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Need help with case cooling/airflow

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November 1, 2011 5:33:48 PM

Need help with cooling/airflow (pics inside)
Hello I am have a problem with getting my system cooled down right. I'm not sure if its the fan intake and exhausts fans are not strong enough or just a problem with my airflow. here are pictures of my pc/setup (some pictures have a side by side where I wrote problem I see. you can zoom in to see better and read what I wrote in a couple pics. Please look at how the ram is being covered by the first cooler fan the actual case design (only one fan in back now place for another, should I add one on top of the case?)

first off here are my specs:
Cpu:AMD965, Phenom II X4 3.4Ghz(stock) / 3.8Ghz(OC'd)
idle 38c load 58c / Idle 43c load 63c
Cooler: Scythe Ninja 3
Gpu:Gigabyte GTX560 Ti OC Idle 50c load 90c
Ram: 8Gigs Kingston HyperX 1600
1Tb Samsung HDD (7200Rpm)
1Tb Western Digital green HDD (for storage)
Case: Sharkoon T9 Red (value)

I have 2 120mm intake fans in front and 1 in back for exhaults, they are all the stock sharkoon fans that came with the case (weak IMO).

On my CPU cooler I have 2 120mm fans (both scythe) in push/pull both running at full speed.

My graphics card has the gigabyte turbine cooler (2 fans to suck air in from bottom and side, blowing out back of case)

and I also have a PCI slot fan to suck air off the back of the GPU. I had it flipped around to suck air off the chipset and ram but my graphics was getting to hot then.

So My plan is to by 3 stronger fans (front and back) and add a fan on top, then run my push/pull down to up so its not covering my ram....but before I cut holes into my new case I just wanted suggestions from people that know more about this than me. I have included pictures of my pc please have a look. and thanks for your help.

More about : case cooling airflow

November 1, 2011 5:56:00 PM

Ill say replace the fans which has better cfm and add a new fan at the top of your case.

Get a cable management kit, the less crowded your cables are inside the better cooling performance you will have!

make sure it runs like this

Front and side (Intake)
Back and top (exhaust)
a b ) Power supply
November 1, 2011 6:26:17 PM

Hello... I had a problem with case cooling too... when I added my GTX460 video card... the GPU was running a sweet 70C max... but due to the Video cooling design, was just recycling the case air, giving me a sharp increase in motherboard/CPU/PSU, TEMPS.

I have since then bought a true rear exhaust, NVIDIA Reference design, GTX460 and my case temperature problems went away... it has a far rear mounted fan on them... and truely sucks air from the case, over the GPU, directly out the case... Don't be fooled into thinking you Video Card, 2 Fans are blowing directly out your case... take a closer look at the card... sure there are case mount air slots... BUT, is the cards fan mounting cage really sealed to the PCB, or an enclosed tunnel, to not allow air to escape into your case?

I'm telling you from experience... it was like night and day difference, when I installed a TRUE rear exhaust video card into my case... My case has never been cooler.
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November 1, 2011 6:35:27 PM

Ironsounds said:
Hello... I had a problem with case cooling too... when I added my GTX460 video card... the GPU was running a sweet 70C max... but due to the Video cooling design, was just recycling the case air, giving me a sharp increase in motherboard/CPU/PSU, TEMPS.

I have since then bought a true rear exhaust, NVIDIA Reference design, GTX460 and my case temperature problems went away... it has a far rear mounted fan on them... and truely sucks air from the case, over the GPU, directly out the case... Don't be fooled into thinking you Video Card, 2 Fans are blowing directly out your case... take a closer look at the card... sure there are case mount air slots... BUT, is the cards fan mounting cage really sealed to the PCB, or an enclosed tunnel, to not allow air to escape into your case?

I'm telling you from experience... it was like night and day difference, when I installed a TRUE rear exhaust video card into my case... My case has never been cooler.


So what would I need a new gpu?...I just bought this one, I dont like the design but I'll find a way to rig something up before I spend another 250 on a gpu...mines not even 3 weeks old plus I have a pci slot fan sucking air off the back of the card so it would blow out any heat before it made it up to the cpu....I'm thinking my problem is with the stock case fans (being to weak)....and only having one exhausts fan
a b ) Power supply
November 1, 2011 6:51:14 PM

To me your temps do not seem all that bad. I have an old 9800GT that use to get into the 95c range, and was shocked to find out that was normal load temperature (I keep it in the 70's under normal use with an aftermarket passive cooler though lol). And your CPU temp is entirely reasonable.
My experience with PCI slot fans is that they tend to make more noise than help, but if it knocks a few degrees off then power to ya.

