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Fans and Fan Control and other Cooling

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September 5, 2009 2:55:13 AM

This is Caleb back again, and yes still on Dad's THG account as no confirmation e-mail has yet arrived from THG

My current box has two rear case fans, one front , a CPU cooler and an auxilliary fan for the memory / northbridge area. Things will get a bit more complicated in the new build:

Antec 1200 Case Fans:

- 1 top 200mm, w/ 3 speed switch (who knows where), 4 pin, 400, 600, 800 RPM / 83, 108, 134 CFM / Current 0.08A, 0.17A, 0.3A
- 2 rear 120mm, 1 speed, 3 & 4 pin (?), 1,600 - 2,000 RPM / 56 - 79 CFM / Current 0.24A
- 3 front 120mm, same as above 120s
- 1 side 120mm directed at graphic card(s), same as above 120's
- 1 middle 120mm directed at CPU or graphics cards

Prolimatech Megahalems Heatsink Cooler Fans:

-1 or 2, haven't picked yet...prolly pick from the following:

Noctua NF-P12
Noctua NF-S12-1200
Noctua NF-S12-800
Scythe S-FLEX™ SFF21F
Scythe S-FLEX™ SFF21G

Suggestions welcome

MoBo Fan:

The MoBo has an optional fan which is only intended to be used at it's designed mounting location if using passive or water cooling....otherwise will mess up air flow .... hate to see it go to waste tho :)  ....maybe can find a useful place to mount it.

So now the questions.....

1. If ya go w/ 2 fans on the CP heatsink, how ya go about plugging them in and controlling them. MoBo only has one spot for a CPU fan.

2. Nothing on Antec site says where the 3 speed switch is on the big boy 200mm. Asuume manual control is only option here.

3. Seven fans left, eight if I can find a use for the MoBo one. On my current Antec case, all the fans are on one molex plug. I'd rather be able to control these somehow and have been looking at controllers. Seems if one of these is mounted in a 5.25" bay, I'm gonna need a few extensions to bring fan wires all the way up there.

4. Can two fans be "ganged" together on one controller knob so I can use a 4 channel unit ?

5. I have used HD coolers before but didn't find the 5.25" bay mounted ones useful. With three HD cages each holding up to 3 drives.....seems a plain ole heat sink applied with thermal adhesive paste would do wonders in front of those front mounted intake fans. Anyone tried this before ?
September 5, 2009 3:26:34 AM

1. Some HSF i've seen that use 2 fans splice the 2 fans into 1 connector.

2. The 3 speed switch is flush mounted on the antec 1200 in the back on the top left corner. So are the switches for the 2 rear 120mm.

3. certain fans work with certain fan contollers. just double check. i'm not to sure of the specifics myself sorry I can't help more.

4. The Controllers i've used suggested against putting 2 or more fans on a single controller. But i've done it, and it worked fine. It may limit max speed to an extent.

5. HDD coolers in the antec 1200 would be pointless IMO.
September 5, 2009 4:38:57 AM

The three front fans serve as HDD coolers in the antec 1200.

You might check if you can mount the Megahelms so it blows up and out the top fan or not. Supposedly that will get you about 1 degree cooler than sideways blowing out the back (posted from people with antec cases that tried both). Not that 1 degree is much, but might as well if you can just make sure it doesnt mess up contact with the cpu or get too close to other components.
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September 5, 2009 4:42:05 PM

PsyKhiqZero said:
1. Some HSF i've seen that use 2 fans splice the 2 fans into 1 connector.

2. The 3 speed switch is flush mounted on the antec 1200 in the back on the top left corner. So are the switches for the 2 rear 120mm.

3. certain fans work with certain fan contollers. just double check. i'm not to sure of the specifics myself sorry I can't help more.

4. The Controllers i've used suggested against putting 2 or more fans on a single controller. But i've done it, and it worked fine. It may limit max speed to an extent.

