About a year ago I built a decent low cost gaming rig, which included a crossfire capable motherboard and an ATI 4850 GPU, with the idea that I could buy another and use crossfire when the time came to meet increasing requirements. But now I'm looking at the actual component layout inside my case (Antec 300) and wondering if this is just a recipe for frying my new video card. The issue is that the PSU is located at the bottom of the case, with an upward facing intake fan. When I install my second video card, there is going to be about an inch of clearance (if that) between the card's fan and the PSU fan. I'm no expert on airflow physics, but that seems like a bad design, not to mention putting two serious heat sources in close proximity.
Am I worrying too much? Should I be looking for a different case? If so, what case? I love the 300, but I've always thought the PSU placement at the bottom was a horrible idea.
The PSU being at the bottom is an excellent idea. It keeps the cables out of the way without needing a modular PSU. The problem is that the 300 is not a high end gaming case.
I don't think it will be a problem, but since it makes you nervous, it might be worth the money to buy a new case. I recommend the HAF 922 ($80 after rebate right now). It's huge, and one of the best out there.
If you want to stick with Antec, the 900 is also a great case, but slightly more expensive than the HAF.
The 900 and 1200 are both great cases, if not a bit novelty in the 1200 category. The PSU at the bottom on the other hand is genius. Theres no risk of falling if the supporters snap and it blows a little bit of air from the fan onto the motherboard.
Most PSUs are intake from the case, and exhaust from the rear of the case. Be sure your 4850 has a rear exhaust vent, and you should have nothing to worry about. While PSUs will get warm, they do not generate near the heat of a video card, and as long as the majority of the heat is being pushed out the back of case through the card vent, the PSU will easily be able to exhaust the rest without worries of overheating. If your top 4850 does not have a vent, open up the rear expansion bracket on the case directly below it to allow the air to vent. It is the top card in a sli/crossfire setup that will have the most heat issues. I think your current setup will be fine, just pick the right card and be sure the heat can escape out the back.
the haf 922 is a nice case. i just bought one for myself. found out the hard way that you can fit a 2x120 radiator OR a 200 mm fan in the top of the case, not both! limited room over mobo for stuff. ended up with radiator inside case and no fans on it. have the case sealed and all fans including rear facing fan blowing in and only air escaping out is through radiator. holding my overclocked phenomII at ambient at the moment but it's winter time. gonna have to add fans when the temps go up.
Thanks for the feedback. Installed the second 4850 and am having zero issues so far. Looking at the actual juxtaposition of the card and the PSU I think I was worrying about nothing, really.
I'm still not sure about putting the PSU in the bottom. Heat rises, last I knew, and it seems counterintuitive to put a heat source at the bottom. On the other hand, I do see where it allows the case designer to put a good exhaust fan in the top, and at the same time you now have the psu sucking air out the bottom.
Finally, I realize that the 300 is not a "high end gaming case," but I don't think I need to drop 2 bills on a hyper-enclosure to house a $600 rig. I picked the 300 in the first place because it struck me as a really good design and more than enough features for my fairly basic needs.