Most efficient case cooling with case fans?

I have a APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case and overall I'm quite happy with it for now.

It can support a 80mm (rear), 90mm (side), and a 120mm (front HDD bay area) fan. I have fans in all 3 places as well. I also have an unofficial fan mod (90mm) that sort of points from the side and pushes air towards the PCI card area.

My fans are setup now so that:

- The 120mm fan pulls in air from the front, passes it over the HDD, and throughout the rest of the system
- The 90mm fan pulls in air from the side, and passes it through the CPU fan as well
- The 80mm fan pushes out air from inside the case to the outside
- The unofficial 90mm fan pulls air in from the bottom side vent, and pushes it in the area below my Radeon HD 5570 GPU

Is this the best setup for fans? Should I have all the fans pulling in or pushing out air?

Also as unrelated info, the 3 fans in the official places are all blue LED.
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  1. No, you should NOT have all the fans pulling in or all the fans pushing out. If you do that, they will be fighting one another.

    What you need to do is encourage air to flow in one direction. For example, you might have front fans pulling air in, and back fans pushing air out - that's a common setup, because it blows the exhaust out the back, away from the user.

    It's a bit more complicated when you add in side/top/bottom fans. I'd aim to make bottom and side fans intakes, and top fans exhaust (because heat rises, so you're just helping it along).

    One other consideration: you want to have roughly equal fan power pulling air in, and blowing air out - if you don't, then you'll get a pressure imbalance which will interfere with air flow.

    LED fans are often made from brittle plastic, meaning that they resonate somewhat more. I tend to avoid LED fans, preferring to use low-noise fans (like Nexus or Noctua).
  2. Best cases for Air Flow, should you want to upgrade :) :

    Antec LanBoy Air, which is very "over-the-top" and can support 15 case fans:


    SilverStone Raven RV02 (although personally i dont like where the components mount compared to "normal" cases, but in terms of cooling performance its at the top)


    In terms of Push-Pull, hot air rises, so front and side fans should be blowing air into the case, rear and roof fans should be blowing it back out as shown in the picture above :)
  3. My case doesn't seem to have a top air vent, so I guess my only option is to push the air from the back.

    But as it is now, air basically pulls in from the front and side of my case, and goes out from the back and PSU I think (pretty sure I saw 2 fans for my PSU, right across from each other basically, one on the inside of the case, the other on the back).
  4. ^ that sounds fine, i wouldnt change anything.

    Cool air is sucked in at the front and the side which cools your HDD and GPU. Then the rear exhaust fan kicks out all the hot air blown off the CPU and removes any warm air from inside the case.
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