5. HDD coolers in the antec 1200 would be pointless IMO.



1. The Megahalems don't come with fans, know of any 3rd party suppliers ?

2. The switches for the rear fans ..... does that mean they can't be speed controlled ?

3. Have e-mailed Antec w/ the question.

4. The one I'm looking at handles 20-30 watts per channel....so a 0.24 amp fan should be no bigga deal doubles up.

5. No, not thinking of a HD cooler as they are commonly sold on the market. What I am getting at is you have these big fans blowing across a flat surface....not much opportunity for heat to be pulled off . I am thinking, add a simple wide, flat heat sink like one of these...

http://www.alphanovatech.com/?src=over

with some thermal paste and now we have more efficient metal to metal contact bringing the blown air over a wider metal surface area. I remember reading an IBM paper where a simple 10 degree temperature rise cut HD life by 50%.
September 5, 2009 4:50:31 PM

dndhatcher said:
The three front fans serve as HDD coolers in the antec 1200.


Understood. What I am saying is that for example, they don't just blow air across a CPU's flat surface to cool it....you add something with a lot of fins. Looking at any "enthusiast" MoBo. you see a series of heat sinks attached to northbridge / southbridge etc. (I added a northbridge heat sink to my current build) which serve to remove more heat from the chip due to its much greater surface area.

So my thought, with also those front mounted fans in the 1200, why not paste a heat sink on top of the HD so when the air blows by, it hits all the fins and draws off more heat.

OTOH, I gotta wonder what effect the plastic label will have on the heat transfer and then gotta find a thermal paste that's easily removable.
September 6, 2009 3:07:56 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
So my thought, with also those front mounted fans in the 1200, why not paste a heat sink on top of the HD so when the air blows by, it hits all the fins and draws off more heat.

OTOH, I gotta wonder what effect the plastic label will have on the heat transfer and then gotta find a thermal paste that's easily removable.
I think you are trying to solve a problem that doesnt exist. :sarcastic: 
September 6, 2009 4:51:32 AM

Have you noticed that HD service life and reliability rating have dropped precipitously over the years at storagereview.com ?

My Dad has a home office and in it he has a server he built in 1998 .... uses it as a file backup server. He replaced the HD's in 2001 or so and they are still running 24/7 at 15k rpm. They were replaced because the 1st ones failed and when he installed the new ones, he built coolers for them using old CPU fans .... these have lasted about 3 times longer than the 1st ones

http://www.hddlife.com/eng/help/3_User_Interface/3_Opti...

"Temperature is one of the most important parameters of a hard drive. It directly influences the lifespan and performance rate of a drive, and that is why it is really important to monitor it regularly."

http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/5730#toc2

"The condition that has the biggest impact on the life of a hard drive is temperature. Heat decreases the life of the hard drive head. A 5 °C increase in temperature could reduce the life of a hard drive by up to two years. Heat also reduces the fly height of the hard drive head, which can cause the head to make contact with and damage the media. If your system will be operated in an environment with a minimum ambient temperature less than 5 °C and/or a maximum ambient temperature greater than 50 °C, you must select a hard drive with an extended operating temperature range. These hard drives include components designed for reliability in low and high temperature extremes."

http://www.pcug.org.au/boesen/temperature_software/temp...

"Information available on the web about the effect of heat on hard drive reliability suggests that heat affects the reliability of the operation of a hard drive's components and its service life. For instance, this statement is made by one author: '' Moreover, reliability and durability of these drives depends much on their operating temperatures. According to our research, increasing HDD temperature by 5°C has the same effect on reliability as switching from 10% to 100% HDD workload! Each one-degree drop of HDD temperature is equivalent to a 10% increase of HDD service life.'' ( http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/storage/hddpower.ht... )

To be fair, it should be noted that Google found that cooler drive temps actually increased failure rates in their server farms within certain ranges.

I have a bunch of old audio amplifiers in the garage, oughta be easy to just strip some off and see what effect it has. Went looking on the web to buh em at places like Conrad but it seems if I want less than 1,000 they're not for sale.
September 6, 2009 8:01:11 AM

In over 20 years of dealing with desktop PCs (for business and gaming) I have yet to have the HDD be the first component to fail in a system. Maybe Ive just been lucky. Almost always the PSU, GPU or stock CPU fan stops working and the GPU or the whole unit is replaced with the HDD still functional.