As to the pics;
It looks like you have 2 distinct thermal zones. 1 above your GPU, and another below. As teh GPU puts out more heat than the CPU I would move it up away from the PSU, and move the slot fan down below the GPU to help evacuate more of that air (I assume there is a higher PCIe16 in the case, it looks awfully close to the PSU to me). I would also move the HDDs down to the bottom of the case with 1 drive space between them. This will give more air available to the GPU, and break up the zones made by the line of your HDD and GPU letting heat move upwards more freely. More effective fans will help, but so long as everything is moving the same direction your biggest change will be in less noise produced, not the temps dropping.

Not much you can do about the RAM with that setup. Just no space to breathe. But you are not doing a huge OC so it should be fine down there.

My personal setup is all about having a near silent system, and so I work with much less airflow, and much more copper. I rely more on the physics that heat moves upwards, and while I have quite a few fans, they are all cheap low RPM ones (one of these days I will replace with quieter low RPM fans, but until I replace my HDD with an SSD then the HDD is the loudest thing in the system). My case ($60) has fan vents for 2 120mm on front (using 1, bottom blowing in), 1 120mm on bottom (using, blowing in, towards passive GPU heat sink), 2 120mm on top (using none, but 120mm CPU fan blows up instead of out the back), and 1 120mm on back (using 1, blowing out). I also have a bottom mounter 480W PSU which I disabled the fan on as it was noisy and does not produce any heat to speak of. So everything moves from the bottom front to the top back.

Also, placement is huge. Rather than having the unit facing front to back (where the air blows against a wall), put the computer behind your monitor in such a way that the air moves back into the room. This will put less pressure on the fans, but a sound barrier between you and the PC (your monitor), and not have a heap of dead hot air building behind the machine. Also, I noticed a window. Make sure to not have any direct sunlight anywhere near the computer. Lastly, become a firm believer in AC. Your ambient air temp is what is your baseline of how cold your parts can become. If you ambient temp is 70*f then that's fine, but if you are running 80+*f then you run the risk of damaging components because you simply loose cooling power. As an example of this; My wife and I have nearly twin systems. I have a slightly more breathy case, but I also have a much more powerful GPU than hers, so it evens out in the end. Hers is kept upstairs, on a carpet floor, under a desk (not where I put it btw, I put it on the desk away from the cat hair, but whatever), while mine is in a nice open area on a coffee table away from any obstructions. We keep the house set to 72f in summer, and 68-70f during the winter, and the basement is at a nice crisp 66-68f all year round because it stays cold in the summer, and the heat doesn't work well down there in winter. The systems being roughly equal in cooling capacity, with only the air temp and system placement being the main difference, my CPU stay about 33c while hers is 45c. My GPU (9800GT passive cooling) floats at 50c idle, 85c load, with hers (8600GT stock cooler) is at 60c idle, 90c load. Granted we are not pulling the same wattage as you are, but running a 9800GT loaded with passive cooling in a similar case setup running 5c cooler than a weaker card with active cooling speaks volumes to me (see what I did there... volume lol).

Good luck
a b ) Power supply
November 1, 2011 6:51:15 PM

Hello... well how ever you want to approach / or attempt to approach a solution is your your right and freedom... I was thinking of and tryin things too!!!...

But then I Decided to solve the ACTUAL PROBLEM... sold my GPU on the "BAY" and bought a True EE card... never looked back... In fact like I said, my case has never been cooler... now I can OVERCLOCK like never before!!! and I have a quiet cool running mean machine... A TRUE EXTERNAL ExHAUST GPU CARD is the only fan your case needs...

The 460/560 GPU's are wonderful cool running GPU's... with the right Cooling FAN attached to them... I am so impressed... My MAX GPU is in the 70's C... with fan speeds 33% normal windows... and 50% in SC2 at high resolution 1080P... and my case is cool/warm to touch... Was not the case when I had my other GTX460 installed... My case was Hot to touch... and was smelling hot electronic components... NOW I Have PEACE of MIND for the future of all my computer Components.
November 1, 2011 7:24:34 PM

CaedenV said:
To me your temps do not seem all that bad. I have an old 9800GT that use to get into the 95c range, and was shocked to find out that was normal load temperature (I keep it in the 70's under normal use with an aftermarket passive cooler though lol). And your CPU temp is entirely reasonable.
My experience with PCI slot fans is that they tend to make more noise than help, but if it knocks a few degrees off then power to ya.

