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Cooling question for the experts

Last response: in Systems
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December 13, 2009 11:11:49 AM

I have a system which I have put together, but have not yet used. I have a possible issue with the CPU cooling system setup, and thought I might ask the community for help.

Here is my build setup, only some of which is actually relevant:

Asus P6T Deluxe V2
Intel I7-920
Corsair 6 GB triple channel kit
(2x) EVGA GTX 295 CO-OP Edition in Quad SLI
Corsair HX 1000W Modular power supply
Xigmatek Thor's Hammer Direct Heat Pipe heat sink with 120 MM fan attached
NZXT Panzerbox
LG Optical Drive (make not important)
(3x) 1 TB Western Digital drives in raid 5
Will Run Windows 7 Ultimate 64 edition as O/S


Personally I think it will be a decent system, I almost went AMD and ATI, as it would have been slightly cheaper, but I really don't like the ATI drivers for their video cards. Regardless...

The problem I am having is that in this setup, the power supply is bottom mounted, which is fine, however, because I am using the Xigmatek Thor's Hammer DHP solution, with a 120 MM fan, I run into a unique problem I didn't plan for. The problem, is that almost half of the fan's intake side rests directly up against the power supply casing. This would cut it's air movement capabilities, and cooling efficiency greatly as far as I can tell.

I don't think I can leave it like that, but I only have 3 other options, of which I'm not sure would work, or I do not like:

1. Put the fan on the other side (top) of the sink, and have it blow the air down into the top video card. Not only would this recycle hot air into the case, it would fight the 3 other intake/exhaust fans in the system causing problems.

2. Put the fan on the other side (top) of the sink, however turn it around. This would allow it to suck air through the sink, as opposed to blowing air directly on it. While this would aid the case airflow, I think it would reduce cooling on the sink itself, and since I plan on overclocking this processor to at least 3.6 GHz, I'm not sure this would keep the temp low enough.

3. Use a second (Spare/unused) 120mm fan I bought, and place one on the bottom end of the sink, blowing air up, (though this fan would be almost halfway blocked by the power supply) and the other fan place on the top side, sucking air through and blowing it out of the case. My hope is the airflow created in this manner would keep the sink cool enough, and move air out of the case as well. My worry is, that this configuration would cause problems between the 2 fans on the sink, or cause some strange airflow in the case that I'm not aware of.

Well that's that. Would any of the above 3 options be viable? My only other recourse is to ask you all in the community for help, to possibly give me a solution that I had not thought of. Any help you could give would be great, as right now, this is the only issue keeping me from powering it on, and testing/enjoying it.

So, in conclusion, is this a problem I need to worry about, and if so, is there anything I can do about it?

Thanks, your input would be appreciated!


a b B Homebuilt system
December 13, 2009 1:18:23 PM

Mini case, monster psu, not 1 but 2 monster video cards and a huge HSF, get where this is going ?
It's just my opinion, but I think you need to look into a larger case to house your components.
December 13, 2009 9:59:07 PM

Thanks, it's something I'm considering, but want to know if there is any way to solve the current setup. Also, the case itself is an extra wide mid tower, not a mini, but yes, it is a tad cramped even with the extra space.

Thanks for the info! Just waiting to see if anyone else has any ideas as well?

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December 13, 2009 10:31:55 PM

Sounds like your heatsink is horizontally placed, guessing due to the larger sized hx1000 and if that is the case, then yes, #3 would be your best option, with a fan blowing up and another sucking out. This would take definitely take advantage of your top exhaust. And no worries, the fan layout you are referring to is called a "push pull" setup and its relatively common... so no worries about irregular airflow :D .
a b B Homebuilt system
December 13, 2009 11:12:15 PM

Just took another look, here's option 4;
Turn the Xig 90 degrees so that it's pulling air from the front of the case
December 14, 2009 2:34:01 AM

Awesome guys, I can't believe I never thought to turn it sideways... I definitely have enough room to do that! Also, I might consider trying the push pull setup as well, now that it has gotten approval as a valid cooling setup :) 

However, I'd like to monitor the temp of the CPU, and thus had another quick question if possible:

When overclocking an I7-920 to approximately 3.6 GHz, what is a safe temp range for it to operate within? Or what safe temperatures should I expect that others have experienced?

If I know that, then I can try the push pull setup, and if the temp starts climbing too high due to the lack of airflow, I will turn the entire sink so that the fan can exhaust out to the case's rear exhaust fan, just like Delluser1 suggested. That is, unless you think I should just do that in the first place, and skip trying to hope the push-pull solution will work with 45% of the airflow surface of the push fan covered.

O lastly, I haven't yet powered on the system, but if before that I reposition the sink on the CPU, when I take it off, should I re-apply a new set of thermal compound? Or just re-spread the old to cover the new bare spots?

Anyways, thanks a lot guys =D
a b B Homebuilt system
December 14, 2009 10:55:34 AM

Can't help with I7 temps, haven't made that leap.
I use a Xig 1284 on my system and have seen no improvement with a dual fan configuration.
For best results, reapply the thermal paste.
!