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Is This Case Airflow Good Enough For My "Quiet" Build (i5 2500k OC) ?

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March 12, 2011 11:18:00 PM

Do you guys think that the Lian Li PC-7FNB will be good enough for a small/medium overclock ( not looking to get the max oc, but rather a little more speed while maintaining maximum stability ) ...

Mobo: asus p8p67 deluxe
CPU: i5 2500k
Heatsink: Noctua NH-C14 ( comes with 2x140mm fans)
power supply : Corsair AX750 ( 80+ Gold)
Video Card : Asus GTX 570 DirectCU II ( the most silent gtx 570 card as far as i know )
Memory : G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
Storage : 1 x c300 ssd with 1 x wd black

I tried selecting relatively quiet components as I am trying to build this computer to be as quiet as possible ( without sacrificing performance ). I was thinking i could use only 1 of the 2 NF-P14 140mm noctua fan on cpu heatsink and use the second one to replace the Lian Li case's default 140mm front intake fan. Both 140mm fan would be using the LNA adaptors ( low noise adapter = 900 RPM ) to minimize noise . I would also replace the default 120mm exhaust fan by a 120mm noctua fan, if needed.

What do yall think ? are my temps going to be to high ?

I know there are quieter cases, like the fractal design r3, i'd love to get that case but it doesnt have enough space for the gtx 570 directcu II ( card size is 292mm and fractal says their case accept 290mm max )... anyways my other alternative would be the bitfenix survivor... but it is not available at ncix.

if you have other suggestions please feel free to share, but i'd primarily want to know if the lian li will be ok. Thanks !

March 13, 2011 1:20:34 AM

I don't think you should have too much of a problem with cooling. I've got the Fractal Design R3 with a very similar setup to you (major differences are a Hyper 212+ cooler and a MSI N460GTX Hawk). I haven't gotten to overclocking yet, but so far it is running pretty cool, it idles about 30-32 degrees C and up to 52 degrees C max under heavy load. I would assume that the Lian-Li case has better airflow.

If you are planning on running only one fan on that cooler, I would probably just buy the Noctua NH-C12P instead, since it doesn't rely purely on the heat-pipes to conduct heat away from the CPU.

I just measured the inside of my case, there is ~305mm of space between the front plate of the graphics card and the 3.5" drive bay. Since the power plugs on that card seem to come out the top of the card, you may in fact be able to squeeze it into a Fractal Design R3 case.
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March 13, 2011 3:01:58 AM

Be careful, once you start into quiet computing, you will find that nothing is good enough but silence:) 

Yes, that is a good looking case, and I see no particular problems.

I think I might use the Noctua NH-D14 instead. Primarily because the tower design will channel the hot cpu air more directly to the exhaust.

I love the Lian li cases. The fans are quiet enough, and you probably do not need to change them out.

Since you have a SSD for performance, you might use a Caviar green for the storage drive. It will be quieter, and the performance will be OK for it's purpose.

Do some research at www.silentpcreview.com They have some good info on quiet components.
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March 13, 2011 3:46:18 AM

Hi geofelt, thanks for your reply,
The NH-D14 was something I considered, but I think the C14 might be better.

The main issue is that im not sure the D14 will fit ( height ). Not only that, but there might be some clearance issues with the g.skill ripjaw ram, the heatspreader on the ram is not very tall but it still there and the nh-d14 is a pretty massive cooler... G.skill doesnt say what is the height of the ram.

Also, as mentioned, I wanted to use only 1 fan on the heatsink so that i could use the second noctua fan to replace the default intake case fan. I dont think that the NH-D14 would perform as well as the NH-C14 when using only 1 fan, i might be wrong though.

Essentially the C14 seems like a "Safer" option, it is specifically made for those who might have low height clearance AND ram clearance, its was designed with the dual or single fan usage in mind.

As for the HDD, i already own the WD Black so thats why i dont get a Caviar Green.


dragoneye158
,
You say that i shouldnt have too much problem with cooling, is this assuming i keep the lian li case or if i switch to the fractal r3 ? I really appreciate you taking the time to measure the inside of your case... as I suspected it seems manufacturer give themselves a little bit of "buffer" when advertising the maximum video card lenght, that being said, its still a pretty tight fit... I had contacted fractal design aswell as NCIX customer support and both told me that the R3 would NOT fit an asus gtz 570 directCU II. So I am a bit scared... Not sure if i should get the fractal or the lian li to be safe... I wonder which case is quieter too... Would you get the fractal???

