Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

Fractal Design R4 Front Fan Position Question

Last response: in Systems
Share
December 9, 2013 7:53:13 AM

I am wrapping up a build for a DAW and I am probably over thinking this but I would appreciate some opinions on this. I have a Fractal R4 case, my CPU cooler is a Noctua NH-D14 which is pointed at the rear exhaust fan. I have removed the upper 3.5" drive cage to facilitate airflow in the front. I am doing modest overclocking with a i7-4770K and an MSI Z-87 mobo.

The dilemma is the front fan. If I put it in the lower position, it is pointed right at the lower drive cage which is great for bringing in cool air low and bring flow over the drives, but there is not a lot of space for air to pass through the cage and with the front of the cage being so open for airflow, I am worried about air reflecting back and out of the front. I do have the D14 which has two good sized fans that may be enough to create airflow that will pull from the front in which case this would be fine.

The other alternative is to put the front fan in the top position which sits halfway up the tower. This would deliver solid airflow to the D14 fans but completely miss the drive bay and it is not bring air in from as low, obviously. However, I don't have to worry about blowing a fan onto a mostly solid drive cage.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Best solution

December 9, 2013 8:01:05 AM

Since you have a D14, the thing to worry most about is keeping the motherboard cool. Arrange your front intake fan in whichever config gets the most airflow over the motherboard (probably the 'top' position). The storage drives should be fine (especially if they are SSDs) - if you are concerned about them then use a 2nd fan in the bottom position. But your priority, especially when overclocking with a side-blowing tower cooler, is to keep the motherboard's VRM cool.
Share
December 9, 2013 8:03:50 AM

To be honest, the Noctua cooler is plenty enough to efficiently cool that CPU, even with a bit of overclocking.

Cooling over the drives might be the best option, just to increase longevity of the drives, but even then it probably won't matter too much.

In fact, the best option would be to splash out a fiver on a new fan, and just have two fans in the front of your case instead.
m
0
l
Related resources
December 10, 2013 8:02:42 AM

larkspur said:
Since you have a D14, the thing to worry most about is keeping the motherboard cool. Arrange your front intake fan in whichever config gets the most airflow over the motherboard (probably the 'top' position). The storage drives should be fine (especially if they are SSDs) - if you are concerned about them then use a 2nd fan in the bottom position. But your priority, especially when overclocking with a side-blowing tower cooler, is to keep the motherboard's VRM cool.


Thank you both for your thoughts. I wish I could have picked both of you as right answers because you each had a bit of wisdom that helped me out. I will heavily consider just getting a second fan, although currently the system is staying very cool, even overclocked so I'm not sure if it will be necessary. In the end I went with the upper fan position but moved my HDD to the top position of the lower rack to give it the closest contact to that front fan. This seem to be giving great airflow from front to back. And man, this R4 case, even running the fans at the highest voltage position is near dead silent.

m
0
l
December 10, 2013 8:25:52 AM

I was going to ask you if you were worried about the noise since it's a DAW machine but seems like you are not. I'm also looking at build a DAW machine and would be interested in your full build. I am thinking 4770K as well since I heard good things about it for DAW processing. How much RAM? Is the Noctua very quiet? I was looking at getting an EVO since they are supposed to be reasonably quiet and are about 1/2 the price and I was debating about the case but your experience is convincing
m
0
l
December 10, 2013 7:47:25 PM

DiverDave said:
I was going to ask you if you were worried about the noise since it's a DAW machine but seems like you are not. I'm also looking at build a DAW machine and would be interested in your full build. I am thinking 4770K as well since I heard good things about it for DAW processing. How much RAM? Is the Noctua very quiet? I was looking at getting an EVO since they are supposed to be reasonably quiet and are about 1/2 the price and I was debating about the case but your experience is convincing


Hi DiverDave,

I largely record inside the box, that being said I do occasionally record in the same room with mics so a quiet build was a top priority. Here is my build.

MSI Z87-G43 mobo
Intel i7-4770K CPU
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2133Mhz DDR3 RAM 32GB (4x8GB)
Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 - 720W PSU
Noctua NH-D14 140mm and 120mm SSO CPU Cooler
Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Case
Intel 240GB SSD
Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM
Pioneer Black 15X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R
WIN 7 Pro 64bit
SIIG 1394 3-port PCI Card Model NN-440012-S8 Firewire for audio interface

and that is about a months worth of my research all in one shot. The system flies and it is super quiet. The R4 case really is amazing with all of the soundproofing, and it runs very cool with this setup. The Noctua isn't a PWM controlled fan which I was a little concerned about but the case lets you run all your fans at three different voltage levels and to tell you the truth, at a full 12V the case is really quiet. If I was going to record live mics in my room I would probably knock it down to 7V. At that point the whole case is near inaudible. Even with the fans at 12V, it is the quietest build I have ever had. I'm running Cubase 7, soon to be 7.5 and my audio interface is a Presonus Firestudio Project. Hope this helps. I was able to build everything I listed here for around $1400 looking for deals. You can knock 200 off going with less RAM. 32GB is overkill for most people but I run a lot of vsti's so I went for overkill. Hope this helps man. Good luck.
m
0
l
December 11, 2013 8:42:28 AM

Thanks a ton Jakelin, I found it hard to get lots of information on DAW systems (mostly its about gaming). Did you O/C the 4770K? I'm guessing you did or plan to otherwise I'm not sure there would be a reason to get the K version. My computer will still be a general purpose one in addition to recording and I don't have a box so noise, especially with acoustic guitars is something I need to consider.

I'll be running PT (unless I cannot get it to work on the new system since it's PT 8) and plan to run Win 8.1 (figure I might as well get the latest) but I need to look at the Presonus as well. I'll probably stay with 16G of RAM which should do from most of the plugins I think

Thanks again
m
0
l
!