1. The amount of venting in your case can have a huge impact on cooling, particularly around the CPU area. If you have fan mounts here that are blocked up, unblock them.
2. Generally, all other things being equal, it’s better to get hot air out of your case than to pump cool air in, particularly when it comes to CPU cooling.
3. If you have a roof mount that’s located nearer the front of the case than the CPU cooler, leave it open. Fitting a fan here only causes problems.
4. If you have one, two or three fans in your case, the side panel intake mount is the most important. Fill this first, followed by the rear exhaust mount, followed by the roof exhaust mount.
5. Bear in mind the fact that fans have an effect on each other and use this to your advantage. For this to work though they need to be close enough to interact - a side intake works better with a rear exhaust than a front intake does for this reason.
6. With four or more fans, concentrate on traditional front to back cooling and creating one strong, continuous air flow. Fill the front intakes and the roof and rear exhausts first.
7. More fans does mean more cooling, but expect diminishing returns when going above three or four fans.
Great tips. I've got a HAF X case with the standard fans (front intake, side intake, rear exhaust and top exhaust). There's a slot for another top exhaust and I've been eye'ing adding a fan here. Sounds like it could potentially worsen airflow.
so i ran a test to see if the top front fan is useful. exact specs are in my info but I used my gaming PC with 5 fans. two front intake 120mm antec tri-cool set to low (about 1k rpm), one enermax TB silence 120mm rear exhaust (1k rpm) and two enermax TB silence 140mm top fans as exhaust (700 rpm). side panel port is closed with silent foam while the opposite case panel has no ports.
i played dragon age origins (pushes the cpu well as well as GPU) for half an hour then shut the game down to see max temps and how well the case cooled. in the background I had origins, firefox, hwmonitor, STEAM, and MS security throughout the test to help create a real world test. I then check max temps, max rpm on the CPU & GPU fan, and then how long it took to cool down the CPU & GPU to 40c from load temps. first test was run with all five fans while the second test, I turned off the front top 140mm fan.
chip - max temp - max rmp on cooling fan - time to cool down to 40c