H100i in pull exhaust (top) - recommended fans? thank you

Thank you very much for reading. I got an h100i (mobo is Asus Hero) in a Define R4 and I would like to set the rad up on top with 2x120mm fans in pull exhaust.

Do you have recommendations for what fans to get? Specifically since this is a pull exhaust, I am wondering if high static pressure fans still make sense since usually the pressure is on the side of the exhaust, not the "pulling" side, so seems kind of irrelevant here. Or does that not matter?

Usually people recommend the Noctua or the Corsair SP120, but I've done some research and there seem to be some other brands that are as good or better.

I'm thinking of trying 2x silverstone air penetrators, what are your thoughts on that (particularly vis-a-vis static air penetration potentially being useless in pull-exhaust)? Other suggestions very welcome!

FYI I'm thinking of setting up my air flow as described in .

Last but not least, if you have any recommendations on air filters and air ducts, that would be awesome.

Thank you very much!
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  1. Here's the thing. Yes, there are other brands that are "better" in that they have better specs.

    But they're going to be WAY louder and will not have nearly as good performance when NOT running at maximum speed. Just throwing that out there.
  2. Thanks DarkSable, ya I don't mean to be contrarian just for the sake of it!
    What is you recommendation specifically? I really do dislike the Noctua color scheme, so would you say the Corsair SP120 are fine? If I go that route i'm thinking of getting the Silent edition since the performance seems to have noise issues when "undervolted" unfortunately.
  3. Best answer
    I dislike the Noctua color scheme as well, but the thing that you have to give them is that they're QUIET.

    I used exclusively corsair fans until I added a 2x140mm radiator into my loop; corsair doesn't have good 140mm radiator fans, so I picked up some Noctuas. Even at full power they're way, way quieter than any of my Corsair fans, and I have all the Corsair variants. The Noctuas also have a far better bearing that will last longer.

    Going with the silent edition Corsairs will in fact be your best bet if you really don't want the Noctuas, but they are what I recommend.
  4. Thanks a lot for the help. Three follow-up questions:
    1) with the h100i I know the radiator takes 2x120mm but the top of the R4 actually accepts 2x140mm, is it possible somehow to use 140mm for better cooling?
    2) since like the answer to (1) is no, i have to use 2x120mm, which specific Noctua model do you recommend?
    3) will the Noctuas be visiable in a top pull exhaust configuration? They will essentially be hidden by the rad, but not sure if they will be visible on top of the R4?

    I don't think I'll be able to stomach the Noctua inside the case though, so I'll probably do the AF 140mm Corsairs
  5. 1) You absolutely can - don't buy an h100i. Either go with a custom water loop / starter water cooling kit, or buy NZXT's kracken cooler, which is a 280mm all-in-one.

    2) Either the NF-P12-1300, or the NF-F12 PWM if you can use PWM control on them. If you want 140mm fans, go with the PWM model 140mm fan.

    3) It depends on a few things, and I really couldn't tell you. They might be able to be seen through the radiator grill on the top, and they might stick down a tiny bit, but really, well...

    First of all, they won't be glaringly noticeable. Second of all, nobody who knows PCs is going to do anything but be impressed if they notice that color combo - it's ugly as sin but is part of noctua's branding, for sure.
  6. (1) I've already purchased the h100i so that ship has sailed :)
    Also not sure if it wasn't clear but i'm planning to run it in pull exhaust (to facilitate cleaning, i know it's not as effective), so the fans will above the rad pulling air up through it and out of the case; so I don't think they'll be visible from inside of the case but may be visible from the outside.

    (2) thanks, i got the ASUS hero mobo, i think i'll just let it control the fans so i'll get the PWM version

    Frankly, I REALLY don't get why the f. Noctua decided on that disgusting color scheme. It is just beyond ugly and matches NO common color scheme. It is just out-of-this-world incompatible with of the standard component colors (ie black, blue, red, yellow). I have no issue spending $30 on a high quality fan, but why does it have to be such an eyesore... /sigh
  7. Ahh, then no. You could possibly use 140mm fans for silence, but that would be wonky and difficult to mount. You'd probably have to use zip ties.

    No, yeah, that's what I was talking about - I run my rads that way too, for the same reason. They might be visible from the top, looking down, but any computer enthusiast is going to know they're noctuas, not just ugly fans. :P

    Sounds good to me. I'm a big fan of letting the motherboard do the heavy lifting, and it lets you use software to control them as well.

    Yeah, that's a good question. They're Austrian, so I would chalk it up to one part insanity and one part trying to make a "distinctive brand." Which they did, but...

    If you're really looking for a way to hide them, red LEDs are the best, as they make them look as close to a white body with black fans as you're going to get.
  8. Oh so you also run as Top-Pull-Exhaust? that's cool! Thanks for the tips with the LEDs, my color scheme is turning out to be red/black but I'm trying to a void anything too flashy. Will definitely keep the LEDs in mind though, might resort to that!

    Abusing your expertise here, I've a few follow-up questions:
    1) I read somewhere that the Noctuas are great except when run in that exact configuration, something about the bearing and how it gets pulled on (they are better pushing air down or horizontally). Do you know if that's really true?
    2) what would you recommend for the other case fans? i'm planning to run a positive pressure box so will need three other fans, and this case supports both 140mms and 120mms, and i'm thinking 140 is always better. I hear good things about the eLoops. Do you recommend the Noctua 140mms as well (yuck)?
    3) finally, what filters would you recommend? I might potentially run the back fan as intake rather than exhaust and will need a filtering solution.

  9. Yep. It just makes things easier. A lot of us do that - even linus of linustechtips and NCIX.

    That is incorrect. A lot of cheap bearings are bad if the fan blades are pointing up and the struts are pointing down (so that the fan is blowing downwards.) But the Noctua bearings don't have as much of an issue with that, and that's not what you're going to be using anyways.

    2) Bear in mind that positive pressure doesn't matter how many fans you have, it matters the combined pressures of input and output. That being said, 140mm fans will move more air with less noise, so yes, it's better. I do still recommend noctuas, yeah, but if it's JUST a case fan, you could pretty easily get away with Corsair 140mm fans. Noiseblockers are supposed to be good; I've never tried them.

    3) No clue on filters, sorry. I live in the horrible state of Nevada, where dust filters get clogged within a few days and the dust is so fine filters don't help that much anyways. I just spend a lot of money on compressed air.

    EDIT: When I did use filters, the ghetto method of using fine-weave pantyhose was by far the best. It ain't pretty, even with black hose, but it works.
  10. Thanks a lot for all your help, appreciate it. You may be interested in this post btw which shows a very curious effect of improving your cooling (especially if you are doing a top exhaust) by turning the BACK fan from exhaust to intake. This supposedly significantly eases the job of the fans.

    I've marked your reply that is most relevant to my question as the solution, although all of your answers have been very useful!

  11. Ah, yeah, I've seen that before, it's most helpful in large cases. I tend to run small form factors, but it's still a good tip.
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