Interesting change: machine cooler with side cover off

I noticed that my core temps, as reported by SpeedFan and the sound of the loud fans, had increased the other day. Out of curiosity I took the side-panel off my case, and the temps dropped 5-10 degrees fairly quickly. System used to be cooler with the side panel on.

I'm pretty sure that it's an issue with my inflow fan (low on the front panel) not breathing as well as it used to, but I just found the change interesting. Any opinions on case open vs. case closed for long-term builds (as opposed to benching)?
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More about interesting change machine cooler side cover
  1. Closed case for long-term builds. It does aid in preventing dust and pets out of your components. Just clean your system more frequently (including the front air intake).

    -Wolf sends
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