This will be a little long-winded, but I'll separate this into a brief list of my problems and include further details after that if needed. First, my specs:
_Cooler Master 430 Elite ATX Midtower
_ASUS Sabertooth X79 MoBo
_Intel i7 3820 CPU
_VisionTek's version of the AMD Radeon HD 7870 (2 Gig)
_8 GB RAM (2x4) Corsair Vengance (yeah, the stupid-looking ones)
_Corsair H50 CPU cooling
_Corsair GS800 PSU
_Seagate barracuda 1TB HDD
I'm building a PC for the first time in 10 years, and I already think I made some bad purchasing decisions. In particular, the case I bought is cramped, incredibly flimsy and has no cable management to speak of (for anyone who may have stumbled upon this post and is considering this case: it's not the bargain it seems to be, get something better).
I turned it on for the first time last night with much trepidation, and it worked! All components were being detected correctly and the BIOS reported nothing out of the ordinary, so I left it idle on the BIOS for a couple of hours to see if there were any anomalous spikes in temperature or other problems. The CPU and MoBo were around the same temps the whole time, averaging about 35 C, ambient temp of about 25 C, high of 37 C. Seems okay so far, so I'm getting ready to partition my HDD and install Windows 7.
However, building the system gave me a few things to worry about, and I want to know:
1. For all of the following, am I making a big deal out of nothing?
2. The cramped--and, frankly, poorly thought out--construction of the case meant that I couldn't install a fan in one of the two top exhaust vents, with or without the H50's radiator/fan combo. As the H50 needs the fan to be an intake (makes sense, but still a pisser), that leaves me with one exhaust fan unless I switch the side panel fan to an exhaust as well. Should I do this? Would it make a difference?
3. The flimsy back bracket that came with the H50 made installation a real chore and doesn't inspire confidence in its ability to hold the pump firmly in place. I've been looking around for replacement brackets, but have had little success. Where might I find some for an LGA2011?
4. Minor question: I couldn't plug the radiator fan or the pump into the CPU_FAN pins on the board due to crowding from the top exhaust fan, and now the thing beeps at me every time I start it. Any way to stop this?
What follows is extra information if needed.
I currently have 5 fans in this thing, not including the PSU fan or the fans built into the MoBo. There's a 180 mm intake fan on the front that came with the case, an 80 mm on the bottom (I couldn't fit anything bigger because of crowding from the PSU and because I couldn't find a 100 mm on short notice, 120 mm just would not fit), a 120 mm intake on the side, a 120 intake on the radiator mounted at the back and a solitary, 120 mm exhaust fan on one of the top vents. I really don't like this setup, and any advice would be appreciated. I can't afford a new case at the moment, but if that's all I could do I would appreciate hearing that as well.
This is the first time I've tried liquid cooling, and that's really the only reason I got it: to see if I like it. I've seen so many people around here who seem to think it's not much of an improvement over a good air cooler, but then there are others who swear by liquid cooling. Any opinions on this, if you're willing to share, would be appreciated.
The point of this build is mainly graphic design, video rendering and 3D modelling with some gaming thrown in. This is why I tried to pick a fairly high-end CPU and allowed myself ample room for more RAM. I'm hoping to upgrade this in the as-near-as-possible future with RAID 10, a lot more RAM (this thing ostensibly supports up to 64 gigs).
I am going to say it, even though you may have already heard or thought this, but why did you buy a whole bunch of high-end components and then completely cheap out on a case. That case is simply not meant for what you are doing with it. It is a $40 case on Newegg. I would only recommend this for your run of the mill budget build. Typically construction on these is thin sheet metal and is good for holding a fan or two and a small power supply and components. You have alot packed into this thing and just the shear weight of everything could cause it the buckle and kind of lean. Now to your questions...
1) I think you are making this more complicated than it should be.
2) You can take 2 fans and mount them so they are both blowing out the back of your case with the radiator sandwiched between. This will help increase airflow over the radiator and out the back. It's best to use identical fans for this set at the same speed. Remove all top fans, keep a front intake fan, and remove the side fan, it really isn't needed unless you have more than one video card. Here is a review of that case and actually has your cooler. Just mirror their installation. 5 fans is just to much for a small case like that. It is unnecessary. http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1401/5/
3) Just use the bracket that came with the CPU plate. Corsair has tested these units thoroughly. Be confident that it will work, if it fails, send it back for a warranty repair/replacement.
4)Usually if you do not use the CPU fan plug the BIOS gets mad. There should be a way in the BIOS to disable this plug or the alerting for it. I helped a coworker build a system with a different CPU fan and it spun slower than the BIOS wanted it to by default so would give a CPU FAN Threshold alert at bootup. There is an option to lower or disable this in the BIOS. She has an ASUS board as well so should be similar.
Even if you didn't say it, it's pretty obvious to me that I didn't put enough thought into the case. Like I said, I plan on buying a new one ASAP and putting much more thought into it. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm inexperienced, to say the least. As to why I cheaped out... Well, I wasn't thinking about the problems that would cause, I guess.
I've had big problems with heat with my previous computers, so maybe I'm overreacting a bit, but how exactly can you tell what is and isn't overkill?
I wouldn't worry to much about it. As long as you aren't overclocking everything and generating a ton of heat, a modest configuration will do you just fine. That article I pointed out has a good fan configuration. Stock components are made to run at some pretty high temps, it is when you start to OC heavily it becomes more sensitive to heat. Just setup your system like the one in the article and you should be just fine. It should also give you a little room to play if you want to overclock. Also, a single 7870 will not pump out that much heat so internal case temps shouldn't be that much of a problem. Once you get to the highend dual card setups is when you can really run into internal case temps. Usually the CPU is situated at the op of the case so it's heat really is staying there. With a liquid cooler it is running that heat to a radiator and blowing right out the back. So I don't think temps will be an issue for you.