Concerning the NH-C12P , what does it mean that it doesnt rely only on heatpipe ? Do you think it will give better performance than the NH-C14 ? I actually didnt mind having 2 fans as this allow me to keep 1 for the cpu and use the other one to replace the default lian li which surely must not be as good as the noctua fan ( both in term of performance and quietness) ... However if the nh-c12p is better in single fan configuration maybe i should get that and simply buy an extra noctua fan for the case ?



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March 13, 2011 5:25:09 PM

The noctua NH-D14 is 160mm high. The case is 210mm wide; you will have no fit problems with the noctua, or any other tower cooler.

Standard height for a ram stick w/o heat spreaders is 25mm. Most of the G.skil sticks are 40mm high. I built a sff system, and contacted G.skil because I was concerned about clearance. Good service; they gave me the info promptly, and even offered the suggestion that the ram would run just fine if I had to remove the heat spreaders which are held on by sticky thermal tape.

I don't think you will have a problem, but if you are concerned, why not get a kit with minimal height heat spreaders, like the sniper kit? It will cost less too:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sandy bridge is not sensitive to ram speeds or timings. You could actually go slower without an impact on performance.

I used a lian li X1000 for a while. It is a huge case with 5 140mm fans. On low speed, they were absolutely silent. On medium, they were quiet. On high, they were not loud. I suggest you try the stock fans first; you can always change them out later.
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March 13, 2011 6:43:14 PM

The noctua D14 is supposed to have 40mm clearance for ram, so if the g.skill ripjaw x is 40mm or more it will not fit. Not sure how i would be able to remove the heatspreader on the ram without damaging the ram ( i am assuming this would void warranty ? ) ... i'd rather avoid doing that.

I am getting those specific ram module because they are specifically designed for intel p67 sandy bridge cpu ( intel specs says that ram voltage should be 1.5 v) , I also wanted 1600mhz and cas 8 to get improved multitasking performance, and module with these specs are really hard to find, especially with affordable price and low heatspreaders... I know that in gaming it doesnt make a difference but i am a HEAVY multi-tasking guy, i've got like over 50 firefox tabs open right now, and like 7 open programs... my task bar is always full. Multitasking is the only area where ram speed/latency makes a "real" difference .

This is why I am opting for the C14, its just less hassle with the ram... do you think that it will make a considerable difference to not get the D14 ? The C14 in addition increase airflow over ram and other motherboard parts... but its true that it is not following the exhaust path of the airflow... argh... so complicated...


I was looking for alternative case and found the SilverStone FT03 ... now that is an unusual case... I really like the fact that it is ultra compact, but I am worried about making a switch from the p8p67 deluxe to the p8p67 M-Pro , there seem to be a lot of feature lacking on the smaller board... Additionally, im not sure the FT03 would fit all my currently selected parts, especially the 3 slot asus gtx 570 DirectCU II, i know it would fit standard gtx 570 though... Also the cpu cooler would have to be changed for a tower style, such as Noctua NH-U12P. Finally i dont really get the cd/dvd slot, it needs to be slimline, but the ones i could find that are internal are very expensive, and i dont want any external solutions... $100+ for a dvd drive ? geezz no thanks... if it wasnt for that i'd look more into it.



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March 13, 2011 8:57:51 PM

I was specifically referring to the Lian Li case, as I would assume that it has better airflow than the Fractal Design case. That said, given the temps I am getting, think you should be happy with the cooling performance of both cases.

I personally would go with the Fractal Design R3 case because I think it looks amazing, but I would also be perfectly willing to take a Dremel to the 3.5" drive bays to cut out space for the card if it didn't fit. Are there any shorter GTX 570 cards? I would go with a slightly noisier card if it fit within that case just to get the sound dampening material.

If you look at the C12P the fins actually contact the block and are therefore conducting heat away from the CPU in addition to the heat pipes. Due to that I would guess that the C12P would have better cooling than the C14P with only one fan. That said, there is no way to be sure without testing a C14P in a one fan configuration. I can't say for sure though, nor can I argue based on cost, as they are essentially the same price if you buy a fan separately.

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March 14, 2011 12:04:50 AM

oh ok, yeah both case have 1 intake and 1 exhaust, only difference is the lian li is 140mm instead of 120mm... So you didnt add any fans and you get those temps... thats pretty good...

I dont have a dremel, but maybe i could borrow one, im looking at pictures of the inside and wondering what would have to be cut out... if i cut out part of the HDD cage, wouldnt it reduce the sturdiness of the support for the hdd ? I'd have to cut a lot, the equivalent of 3 pci slot ( cuz thats how big the card is.. ) ...

There are other GTX 570 that are a bit smaller, but they are not as quiet...