As to the pics;
It looks like you have 2 distinct thermal zones. 1 above your GPU, and another below. As teh GPU puts out more heat than the CPU I would move it up away from the PSU, and move the slot fan down below the GPU to help evacuate more of that air (I assume there is a higher PCIe16 in the case, it looks awfully close to the PSU to me). I would also move the HDDs down to the bottom of the case with 1 drive space between them. This will give more air available to the GPU, and break up the zones made by the line of your HDD and GPU letting heat move upwards more freely. More effective fans will help, but so long as everything is moving the same direction your biggest change will be in less noise produced, not the temps dropping.

Not much you can do about the RAM with that setup. Just no space to breathe. But you are not doing a huge OC so it should be fine down there.

My personal setup is all about having a near silent system, and so I work with much less airflow, and much more copper. I rely more on the physics that heat moves upwards, and while I have quite a few fans, they are all cheap low RPM ones (one of these days I will replace with quieter low RPM fans, but until I replace my HDD with an SSD then the HDD is the loudest thing in the system). My case ($60) has fan vents for 2 120mm on front (using 1, bottom blowing in), 1 120mm on bottom (using, blowing in, towards passive GPU heat sink), 2 120mm on top (using none, but 120mm CPU fan blows up instead of out the back), and 1 120mm on back (using 1, blowing out). I also have a bottom mounter 480W PSU which I disabled the fan on as it was noisy and does not produce any heat to speak of. So everything moves from the bottom front to the top back.

Also, placement is huge. Rather than having the unit facing front to back (where the air blows against a wall), put the computer behind your monitor in such a way that the air moves back into the room. This will put less pressure on the fans, but a sound barrier between you and the PC (your monitor), and not have a heap of dead hot air building behind the machine. Also, I noticed a window. Make sure to not have any direct sunlight anywhere near the computer. Lastly, become a firm believer in AC. Your ambient air temp is what is your baseline of how cold your parts can become. If you ambient temp is 70*f then that's fine, but if you are running 80+*f then you run the risk of damaging components because you simply loose cooling power. As an example of this; My wife and I have nearly twin systems. I have a slightly more breathy case, but I also have a much more powerful GPU than hers, so it evens out in the end. Hers is kept upstairs, on a carpet floor, under a desk (not where I put it btw, I put it on the desk away from the cat hair, but whatever), while mine is in a nice open area on a coffee table away from any obstructions. We keep the house set to 72f in summer, and 68-70f during the winter, and the basement is at a nice crisp 66-68f all year round because it stays cold in the summer, and the heat doesn't work well down there in winter. The systems being roughly equal in cooling capacity, with only the air temp and system placement being the main difference, my CPU stay about 33c while hers is 45c. My GPU (9800GT passive cooling) floats at 50c idle, 85c load, with hers (8600GT stock cooler) is at 60c idle, 90c load. Granted we are not pulling the same wattage as you are, but running a 9800GT loaded with passive cooling in a similar case setup running 5c cooler than a weaker card with active cooling speaks volumes to me (see what I did there... volume lol).

Good luck


This is the way I had it set up when I had my other cpu cooler (with the 2 zones) I wasnt trying to overclock and I had a gigabyte GTX460 SE, looks exactly like the GTX 560 same design but the new 560 I have runs much hotter. I'm going to take that advice and lower the HDD down and raise my bottom most front fan and my GPU. I had the GPU down to the second 16x pci-e slot because with the stock cpu cooler there was hot air blowing on it from the stock cooler and the chipset gets a bit hot. I made the 2 zones with one of my HDD's and it cooled things down a bit. So I just left it the way it was....but now that I have a better/hotter running GPU and a better CPU cooler I think your right about having only one zone and giving the gpu cooler some room away from the PSU.

I live in Germany now (Its always cold here) so I'm not sure in Celsuis but its about 60 F in the room. I would love to have an AC, but I think there almost forbidden here....damn tree huggers. I do have my pc setting out from the wall a little though because I thought it was bad to have all that hot air sitting behind my computer, but maybe I need to change my setup here on my desk.

but as far as the temps go, mine runs around 60-64 under load and 62 is the max for my cpu and I think 107 is the max for my GPU, its running around 100 under load so I think I have a problem with my temps. I know some people say its ok to run at the max temp just not over it for long periods of time....but I dont want to try my luck, rather just try this and try that until I get it reasonable.

So I took out the pci fan and my CPU temps dropped a little but my GPU temps went up a little, I'm going to try making one zone inside my case and maybe buy better front and rear fans if that doesnt help much.

Whats your opinion on leaving the stock case fans, making 1 zone and adding a case fan on the top....then running my cpu cooler fans from bottom blowing out the top (this will also give my ram room to breath)? is that overkill? would it mess up my airflow? and that's for the helpful reply!!
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