If you are talking about a server farm system, please ignore me as I have little experience in such systems.
September 6, 2009 5:17:10 PM

I think you are worried about issues you won't have.

The Antec 1200 is a superb cooling case. Set the fans on low/medium/high and forget them. A constant speed is much less annoying than automatic speed adjustments. See how it goes, you can always add fans later.

Two 120mm input fans in front and two in back are all you need. Only one on the cpu cooler is necessary.

The key to good cooling is a clean airflow through the case.
September 7, 2009 1:33:00 AM

dndhatcher said:
In over 20 years of dealing with desktop PCs (for business and gaming) I have yet to have the HDD be the first component to fail in a system. Maybe Ive just been lucky. Almost always the PSU, GPU or stock CPU fan stops working and the GPU or the whole unit is replaced with the HDD still functional..


Our own experience mirrors that of what you see on storage review.com ... that being HD reliability is dropping. The Raptor for example shows about a 25% fail rate in its 1st three years.

Each of us three kids in the house is on our 4th box. Only failures to date are two SCSI CD-ROM's which died from inadequate case cooling back in the 90's, one DVD-RW, one overtaxed PSU (350 was changed out for a 650) and about 5 or 6 HD's. My boxes were built "at the office" using the same high end components that go into the CAD boxes. So all components are hi end. It seems that various companies over the years have been able to distinguish themselves (i.e Antec, PC P&C, Plextor, etc) with regard to having better than average quality but the storage market has always been price driven and no particular manufacturer stands out. Of course silly meaningless things like MTBF ratings don't help there.

Of course, My father's a bit rougher on HD's...he builds as many as 20 boxes a year for himself,clients and assicates and is the IT Manager for his business. They all use high end CAD boxes and until about 3-4 years ago, all were SCSI 10-15k drives. Since SCSI stopped being a viable alternative, he's been a bit cranky [hope he doesn't see me calling him cranky as this is his account I'm using :)  ] about the state of the storage industry. It's one thing to reinstall an OS and a cupla games ....it's another to restore business data....while employees are sitting around getting paid to twiddle thumbs till their systems are back up.
September 8, 2009 1:56:00 AM

1. The 2 rear 120mm fans and the top 200mm fan in the antec 1200 have 3 fixed speed settings. (low, medium, high) So yes you can control them to a degree. While the 3 in the front have a variable speed knob which give them a "infinite" range between min and max.

September 8, 2009 4:08:22 PM

PsyKhiqZero said:
1. The 2 rear 120mm fans and the top 200mm fan in the antec 1200 have 3 fixed speed settings. (low, medium, high) So yes you can control them to a degree. While the 3 in the front have a variable speed knob which give them a "infinite" range between min and max.


1. I knew about the 3 speed switch, not about the front control .... where is the variable speed control ?

2. Do you have the other two optional case fans installed ? Or know if they have control ?

3. I have been wondering about something like this to program the fan control.

http://www.nzxt.com/products/sentry_2/

How are the connections to the fans done ? I'm asking cause I am wondering what would be involved in using the Fan Controller.

Thanks in advance.
September 9, 2009 5:17:18 PM

1. the variable speed know for each of the three front fans is small and located bottom right of each cage, just inside the right outer "ridge" of the front.

2. I only have the side fan installed. The case doesn't have any speed control for them. you'll either have to get a fan that plugs into the mobo and use software or the bios, or a fan with it's own speed control.

3 and 4. The stock fans use 4 pin molex connectors directly to the PSU so you cannot control them via software. That should work as long as it either comes with adapters or accepts 4 pin molex.

I just wanna add that my temp differences between min fan speed and max are so small that I just leave them on low.
September 9, 2009 9:40:14 PM

Methinks I will take a wait and see approach .... build it 1st and then see how temps work out and if needed, add something.
!