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Case design, PSU placement, CPUs cooler questions

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July 26, 2008 5:37:51 PM

Looking for some help picking out designing a build optimized for reduced noise with good airflow on a budget. Haven't done this in a while and the techs seem to have evolved quite a bit so I need some help figuring out what best suits my needs.

As for cases there seem to be two main designs, ones with the PSU on the top and those with them one the bottom. The idea of putting the PSU on the bottom seems kinda wierd to me for several reasons. For one, its fan is gonna be sucking right out cold air comming from the bottom. Secondly since the fan ain't really doing anything good for you its just wasted noise that needs to be compensated by additional fans. I guess on the plus side you can vent to the cpu and exaust directly out. I really don't understand why this is any better then ducting to the cpu and then venting to the exaust to the psu fan.

Next question I have relates to how you set up the CPU cooler with the ducts and exaust. With these new cases with ducts on the side panel seems like the vent would work best with a cooler that blows onto the CPU. However the more popular coolers seem to be the ones that blow air perpendicular the CPU. So basically whats the best way to pair one fo these with the duct and exaust?

Some of the cases I'm looking at at the Antech 300 which seems to have good ventilation but also has the PSU on the bottom. The Antech SOLO which is supposed to be quiet but lacks a side vent and may be too small for me. Mabey the Cooler Master Elite 324/5 which again might be too small for me. Also looked at some of the Sunbeams like the Freezing Storm.

Planning on a Radeon 3450 and Arctic Cooling Glacial 7 or possibly a Xigmatex 1263. Things I want for the case are front filter system, at least front and rear 120s, and possibly side CPU duct and less importantly a vent near the GPU. Looking to spend at most $80 if anyone has any good suggestions.
July 27, 2008 3:14:41 AM

You might also want to check out sites like Silent PC Review. I'd stick with a standard PS-at-top case. Don't worry about front filters and front fans, because they don't do any good. The three things to concentrate on:
1) Overall airflow through the case. This pretty much means making sure you have enough exhaust fans. Intake will take care of itself (the side vents for graphics card area and CPU area will help with that, but you also want air to be drawn in from the front of the case (usually the bottom). Modern more-efficient power supplies produce less heat, so their fans don't run as much and/or as fast. Thus, you can't count on the PS fan for exhaust anymore. Make sure you have at least one good 120mm exhaust fan on the upper back of the case; a second in that area or the top may be necessary if you have a furnace of a graphics card, but that doesn't seem to be true for you.
2) How much heat will the graphics card add to the inside of the case (which will then need to be removed by the case exhaust fan(s))? Yours should be modest, so not really an issue here.
3) CPU cooling. Many people think that aftermarket coolers must be better than the stock cooler that comes with the CPU, but they are wrong. The stock cooler isn't bad, and by using the BIOS fan speed settings, you can often set it so it's not noisy. In addition, very few aftermarket coolers are "downdraft-style", replicating the stock cooler's cooling of components near the CPU (e.g. north bridge, PWM area) by its down-and-out-in-all-directions airflow. This lack of secondary cooling can cause problems with a number of MB designs.

I'd look at the Arctic Cooling line of 120mm exhaust fans for affordable, quiet, good-airflow fans. You might also check out something like the Antec temperature-controlled case fans.
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