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Modding PC case - NEED better airflow.

Last response: in Components
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January 12, 2012 11:45:49 AM

Hi all, recently I decided I needed better airflow in my computer, cords were all over the place and whatnot. The case is just a simple basic case. I decided to put the PSU on the bottom and flip the motherboard so I could see the hardware from where I'm seated (case is to my left)

I was then able to zip tie all of my cords that were previously hanging around, which I thought would mean better airflow.

Here is a picture of my case as it is now:

http://i.imgur.com/cWcmo.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/sKN54.jpg

I was running Furmark to test my temperatures under load and I was shocked. I was getting up to 92 degrees on 100% load. I KNOW that is WAY too high.

This prompted me to disassemble my computer, I reassembled / breadboarded it on an antistatic mat and then ran the same furmark test. The temps were much less. Only 79 degrees under 100% load. I believe this is still quite high, however it's better than 92.

Here is a picture of the breadboarded computer.

http://i.imgur.com/MVEHq.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/hN4Zb.jpg

I desperately need better airflow in my case, but I don't know exactly what to do to make it better.

I have one theory however, since I put the PSU on the bottom and reversed my MOBO, the GPU is now at the top, blowing hot air directly at the top panel, to which the air cannot easily escape. I believe the air might be just "hanging around" my GPU, which prevents it from being adequately cooled.

1) I believe if I cut a 120mm hole and put an exhaust fan there, this might be able to get rid of that hot air.

2) As you can see I have the Coolermaster hyper 212+ CPU heatsink. The fan is placed sideways, I also think if I place an exhaust at the back panel of my computer this also will be able to get rid of the hot air.

3) Placing an intake fan in the bottom of the front panel

4) I am adding a perspex side panel – would this hinder or benefit my Computer? I know the air will want to take the path of least resistance, however I think if I do add a perspex side panel it will essentially "regulate" the flow of air, forcing the cold air from the intake to be pushed through the case as opposed to escaping through the side.

Okay, these are my thoughts, I have NO IDEA about the physics of air and the application of improving airflow.

I really need suggestions from you guys, and tips, please.
I would be very grateful if you could help me fix this.

Thank you!

More about : modding case airflow

January 12, 2012 11:58:12 AM

What case is that? Trying to get some pictures of just the case with nothing in it to get a better idea of solutions.
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January 12, 2012 12:18:47 PM

It's just a pretty basic case, I'm not sure what model it was, it's the cheapest case i could find when I made my computer 2 years ago.

http://imgur.com/Wha0b,DnKjf,Xo2lL,DcCGY,rPiX2

here are 5 additional pictures with more angles. Sorry about the quality.
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a c 110 ) Power supply
January 12, 2012 2:37:39 PM

Or spend a little money and buy a new case....
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a b ) Power supply
January 12, 2012 3:13:32 PM

92 is not that hot for furmark, GPUs are good 105, Ideally you keep them cooler than this, but furmark is a very very extreme load. So its not too bad, aim for under 90 as this should be achievable. Also the temp is based on the fan profile. My GTX470 sits at 80 under load with my fan profile. With stock fan profile it'll go up to 95. Use MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision to control the fanb profile, and you'll exchange noise for temps.
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a b ) Power supply
January 12, 2012 3:14:46 PM

You know your case is upside down don't you?
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a b ) Power supply
January 12, 2012 4:56:49 PM

First off the PSU on the bottom thing is a marketing ploy. It only works correctly if the PSU can take in fresh air from the bottom of the case and eject it out the back. The way you have it now is completely wrong because you have the PSU fan blowing hot air down, which is fighting the natural convection effect that is generated when hot air rises.

Here is what I would do.

Step one is to apply new thermal paste to the CPU. Take the cooler off clean and the CPU and apply a bb of fresh thermal paste to the center of the cpu. It does not really what kind you use, just get some sort of brand name. Don’t go with some generic stuff that is all in Chinese.
Arrange the CPU cooler to blow front to back. (Hot air out the back)

Put the computer back together properly with the PSU on the top. Install all fans so that they blow in the front and out the back. If you can add a 120mm to the front panel blowing into the case that would be huge. Add a 92 or a 120 mm blowing out the back as well.

You don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on fancy fans and new cases, just follow the basics, cool air in the front, warm air out the back.
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a b ) Power supply
January 12, 2012 5:42:59 PM

he's got a GPU issue, but turning everything the right way up will help. And his thermal issues are not as bad as he thinks.
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a c 274 ) Power supply
January 12, 2012 5:56:31 PM

The upside down thing is throwing me off lol!
You definitely need to add at least one exhaust fan regardless.(lined up with the 212+)
And if you have a mount for a front intake add a fan.
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January 12, 2012 5:59:27 PM

It looks like the back panel on the case is upside down?? not the entire case.... I would seriously consider getting a new case cause it looks like that one was not assembled correctly. Do you have any fans on your case? (That might be one on the front in the last pic but hard to tell)
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January 12, 2012 11:37:29 PM

I actually de-riveted the back panel and flipped it as I wanted the PSU to be on the bottom (The case is NOT upside down, as you can see the hdd and dvd drive bays are still the correct way up) - however - after reading this article I now know I have it all wrong.

