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Case airflow w/ water cooling

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January 15, 2012 7:36:30 AM

Obviously air flow through a case is still important with a water cooling system (especially w/ internal rads), and it's the next mini-project I'm setting my sights on. The air flow through my case isn't "bad", but I've always been under the impression that if you take the side panel off the case and temps go down.. there is room for improvement in the air flow department. So I'm really just looking for any ideas that might improve the air flow through my case.



Right now I'm running all the fans at 100%
230mm intake fan at the front (rated at 110cfm)
200mm intake fan on the side (also rated at 110cfm)
2x 200mm exhaust fans pulling air through the rad (each rated at 110cfm)
140mm exhaust on the back (near the top..dunno what the cfm is)
2x 120mm pushing through the rad (both rated at 71cfm).. a third wouldn't fit in the middle because of ram
1x 120mm fan in the vga air duct

I have 6 temp sensors throughout my case

#1 - ambient temp (it's located just in front of the front intake fan)
#2 - air temp between psu & video card
#3 - air temp just above my video card
#4 - air temp up closer to my ram (just before intake to rad)
#5 - air temp just above the rad
#6 - inline water temp between rad and res/pump

For reference, after several hours of BOINC running (100% cpu + gpu usage) my temps are roughly..
#1 - 20.6C
#2 - 22.0C
#3 - 24.1C
#4 - 24.1C
#5 - 29.1C
#6 - 29.4C
CPU sitting at ~ 42C
GPU sitting at ~ 36C

The real issue I'm seeing is that the air that is going through my rad is almost 4C above the ambient.. and I'd love to see what my temps would be like if I could drop that a bit. I really don't think the rest of the components in my case are producing that much heat.. my guess is that air is just circulating a bit and I'm not really sure how to stop that. As a side note, if anyone can come up with an idea to improve the air flow and somehow manage to get it to be positive pressure (I'd prefer positive pressure over what I have going now mainly b/c of dust).. I'd really appreciate it!

Thanks,
gbkinum1
a c 125 K Overclocking
January 15, 2012 7:57:07 AM

Nice cat tail :D 

Your air flow is almost textbook, you have cold air coming in through the bottom/front and warm air rising and being blown out through the back/top, Perhaps the side panel fan is disturbing the air flow, have you done your testing without the side panel fan?

If you wanted positive pressure then you could reverse the radiator fans (both push and pull fans) so that you'd have much more air entering the case forcing the air to exit the case via the rear fan and any ventilation holes in your case.
January 15, 2012 8:23:23 AM

lol I couldn't get my cats to leave me alone. You want some company.. they are nowhere to be found. You want a little peace and quiet while you work.. they are in their batting at my tubing & wires.. chewing on things, shedding + rubbing against everything in/out of case.. and they hide under the bed when you try to close them out of the room. Just a nightmare >:( 

Anyway, I'll try turning my side fan off for a while and see what happens. I've been a little hesitant to flip all the rad fans because I'll have to take half my case apart + re-do my cable management again. I'll probably end up flipping them eventually (just to test), but I'd kinda like to try any other possibilities that use the current rad fan direction first so I don't end up flipping them every other day in my testing :p 

So in the process of writing this post & doing laundry & watching tv.. the side panel fan has been off for probably ~15-20 mins. Temps are looking like..

#1 - 20.5C
#2 - 22.3C
#3 - 24.1C
#4 - 24.1C
#5 - 29.5C
#6 - 29.8C
CPU ~41C
GPU ~36C

I'm kinda surprised that turning off the side panel fan had such a little effect on temps, I'm kinda wondering which other fans are essentially useless? XD
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January 15, 2012 8:26:47 AM

i believe your psu is upside down, you should have the fan facing down. the hot air in the case wants to rise and your psu fan is trying to pull the air back down and out the back.
January 15, 2012 8:43:03 AM

deadlee690 said:
i believe your psu is upside down, you should have the fan facing down. the hot air in the case wants to rise and your psu fan is trying to pull the air back down and out the back.


I thought about that, but my case lays flat on the carpet.. I think the psu would be starving for air + overheating if I flipped it to where it was drawing air from beneath the case. And the temp probe I have in that area seems to be fine (the coolest area of my case), so I'm not sure if I'd really gain much by elevating my case and flipping the psu over. You think it'd make a noticeable difference?
a c 125 K Overclocking
January 15, 2012 8:52:04 AM

gbkinum1 said:
lol I couldn't get my cats to leave me alone. You want some company.. they are nowhere to be found. You want a little peace and quiet while you work.. they are in their batting at my tubing & wires.. chewing on things, shedding + rubbing against everything in/out of case.. and they hide under the bed when you try to close them out of the room. Just a nightmare >:( 

Anyway, I'll try turning my side fan off for a while and see what happens. I've been a little hesitant to flip all the rad fans because I'll have to take half my case apart + re-do my cable management again. I'll probably end up flipping them eventually (just to test), but I'd kinda like to try any other possibilities that use the current rad fan direction first so I don't end up flipping them every other day in my testing :p 

So in the process of writing this post & doing laundry & watching tv.. the side panel fan has been off for probably ~15-20 mins. Temps are looking like..

