Why is Top Cooling not the Best?

Silverstone turned the motherboard 90 degrees to vent out the top. It makes perfect sense. Not only does heat rise, but many designs blow perpendicular against the graphics card. The later Silverstone designs look really clean, keeping the airflow straight and unimpeded (air doesnt like turns or resistance like wires). I would have bet money that top cooling would be the coolest in the air category, and yet although very good, not the best in gaming case shoot outs.

Can someone explain WHY the numbers don't match the perception?
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  1. The silverstone cases are a pain in the butt , even though they look great . Try plugging in a wifi card if you dont believe me .

    Air is a fluid . The flow will be turbulent [ look it up] .
    The motherboard orientation wont matter at all to cooling . What will matter is air flow over components and the pressure of that air .

    Many other cases have top mounted fans to achieve the exact same result as rotating the mb , but they have none of the disadvantages
  2. A wireless card is a requirement for me. Good to know.

    I looked up turbulence in Wikipedia. You have to have a Phd in physics to understand it. I river run. I understand water. Even a fast river will have some dead spots and slow eddies (which are obviously warmer to the touch). The only thing i clearly understand about air, from sad experience, is the dust everwhere from negative pressure, and the resulting 20 degrees hotter from insulating effect and constantly blowing the damn thing out. Are you saying that airflow perpendicular over the GPU is as good as airflow going parallel to GPU? It seems like that has a greater chance of creating mini dead spots around GPU. Not arguing; just trying to reason it out. Obviously I'm still missing something you understand.

    For reasons I won't get into, many of the disadvantages to the user are actually welcome. Difficulties for the builder, however, are given weight. The cooling is just my itch. I like to know why, and I like to try tweaking for improvements.

    Thanks for the response.
  3. Sorry, I left out crucial assumption. Slot cover next to GPU is taken off to force air by the card.
  4. Best answer
    I design boats for a living . Maybe quite similar ones to those you use on your rivers.

    The difference in laminar flow and turbulent flow is part of the issue I was alluding too . A fluid [ in this case air , but water is very similar] will not stay attached to a surface for very long . A boundary layer will form with molecules "attached" to the hull or any internal part of a computer . ANY disruption will mean turbulent flow from that point onwards .
    In a pc case that happens at the fan blade . No laminar flow inside the case . Changing the air direction might create hotspots . It might also improve cooling performance in some others .
    Either way a straight pass through from top to bottom cant improve total flow and/or cooling of the system by itself . Whats probably needed is to raise pressure if you can, and to direct air flow at the hotter components .

    And how case designers do that is sometimes weird , The new silverstone TJ 04e blows air DOWN into the case from the top fan

    I like the fortress cases a lot . But rotating the mb and psu and having the cabling coming out the top under a shield does nothing special , except you to relocate the dvd drive
  5. Design boats for a living? How cool is that? Wow, hope it's as satisfying as it sounds. I do software, and it's occasionally exciting, but mostly drudge work. Too much business and not enough coding.

    I think I get the gist now. Boat designer reminded me of old roommates who were car designers. They would sculpt a life size model from hard foam and then stick it in wind tunnel to test drag. They explained that you can sort of almost make some predictions, but not really. It's too chaotic. You have to test it to know.

    Being forced to empirical evidence never sat right with me. Too messy and imprecise, and an acknowledgement that we really don't know something. Never liked biology and physics for the same reason. On the other hand, software is utterly predictable--at least that's the illusion.

    Thanks for helping scratch that itch. I'll quit trying to outthink case designers and accept the numbers.
  6. Best answer selected by Top Cooler.
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