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Case Fan Layout (especially in Cooler Master 830).

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January 23, 2007 12:11:30 PM

I used to be a airflow / case fan layout GOD. That is, when you stuck one slower RPM/CFM fan in the front bottom and a bigger, faster one in the top of the back. Boy, I could buy and plug in two fans like nobody's business. *snicker*

Anyway, I'm now looking for actual guidance, figures or even just anecdotal advice on how to layout the fans for my new Cooler Master 830. I'm going to be running an E6600 (overclocked) with a Tuniq 120 HSF, four banks of RAM (eventually) and dual 8800 GTX cards along with about six SATA drives. I also finally settled on a PC Power & Cooling 750W Silencer.

The Cooler Master the following spots for fans (all 120mm, I believe):
+ 1 in the back
+ 3 in the front, vertically
+ 1 in the top
+ 1 in the bottom
+ 4 on the side panel

I'm not finding much in the way of solid layout guides and not much in the way of advice from existing owners of the Cooler Master 830 who might have real world experience, so I'm hoping for your thoughts. I'm also aiming for something quiet, so I either need fewer fans, slower fans or simply quieter fans. And I've had a case with a ton of fans in it before that blew my ears out. It sounded like a jet taking off (very literally). Of course, they were just cheap 80mm or 90mm fans. They weren't anything special.

Should the rear and top fans be a couple of fast, high CFM powerhouses? Should I bother with front intakes? If so, how many and should they be lower speed/CFM? Should the bottom case fan (intake, I presume) be lower speed/CFM, too? Should I bother with the side fans? I figure they might be really nice to have sucking cooler room air to blow on the Tuniq/CPU, ram and dual video cards. Should they also be slow speed?

If I have four 120mm fans pulling air in on the side panel, I suspect having fans taking air in from the front would be pointless except for where I have hard drives directly in front of them?

Cooler Master also has something called a "Crossflow Fan" which is like a roller bar that takes up the space of two of the side fans and somehow angles at the motherboard to provide some sort of... cooling. Apparently some people have offered it good reviews, but I'd be interested in any first-hand experience with it that you may have.

Also, any specific brands I should consider? I don't care for LED or UV or whatever the hell the ravers are sticking in their cases these days between dropping x tabs, either. :) 

Forgive me if this has already been posted and answered previously. I spent a long time searching on numerous phrases and keywords and I didn't really find what I was hoping for.

A million thanks!
January 24, 2007 12:19:35 AM

Sweet. That's exactly what I planned four. I bought 4x140mm 54 CFM (19 decibel) fans for side panel intake. The only other option was a 73 CFM fan at 38 decibels. Ugh. I think 200+ CFM intake on the sides is plenty! :D 

As long as the two 8800 GTX cards will still allow me to place the drive cage on the bottom of the case, that is where the intake fan will be, blowing over the drive(s). I probably won't populate the rest of the front with fans since each one requires another costly 4-in-3 cage. Then I'll leave the stock fan in the back as standard exhaust and the stock fan for the top as exhaust (everything I'd read tended to suggest it should be an intake, but I felt it would be more useful as exhaust with the PSU next to it - as long as that isn't going to interfere with intake for the PSU to cool itself).

Hopefully this is going to still remain quiet. I also am not sure how good the stock fans with the Cooler Master 830 are with regards to CFM and silence. If they're anything like the stock exhaust fan on my 810, they are VERY slow and low CFM, but very quiet. I may decide to upgrade it.

Should I consider using higher CFM fans for the rear and top exhaust? If the side panels are pulling 200 CFM inward and the front fan is pulling about 50 CFM in, I don't think two 50 CFM exhaust fans will be able to keep up and the insides will have a lot of hot air. I've seen that expectation backed up on a couple of tech sites out there, but I'm not sure how solid that logic really is . . . ?
January 24, 2007 12:33:17 AM

Can you clarify what you mean by "if you get the exhaust fans to equal the intake that the PSU will ofset it in favor of the exhaust"?

Are you speaking in terms of electrical power going to supply the fans? Or are you speaking in regard to exhaust CFM versus PSU CFM?

And it will definitely be loud if I need to upgrade the two exhaust fans so that they'll match the intake. (which will be at least 250 CFM).

However, since the front of the case is not solid (that is, there are just mesh guards with foam mesh filters in them) will that reduce the amount of exhaust airflow needed? Hopefully any excess difference between intake and exhaust would simply be puffed out the front where most of the mesh bays will be unobstructed by any drives...?
January 24, 2007 12:45:26 AM

Thanks for the explanation. It should have been obvious, but for some reason the PSU exhaust didn't occur to me (or rather, I just presumed it wouldn't be aiding in exhausting much more than the same heat the PSU was adding).

Anyway, I'll know in about 40 hours whether I'm going to go deaf or not. It can't be any worse than the old Super Trend Micro Tower five years ago where I had about a dozen loud fans. I telecommute and one day my boss actually asked me during a conference call "are you calling from an air conditioner or something?! What the hell is that noise?!". *sigh*

Thanks again!
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