I would still like to have my PSU on the bottom, there is a small clearance underneath the PSU, and if I cut a hole in the chassis for it to 'breathe' how do you think that would work?

I know that I have a lot of dead air floating around the top of my case, do you think adding an exhaust there would counter it? Also yes I do have a fan in the front-bottom of my case that is an intake.
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January 13, 2012 12:02:24 AM

The board/ps placement is fine.

But if you look right behind the cpu cooler there are spots for two case fans.
Put case fans in those two spots to suck the hot air from the cpu cooler out of the case.

In the front of the case (normally you have to take the hdd out to see this fan spot) There should be a spot for a intake fan, put the fan so it blows air into the case.

Taking out some of those blanking covers where you have empty dvd-rw spots or floppy drive spots helps open the case so the power supply fan and rear case fans can draw air in.

Hint: Most motherboard boxes or video cards come packed on black open cell foam that works well as filter foam. (or you can buy filter foam too)
After you take the front blanking covers out, cut the foam so it fits snug so you don't have empty holes showing in the front of the case.

On that style of case, i put three 12cm fans on the rear of the hdd rack and dvd drive rack, to suck air in through your new foam intakes in the front.
(but that is on my living room pc and i have all low speed fans so it's quiet with a pair of hd-4870's with a x-fi pci card crammed between them on a micro-atx crossfire board, so this is a extreme example)

adding two fans to the back should fix most of your troubles, taking out a couple of blanking plates and swapping out for foam will let the fans suck air in a bit easier.

Be really careful if you are going to actually cut holes, ONE SMALL METAL FILING WILL KILL A BOARD!!! Yea don't start cutting holes its not good.
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January 13, 2012 12:16:23 AM

I have almost that same exact case. Because it has 4 dvd rom spots its easy to convert to a desktop. Simply put the dvd sidways and tie wrap it to the mounting spot, i put a pair of dvd rws then foam to fill the hole.

Then you can either stack your monitor on top to save desktop space, or being a desktop instead of a tower now it stacks nice as a htpc with the stereo receiver on top.
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January 13, 2012 5:43:54 AM

Updating this - I managed to reduce the furmark temperature from 95 to 85. I pulled out all the PCI aluminium slot things, and I also cut a 100mm circle in the bottom of my case, and flipped the PSU so the fan part of it is on the bottom extracting air from that 100mm circle. I also added 5mm legs to help the PSU in extracting that air.

Considering I have my GPU on top I guess it will be impossible for me to have negative pressure airflow, If i add an intake fan on the top, to push air, however against convection, in to the path of the GPU fan, do you think that could help lower it's temperature too?

Thanks.
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a b ) Power supply
January 13, 2012 5:49:36 AM

change your fan profile in software, stop cutting metal.
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January 13, 2012 8:28:28 AM

I made a fan profile and with it I played BF3 for about an hour, the max temp I got was 83, and averaged around 75. Do you think this is a dangerous temp?
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a b ) Power supply
January 13, 2012 9:14:51 AM

There's a clue in that the stock fan profile doesn't hit 100% until well into the 90's if not beyond. The profile that you have setup actually hits 100% fan earlier than that hence lower temps.
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January 13, 2012 9:53:06 AM

Alright, I'm glad to know that the temps aren't dangerous anymore.

My card is a GTX 560, by the way. For this card do you still think they're fine?

Also, I haven't had the side panel of my case on - do you think it will be hotter or cooler when I put the side panel on? I can't put it on to test that for a few days.
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a b ) Power supply
January 13, 2012 10:07:32 AM

If you've got air flow to where the GPU is sucking air from then the side shouldn't make things worse.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/product-geforce-gtx-560ti-...

99C according to Nvidia, and they WILL throttle at 99C to reduce load and therefore temps, temps drop really quickly when the load goes off, watch it in afterburner and see.
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a b ) Power supply
January 13, 2012 12:19:43 PM

The PSU intake on the bottom will help. Maybe I missed something but were those temps you were quoting from the GPU? You went on about the CPU cooler so i thought the temps were cpu? If those are the CPU any thing over 70 or so is unhealthy. If we are talking about the GPU many of them are intended to run in the 80 and 90s.

I leave both my gtx 470s on the default fan profiles and they are always around 90 when gaming. The funny thing is the fans are only at like 50%. If I turn the fans up to 75% the temps stay in the 70s.
The computer runs fine with the GPUs at 90 and the cpu stays around 50 so I dont care.

I also have a 4850 and from day one that thing idled at like 80 with the fan at 20%. No matter how much air you add or how much strain you put on that card it stayed at 80. The fan would spin up to 90% but the card would not go over 80. If you add more air flow "say from a huge window fan" the gp fan would go slower.
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