#1 - 20.5C
#2 - 22.3C
#3 - 24.1C
#4 - 24.1C
#5 - 29.5C
#6 - 29.8C
CPU ~41C
GPU ~36C

I'm kinda surprised that turning off the side panel fan had such a little effect on temps, I'm kinda wondering which other fans are essentially useless? XD


Lol sneaky cats, :pt1cable:  My cat just sleeps all day, though when she uses the litter tray she scratches for ages! soo annoying"! :ange: 

I understand your hesitation about flipping the fans around, it'll take ages, especially if you have to drain the loop.

You could try flipping the rear fan around so its intaking cold air for the RAD? not sure how well that would work but its got to be worth a try.

Yeah that side panel fan isnt doing much, though its not really doing any harm to the airflow either.
January 15, 2012 8:53:22 AM

i know what you mean about the carpet, maybe a board or mat for your tower to sit on would work to keep it off the carpet. what kind of temp probe are you using? true that part of the case near the psu might be cooler but is having the fan the wrong way worth messing up the air flow through the rest of the case?
a c 190 K Overclocking
January 15, 2012 8:55:01 AM

Ok, time to play hehe....

Grab a sheet of 1/2 plywood or board, cut it so that the Pc's feet sit on it, and have the pc mounted on that, you can also grab some aftermarket feet if you wanted to raise it more,
that lets you turn the Psu the 'right' way around,

I'd look at getting that RX360 mounted externally, let the two top fans do their job a little more effectively,
remove the black plastic thing from off the back of the Hdd cage, if not the hdd cage itself to let the front fan wreak havoc airflow style,
I'd be looking to mod that case out some generally, it looks very busy and cramped hehe :p 
Moto
a c 125 K Overclocking
January 15, 2012 8:56:52 AM

I have my PSU "upside down" and have had no problems, my top fans are much more powerful than the PSU fan + heat rises straight up so the PSU doesn't have a chance to suck in the warm air.

January 15, 2012 8:58:50 AM

wait, what are we doing here? his temps are low, what problem are we trying to fix? you dont need to undo all your hard work. your pc rocks, go enjoy it!
a c 125 K Overclocking
January 15, 2012 9:02:35 AM

I think he is just seeing if he can improve the temps somewhat. Although I do agree there isn't anything wrong with the temps
a b K Overclocking
January 15, 2012 11:01:51 AM

gbkinum1 said:
I thought about that, but my case lays flat on the carpet.. I think the psu would be starving for air + overheating if I flipped it to where it was drawing air from beneath the case. And the temp probe I have in that area seems to be fine (the coolest area of my case), so I'm not sure if I'd really gain much by elevating my case and flipping the psu over. You think it'd make a noticeable difference?

You can solve the problem of the bottom intake by adding feet or casters. by elevating the case off the ground you will also reduce dust.
January 15, 2012 11:54:50 PM

Motopsychojdn said:
Ok, time to play hehe....

Grab a sheet of 1/2 plywood or board, cut it so that the Pc's feet sit on it, and have the pc mounted on that, you can also grab some aftermarket feet if you wanted to raise it more,
that lets you turn the Psu the 'right' way around,

I'd look at getting that RX360 mounted externally, let the two top fans do their job a little more effectively,
remove the black plastic thing from off the back of the Hdd cage, if not the hdd cage itself to let the front fan wreak havoc airflow style,
I'd be looking to mod that case out some generally, it looks very busy and cramped hehe :p 
Moto


I actually have some wheels that came with the case that'd get it off the ground a little, I should probably just attach those :p  I'm not too big on mounting the rad externally, as I originally bought this case so that I could mount it internally.

The black plastic thing you mention is a vga air duct, which basically just allows me to mount a 120mm fan inside (which I have mounted/running) to push more air over my video card, although I'm not really sure if it's necessary/helping. I kinda like the idea of removing the HDD cage, I'll have to take a look at how difficult it would be to remove it. Part of me wants to wait a while before doing any real mods to the case because I'm using some relatively old hardware atm (phenom II x4 955 + geforce 9800gtx+) and a new setup is probably in order in the not too distant future. I basically just moved over my old setup into this case, and am using it as a little bit of a test drive before I go all out in my next system.

Thanks to everyone for all the ideas so far!
!