the drive bays ensure no front case fans blows on CPU/chipset/RAM/VRM. Instead the lower fans push the GPU air all over the case.

edit: You know everything is perfect when it takes almost no time to get everything back to idle temps after a full stress test.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:38 am

New toy:

NZXT H440 with 3x120 intakes and 3x120 +1x140 exhaust all controlled by a single fan header via NZXT's PWM hub. The PSU is isolated (fan down) and the CPU cooler is pointed back, not up.

This would be a negative pressure case if all the fans were equal, but they're not; The three intakes are high static pressure design and the all the exhausts are the low-noise, airflow-efficient type. Without the GPU under load, the noisiest thing is my fridge in the next room. With the GPU under load, the noisiest thing is GPU, but it's still in close competition with the fridge.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:40 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
This would be a negative pressure case if all the fans were equal, but they're not; The three intakes are high static pressure design and the all the exhausts are the low-noise, airflow-efficient type. Without the GPU under load, the noisiest thing is my fridge in the next room. With the GPU under load, the noisiest thing is GPU, but it's still in close competition with the fridge.

I have to wonder if the exhaust fans might actually REDUCE overall airflow in this situation.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:35 pm

blahsaysblah wrote:
edit: You know everything is perfect when it takes almost no time to get everything back to idle temps after a full stress test.

This has been close to my experience, I usually see a lag, I have not timed it but it's not very long.

I have a habit of doing a power budget on my builds and choosing a PSU that will be at about 70-90% of rated capacity at full load, then I stress test it with benchmarking utilities and a Kill-a-watt to confirm the power draw. It is hard to stress an entire computer to 100% and most TDP numbers you find are true worst case figures so that 70-90% load is usually less in my stress tests and normal usage peaks would be even less than that.

While I'm doing that I will tweak the fan speeds and look at temps. I'm happy when I can keep my peaks under 60c or so and a low noise idle with temps around maybe 40c max.

My final tests will make some noise because the fans will throttle up but I will be looking at the temps after I quit the stress test and watch it until it hits idle temps. I'll be checking the Kill-a-watt to make sure I get back to idle current too.

If everything looks good, the time from full load back to idle temps is short enough that I never worry about it.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:39 pm

blahsaysblah wrote:
You know everything is perfect when it takes almost no time to get everything back to idle temps after a full stress test.

That is a good point. My OC'ed GPU temps drop immediately once GPU load ends after a couple of hours of gameplay.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:22 pm

https://youtu.be/sh6F2eccMec

This video has a great visual demonstration of positive, neutral, and negative pressure using a smoke machine.
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:42 am

I simply open up the case and use a vacuum cleaner to dispose of dust. Usually I clean my PC twice a year. 
My colleague runs his PC in a cardboard box. And he assures that he never hear about overheating or buying a new fan. He simply makes a hole in the box and sticks in a fan. And he's ready to carry on.
Does anyone use such method too? 
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:07 pm

HAF-X case, GPU+CPU are watercooled
200mm+230mm fan intakes
4x140mm fan exhausts, 3 out the top and one on the back.

Configured to draw air in the front and side, then direct it upwards through the large radiator hiding in the top. On ultra-low fan speeds the giant radiator acts like a passive heatsink radiating heat up and out the top of the case.

The giant fans were inaudble and run at default speeds, but the Noctua 140's were not so those are undervolted. The case is very close to or has positive airflow judging by the dust inside versus on the intake filters.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:22 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
This would be a negative pressure case if all the fans were equal, but they're not; The three intakes are high static pressure design and the all the exhausts are the low-noise, airflow-efficient type. Without the GPU under load, the noisiest thing is my fridge in the next room. With the GPU under load, the noisiest thing is GPU, but it's still in close competition with the fridge.

I have to wonder if the exhaust fans might actually REDUCE overall airflow in this situation.

They would if the case were sealed, but there are vents elsewhere.
What exhaust fans do, even when they're not contributing much to the pressure is direct airflow. The CPU cooler is going to be spitting out turbulent warm air so the exhausts effectively create the airpath I want (directly out of the case) rather than having it spread evenly around the case until eventually ejected by the net pressure.
Total case airflow with the exhausts is likely not much different to what it would be without the exhausts, but I can at least control where the deadzones and high-flow areas are.
Given the turbulent and chaotic nature of airflow, the only way to know for sure would be to glass-panel one side of my case and perform smoke tests; A bit too much effort for me given that sometimes I can't even be bothered to get out of bed ;)
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:53 pm

Silverstone's venerable Fortress FT02B with the 90 degrees rotated MB setup.
- 3x180mm filtered AirPenetrator bottom default intakes (usually on low, 700rpm)
- 1x120mm default exhaust on top
- PSU with isolated airflow on the back wall
- CPU twin tower air cooler with 2x140mm upshooting fans
- GPU air cooled with twin axial fans

Positive pressure, sure.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:03 am

Fractal Design Define R4:
  • Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-13s (120mm @ 1150rpm) in the front middle intake and rear exhaust positions. They're connected to the case's built-in fan controller, which allows 12V, 7V, and 5V to be selected. Generally I'll ramp them up to 12V if I'm gaming and leave them at 5V when I'm not, which means things are pretty quiet at idle.
  • Another GT AP-13 on the CPU, controlled by the motherboard. Though I strongly suspect that it just remains at a low speed even if the CPU is hitting 80C.
  • PSU bottom mounted with fan facing down, so I consider it to be its own separate cooling system. Anyway, the fan doesn't spin unless it's needed, and I don't think I've ever heard it.

I'm planning on overclocking my CPU again soon, so I may need to rethink this cooling strategy, as it's definitely optimised for low noise rather than airflow.
 
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:07 am

After a while, and some experimentation with the AF120s as well as the H60, it seems like I get the best overall temperatures for everything - CPU, GPU, both sets of VRMs, PCH, motherboard - aside from storage devices, but that's probably because they don't have any fans helping them, but their temps stay constant at least...

It appears that with my current case (Corsair 100R) and a H60, it works best with a AF120 fan at the top exhausting, the H60 exhausting as a pull configuration since the radiator's shape prevents a pure push configuration as an exhaust; there must be a fan in between the case and the radiator, and the other AF120 occupying the unobstructed upper-front fan mount as an intake, with a clear path to the video card.

Honestly, I think this is more than good enough; and I learned that any open fan mounts should be left alone for best cooling, too. Sometimes case airflow is a bit counterintuitive...
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:47 am

Takeshi7 wrote:
I don't really fret over airflow.  I just keep the case fans in their default positions.  I figure the case designers know how to set up fans in their own design.


agreed
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Re: So how do you guys do case airflow?

Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:57 am

tsoulier wrote:
Takeshi7 wrote:
I don't really fret over airflow.  I just keep the case fans in their default positions.  I figure the case designers know how to set up fans in their own design.


agreed


Fair enough, it's probably safe to assume that they've chosen a reasonable default, but if for instance you have six 3.5" hard drives then you will want to ensure there's enough airflow in that area of the case, and if you want a particularly quiet system you may want to go with fans that optimise for that. But I've never bought a case where the default setup was actually bad.

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