I would think that a quiet case can only help reduce noise a little, the most important would be to select parts that are as quiet as possible first... but in this situation, im not sure, the difference might be too...
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March 14, 2011 12:59:36 AM

Do you think the Lian Li will be much louder case than the Fractal Design R3 ?
Maybe, I could add some sound dampening material on the side panels... its like 20$ ... so price of sound dampening + case would be the same as the fractal design R3...

Concerning the video card, i guess I could get a reference design card, which uses only 2 slots and has the stock cooling... they are a bit noisier but, maybe its safer ?

Alternatively there is the MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr II , which i cannot find good reviews comparing the noise, but MSI claims their fan are quieter than stock reference design. This card only measures 268mm so it definitively fits everywhere.


One thing i didnt think about with the Asus DirectCU II and Twin Frozr II , is that both these card have an a kinda open heatsink design, which means the hot air will leak inside the case alot. The reference design however seems to be all closed and the main place where the hot air can escape is through the back of the card, outside the case.... Not sure if this is important in my situation since i only have a case with 2 fan ( intake/exhaust )

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March 14, 2011 1:00:18 AM

I was playing around with overclocking a little bit today. I have my CPU up to 4.43 GHz and my max temperatures were 60 degrees C max when running LinX. That was putting my CPU cooler way past the limits of silent though.

There is a bent edge and a rolled edge on the HDD cage, these provide the majority of the stiffness to the cage. You would just have to cut in between them for however large the hole has to be for the card. There are a bunch of cutouts in the cage for the rails that the HDD drawers sit on, you should feel confident cutting up to that width at least. Of course, you would lose the use of those HDD bays permanently, so it isn't a mod I would suggest unless you are really sure of what you are doing.

If I were you, I would get the Fractal Design case and a shorter GPU. I notice a significant difference in noise when the front door of my case is open, which is what I imagine the best case scenario with the Lian Li case is like.

edit: Just saw your other reply. I have the MSI GTX 460 Hawk, which has a Twin Frozr HSF. The GTX 460 version is quieter than the ASUS card you are looking at.
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March 14, 2011 1:08:48 AM

When I contacted G.skil support, they said to keep the spreaders if I removed them so that I could replace them if I ever needed to rma the ram. I figure that means supported.

The ram I linked to is identical ram with cas 9 instead of 8. You can not tell the difference in real app performance. .. only in synthetic benchmarks.

If you have lots of stuff open, why not get 16gb up front?

For what it is worth, I have a EVGA GTX580 superclocked in a lian li PC-V351 case. I bought the low restriction exit grille from evga for $10. I think it helps some. It is inaudible at idle. I hear the cpu cooler some because I have to use a small one with small fans in the case.
I use the P8P67-M Pro, and it has plenty of features for me; what would you miss? One thing I like, is that it has two motherboard speed controlled fan headers. at desktop usage, the case fans are inaudible, and only when load testing do they ramp up where I can hear them.

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March 14, 2011 4:27:00 AM

geofelt said:
When I contacted G.skil support, they said to keep the spreaders if I removed them so that I could replace them if I ever needed to rma the ram. I figure that means supported.

The ram I linked to is identical ram with cas 9 instead of 8. You can not tell the difference in real app performance. .. only in synthetic benchmarks.

If you have lots of stuff open, why not get 16gb up front?

For what it is worth, I have a EVGA GTX580 superclocked in a lian li PC-V351 case. I bought the low restriction exit grille from evga for $10. I think it helps some. It is inaudible at idle. I hear the cpu cooler some because I have to use a small one with small fans in the case.
I use the P8P67-M Pro, and it has plenty of features for me; what would you miss? One thing I like, is that it has two motherboard speed controlled fan headers. at desktop usage, the case fans are inaudible, and only when load testing do they ramp up where I can hear them.


Well, i do want to keep the ram as is. However for the CPU cooler i think i've changed my mind, I think the Noctua NH-U12P SE2 will be good enough. It isnt as big as the D14. It has 40mm clearance but thats a risk ill have to take. The main point is that I want to push the hot air to the exhaust fan right next to the cpu cooler.

What is the "low restriction exit grille" you mentionned ? i did a quick google search and didnt figure out what it was ?

The P8P67-M Pro doesnt have all the same features as the Deluxe, and i really dont know if those features are important or not... i used http://www.asus.com/compare.aspx to compare and saw that there was a bunch of stuff missing...

Sigh...maybe i should reconsider the FT03 ... since the p8p67-m pro mobo is 100$ less than the deluxe, i could use that money for the slimline dvd that is needed for the FT03...
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March 14, 2011 7:53:50 PM

Here is a link to the high flow bracket from evga:
http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=M020-00-00... - Hardware&sw=4
You order it directly from them.

