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Best (quiet) air flow help wanted

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  • Cooling
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April 2, 2012 6:57:08 PM

Building a system with COOLER MASTER Elite 431 Plus case, Asus P8Z68-V/Gen3 board with Zalman CNPS9900max cooler for i7-2700K, and GSkill Ripjaws RAM. Worried about having enough room to install 2 120mm top fans without interfering with the CPU cooler and RAM. Was looking at the Scythe SY1212SL12L since they're slim.

The main goal is air flow but it would be nice if my system didn't sound like an airplane taking off the runway like my current PC (which is only using two 80mm rear fans and a stock Intel P4 cooler).

The case comes with only 1 front 120mm fan, so I plan to add a rear 120mm, and the two top 120mm fans as well. Any advice for the best air flow that runs most quietly will be much appreciated.

Thanks!

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a c 158 ) Power supply
April 2, 2012 7:47:37 PM

What GPU? PSU?

If you really want to minimize noise, then you need to minimize your noise makers...fans. A great recent article on fan placement and impact on airflow/cooling: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2012/02/10/the-big-coo...
Bottom line is that if you're using less than 4 fans, then it is actually better to place them on the rear/top/side. A couple of suggestions for you to consider:
1. Minimize fans: Place one on the rear and 1-2 on the top. Make sure they are 4-pin PWM fans so you can control their speed...slower is quieter. You have a total of (3) 4-pin fan connectors on your motherboard...use them instead of the 3-pin connections.

2. Put as many fans in as you want but use a fan controller to operate them at a speed that has an acceptable noise level. Great inexpensive fans are these Yate Loon D12SL-12 at 4/$20 at Petra's: http://www.petrastechshop.com/12yalod1cafa.html and here is a review of the Yate Loons: http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cases_cooling/yate_l...
For the fan controller just choose one that can control the amount of fans that you will have in your system. I personally have a Scythe Kaze Master because I like the readouts/control features: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... There are less expensive ones out there, but this is an item that I will re-use for years to come...$45 was worth it to me for the quality and features of the product.

3. Save dollars on your CPU cooler to fund your fan/fan controller purchases. Get a Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO for $35: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 2, 2012 8:23:28 PM

PSU is Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12
Using onboard video for now until I get a monitor that can handle better resolution.
Eventually, I'll probably go with MSI N550GTX PCI-e 2.0x16.

I've looked at the Hyper 212 EVO but I'm pretty set on the 9900max for looks and performance.
You think the Yate Loon slim fans are better than Scythe? Do I really need two top fans?

I realize that less fans = less noise and I don't really know how many fans I really need.
Initially I was just going to add one rear fan so I had front and rear, but I have the two 120mm vents at the top so I figured I may as well use them. Maybe I'll hold off on the top fans until I throw in the GPU and get a fan controller as you recommended.
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a b ) Power supply
April 2, 2012 11:28:20 PM

While Zalmann makes a good heatsink, I find them to be oversized and overpriced for the most part. Yes, they may keep your CPU a little cooler, but if you need to sacrifice space in your case, that may be overall worse. If you scrimp on exhaust fans, what's going to vent the warm air from your big fancy cooler? Granted, that's a little exaggerated, but I think you get the point. However, one thing that's not exaggerated is their size, and more than a few don't have much RAM clearance and can even prevent you from using the top slot for your graphics card.

If the Zalman fits in your budget, great, just try and make sure everything can still fit together.

Also, just because you can mount a fan doesn't mean you need to. Air can still passively pass through an open vent. A decent case with good layout and cable management shouldn't need more than three case fans ( unless you're doing some serious OCing or multiple graphics cards. )

Finally, if you want quiet, the case can make a big difference. Some have noise dampening foam liners or simply direct noise from the vents away from you. You will pay a little extra for such cases, but personally I find it worth it.
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April 2, 2012 11:33:28 PM

RedJaron said:
While Zalmann makes a good heatsink, I find them to be oversized and overpriced for the most part. Yes, they may keep your CPU a little cooler, but if you need to sacrifice space in your case, that may be overall worse. If you scrimp on exhaust fans, what's going to vent the warm air from your big fancy cooler? Granted, that's a little exaggerated, but I think you get the point. However, one thing that's not exaggerated is their size, and more than a few don't have much RAM clearance and can even prevent you from using the top slot for your graphics card.

If the Zalman fits in your budget, great, just try and make sure everything can still fit together.

Also, just because you can mount a fan doesn't mean you need to. Air can still passively pass through an open vent. A decent case with good layout and cable management shouldn't need more than three case fans ( unless you're doing some serious OCing or multiple graphics cards. )

Finally, if you want quiet, the case can make a big difference. Some have noise dampening foam liners or simply direct noise from the vents away from you. You will pay a little extra for such cases, but personally I find it worth it.



The 9900max is pretty big but I've seen it on the very board I'm using, with RAM and GPU installed without any space constraint so I know I'm safe there, just didn't know about clearance above where the top vents are. I guess it would be best to have a front/rear fan and the Zalman going to see how temps are before I automatically decide I need to install top fans.
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a c 158 ) Power supply
April 3, 2012 12:25:26 AM

sharkbyte5150 said:
The 9900max is pretty big but I've seen it on the very board I'm using, with RAM and GPU installed without any space constraint so I know I'm safe there, just didn't know about clearance above where the top vents are. I guess it would be best to have a front/rear fan and the Zalman going to see how temps are before I automatically decide I need to install top fans.

If you're going to use two fans, then the best config is one on top and one on the rear. Actually rear and side would be best, but you don't have that option. One of the things they discovered in that article that I linked was that front-to-rear flow with only one fan in the front provided inferior cooling to the mobo, GPU, and CPU. A single fan up front only provided a 1-2C difference in cooling for the HDDs. Place the top fan in the space towards the rear of the case for best cooling effect. Skip on buying a slim fan unless the normal 25mm fan won't fit in there with your CPU cooler installed.

I can understand wanting to have a cooler that looks nice, but you really pay a premium for it with that Zalman over the EVO. Your money and choice. Decent PSU with more than enough power for your rig. Your PSU fan will probably barely spin with the load that will be on it.
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April 3, 2012 2:39:44 AM

I would go with the 530W PSU but don't want to be pushing it once I get the GPU installed.

The case comes with a front fan but maybe I'll move that one to the rear and get a better front fan with higher CFM for hard drives and put one top fan towards the rear as you suggested. Thanks.
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a c 158 ) Power supply
April 3, 2012 11:49:52 AM

sharkbyte5150 said:
I would go with the 530W PSU but don't want to be pushing it once I get the GPU installed.

The case comes with a front fan but maybe I'll move that one to the rear and get a better front fan with higher CFM for hard drives and put one top fan towards the rear as you suggested. Thanks.

Sounds like a good plan. You can use Speedfan or Intel's monitoring utility to to check HDD/ODD temps as well as adjust some of your fan speeds. Speedfan allows you to adjust some of your fan speeds if your mobo is supported...you can check their website for a list of supported hardware.
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April 3, 2012 4:17:43 PM

Best answer selected by sharkbyte5150.
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