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need help with Dell case mid-tower cooling ideas

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October 2, 2006 6:17:41 PM

Hello and thanks in advance for reading.

I have a Dell Dimension 8400 -- this is in their pretty standard mid-tower ATX case. These cases change slightly over time with new models but don't change much ... so it has the one heat-shrouded exhaust for the large CPU fan.

Recently I've had the opportunity to test two separate, but identical, 7900 GTs in this machine. Before shipping off one of these to a friend, I first benchmarked the two cards for some days in my Dimension 8400.

For both of the 7900GTs, the temps were idle 48 C and hot 61 C, in my Dell.
I sent off one of the cards to my friend, who overclocked his from 450MHz to 562MHz ... and his temps never rise above 55 C even when running 3dMark06 for thirty minutes.

So, it pretty much confirms what I had suspected long ago, which is that Dell has particularly poor cooling solutions in their mid-tower cases.

I'd like tips on what I can do to help cool my machine. It might be that you would need to be familiar with Dell's cases in order to offer the best advice.

Thanks.
October 19, 2006 5:01:50 PM

I'd cut a big hole in the front of your case (avoid wires and electronics) for a front fan so it can pull air easily. Put a filter over it and ensure your wires are all taped/zip-tied out of the way.

I like cutting holes in my case.
October 19, 2006 5:23:03 PM

Actually if I were going to provide air in the front of the case, I would just insert a 5.25" bay fan into my empty spot.

For now all seems good, though. I have a PCIe 7900 GT in there and have overclocked it more than 100 MHz on the core. However I put a Zalman VF900 Cu on the graphics card, lowering the core temps (stressed max) from 69 C to 48 C.
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October 19, 2006 5:47:03 PM

A few things about the older Dell cases. They are steel covered in plastic. Makes it particularly difficult to cut holes and such. It has a thick layered effect. One thing you could do is install a slot cooler that sits under your card and exhausts out the back.

I did mount a front fan on mine, since there was a sort of grill there for air intake (I used zip ties). One thing I thought about doing was using some cardboard to funnel the air directly to the graphics card and leaving some slots open to exhaust the air. You can make a cheapy air filter from a used dryer sheet.

Er.. don't expect an elegant solution here :lol: 
October 19, 2006 6:27:21 PM

Quote:
I'd cut a big hole in the front of your case (avoid wires and electronics) for a front fan so it can pull air easily. Put a filter over it and ensure your wires are all taped/zip-tied out of the way.

I like cutting holes in my case.


It's somewhat tough to do this since Dell cases are metal chassis but have molded plastic exteriors, kinda like how Alienware does it.
!