I think you are good with the NH-u12P. Looking at it, there seems to be lots of clearance.
Also, on the P8P67-M pro, you can bypass populating the ram slot nearest to the cpu, which gives you a bit more room.
At most, you might have to slide the push fan a bit higher on the cooler.

Your asus comparison link did not work for me.
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March 15, 2011 1:34:53 AM

I contacted G.Skill and they said that removing the heatspreader would void warranty.

they said that the ram dimensions are : 13.4cm*4cm*0.7cm.

If i look at noctua's site, the stated ram clearance for the NH-U12P is 40mm ...

This means that they will be extremely TIGHT... possibly touching eachother...

The NH-C12P SE14 however has 44mm clearance... but this is a top flow heatsink design, and im not sure if this is a good ideal as it would disrupt the airflow, sending air on the motherboard instead of directly on the back to the exhaust fan.

I also sent an email to noctua, asking them which heatsink between the nh-c14 and nh-c12p se14 would be better if used in a single fan configuration, here is their answer :

The NH-C14 offers better performance even with only one fan installed, but since you are into overclocking you might consider getting an NH-D14 instead and to use it with both fans.

This seems to contradict the logic mentioned above: compared to the NH-C14 , the Noctua NH-C12P doesn't rely purely on the heat-pipes to conduct heat away from the CPU. To me this logic makes sense, but noctua says the C14 is better... maybe because it is more expensive and they want to make more money ?
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March 15, 2011 2:19:11 AM

louno said:

The NH-C14 offers better performance even with only one fan installed, but since you are into overclocking you might consider getting an NH-D14 instead and to use it with both fans.

This seems to contradict the logic mentioned above: compared to the NH-C14 , the Noctua NH-C12P doesn't rely purely on the heat-pipes to conduct heat away from the CPU. To me this logic makes sense, but noctua says the C14 is better... maybe because it is more expensive and they want to make more money ?


This review seems to agree with what Noctua is telling you. While it doesn't make sense from a logic statepoint, they could have improved the thermal contact between the heat pipes and fins or improved it in a multitude of other ways. Now, they are trying to sell you the D14 because that would make them the most profit.

Have you considered buying a tower HSF such as the Hyper 212+ or Megahalems and adding a Noctua fan to it? I have the 212+ and it is tight against the first RAM slot, but doesn't overhang it. I wouldn't have any issues putting in a second set of G. Skill Ripjaws X. Even if it did overhang you can raise the fan up to provide clearance if it is too tight.

At this point you are pretty much wondering which cooler is going to get you a couple of extra mHz when doing extreme overclocking, you will probably be happy with whatever you choose if you are just wanting an efficient yet quiet cooler.
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March 15, 2011 5:06:13 AM

I know this post is useless to you, but i'm going to keep up on this thread 'cuz I may just steal your rig plan, louno. :kaola: 
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March 22, 2011 3:21:00 AM

hey ethanw, I purchased all the parts and expecting to receive the component during the week, ill let you know how it turns out.
I bought all parts in doubles for my friend except he's got a totally different case ( silverstone ft02 ), so its going to be interesting to see what the differences in temps are going to be.
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April 17, 2011 3:01:37 PM


Try this case:

NZXT H2 Classic
http://www.quietpcusa.com/NZXT-H2-Classic-Silent-Midtow...

it supports 310mm GPU's with the middle HDD cage removed.

Also try the CM Gemini II S HSF, its quiet and it cools i5/i7 SB real well even over clocked. the mount lets it be rotated in 90 degree incements so you can possition the heat pipes away from the ram. it is a Top-Down cooler so air moves over you ram and chipset heatsinks. is comes with a PWM 60CFM fan. I run Ripjaw X's on my ASUS P8P67-M Pro MB and have 2-3 mm of clearance between the HSF and the first RAM slot/stick.

COOLER MASTER GeminII S $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 26, 2011 9:17:38 PM

jerreddredd said:
Try this case:

NZXT H2 Classic
http://www.quietpcusa.com/NZXT-H2-Classic-Silent-Midtow...

it supports 310mm GPU's with the middle HDD cage removed.

Also try the CM Gemini II S HSF, its quiet and it cools i5/i7 SB real well even over clocked. the mount lets it be rotated in 90 degree incements so you can possition the heat pipes away from the ram. it is a Top-Down cooler so air moves over you ram and chipset heatsinks. is comes with a PWM 60CFM fan. I run Ripjaw X's on my ASUS P8P67-M Pro MB and have 2-3 mm of clearance between the HSF and the first RAM slot/stick.

COOLER MASTER GeminII S $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


http://www.anandtech.com/show/4347/nzxt-h2-not-quite-qu...
Review. Decent at 100 but spend some more $10s and you'll het something a bit better at being quiet.
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