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Fractal Design Define R4 cooling options

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December 15, 2012 6:29:12 PM

Hi everyone!

I am a first time builder and would like an opinion/advice.
I'd like to do the following build:

Fractal Design Define R4 case
i5 3570 cpu
Hyper evo 212 cpu cooler
MSI z77a G43 mobo
XFX HD 7850 DD gpu
TX650m corsair psu
8GB corsair RAM

So I like the R4 case, but I am worried the temps will go up like crazy.
I'd like the temps below 50 degrees celcius because my last videocard died of overheating.
Is it a good idea to install 4 more fans?

2 140's in the front intake
1 140 in the side panel intake
2 140's in the top exhaust
1 140 in the back exhaust

Maybe some advice for a first time builder? Thanks!

More about : fractal design define cooling options

December 15, 2012 7:39:53 PM

Bump, would it assure good airflow?
December 15, 2012 8:22:15 PM

No, that is not most effective. Hot air rises, so you want air-flow to be from bottom to the top. Using the top fan as intake is not ideal. Use the front and bottom as intake and the top and back as exhaust. The video card is usually the hottest component in the system, so the side fan should be used as intake blowing directly across the video card. That is 3 fans in and 2 fans out, which gives you positive pressure and reduces dust build up inside the case.

As for specific fans to use, the Noctua fans are probably the best, but they are the most expensive and butt-ugly.These would be good choices take your pick http://www.xoxide.com/bitfenix-spectrepro-140mm-ledcase...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
http://www.amazon.com/Thermalright-TR-X-Silent-140-140m...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
December 22, 2012 9:36:32 AM

@bigcyco Isn't that configuration exactly what Pfuhlie said?

The R4 temps are not going to be high at all. Don't let the noise insulation fool you into thinking these cases actually insulate heat. The R4 has a ton of ventilation options to help you balance noise/temperatures.

With that said, I wouldn't necessarily fill every vent with a fan right off the bat.

A good starting point would be two front intake, one rear exhaust, and one top-back exhaust.

If you need more cooling, the next best option would be an intake on the side panel.

If your GPU is specifically the issue, then a bottom intake fan (next to the psu) will do wonders to get more cool air straight at the GPU (don't worry, the bottom has those nifty dust filters to prevent your psu/gpu getting all mucked up). This will depend on the size of your PSU and whether or not cables from the PSU block fitting a fan in here.

At this point you would have 4 intake/2 exhaust. Luckily Fractal designed this with those two sound dampening pads at the top instead of just one long one (like the Corsair 500D). So you have the option of just runing one 140mm fan at the top without leaving a gaping hole next to it (which would just allow more noise to come out thus defeating the purpose of a silent case).

If you absolutely had to, add yet another 140mm exhaust at the top to max out your fans. But I would have this be your last option.

But remember - the purpose of the R4 is to balance noise/temps. So install the lowest number fan configuration first, test temperatures at idle/load, then reconfigure accordingly.
December 22, 2012 9:43:36 AM

Edit:

-The side panel fan option is only available on the non-window R4 model.

-Also consider a different air cooler to maximise airflow/minimise noise. The Hyper 212 Evo is definitely a good cooler, but there are better. Depends on how high you want to overclock, really.
December 22, 2012 11:07:33 AM

+1 on testing it out first you really do not need to add anymore fans it should provide great cooling.If you want to add to it.For your computer case fans, I suggest going for one more fan in the front or side. I go for something cheap quiet and reliable http://www.amazon.com/Thermalright-TR-X-Silent-140-140m...
December 22, 2012 12:18:28 PM

Unfortunately a side panel fan won't fit with a large cpu cooler. But this isn't a problem specific to the R4 - most cases would be the same, unless you get something like a Corsair 500R that has the extra wide panel (but they aren't too quiet I've read).

An alternative would be a top-down cpu cooler like the Noctua NH-C14. This would leave plenty of headroom to include a side fan. I've seen benchmark tests that show the NH-C14 to be literally .25*C hotter than the NH-D14 at load. What it really comes down to is air flow circulation configuration in the case.

Hey bigcyco1 - what is your opinion on fan configuration? Would it be better to go with a traditional tower cooler push/pull front intake-rear exhaust traditional configuration, or a top-down cooler with side fan intake? I'm just not sure if the top-down cooler would be optimimal for the front intake-rear exhaust setup.
December 22, 2012 12:45:45 PM

Yeah I guess with the push/pull tower you have more control over air flow direction.

Looking at those pictures, I have to say that I prefer the fan layout of the negative pressure system. Like we both agreed upon a few posts ago, top intake is not ideal. I think the way to achieve postive pressure without resorting to top intake is (in the R4 case) install a bottom intake fan. That would mean you would have a 3intake/2exhaust ratio, which would achieve the positive pressure system.

Yeah, the more we talk about this the more strongly I am leaning towards the tower cooler. A top-down cooler would sure disrupt this flow.
December 22, 2012 1:07:18 PM

bam06005 said:
Yeah I guess with the push/pull tower you have more control over air flow direction.

Looking at those pictures, I have to say that I prefer the fan layout of the negative pressure system. Like we both agreed upon a few posts ago, top intake is not ideal. I think the way to achieve postive pressure without resorting to top intake is (in the R4 case) install a bottom intake fan. That would mean you would have a 3intake/2exhaust ratio, which would achieve the positive pressure system.

Yeah, the more we talk about this the more strongly I am leaning towards the tower cooler. A top-down cooler would sure disrupt this flow.
I agree ;) 
December 22, 2012 1:31:35 PM

Another question for you - do you think the R4 has enough clearance to fit a bottom fan? I saw somewhere that it has about 10-15mm. Some pictures I've seen have had the rig raised off the ground with wooden 2x4s. I'd actually opt for something like furniture feet cups if they were high enough. Aesthetics of the case ruined by planks of wood!
December 22, 2012 2:08:36 PM

I think it's possible but have not seen it done personally.
December 22, 2012 6:43:17 PM

I have one more question for you bigcyco1 =)

How would you go about hooking up the fans?

The R4 has an included fan controller (up to 3 fans). Then throw in, say a Gigabyte UD3H z77 that has 4 4-pin headers and a cpu fan header.

So going off what we were talking about earler - 2 front intake, 1 bottom intake, 1 top/back exhaust, and 1 back exhaust.

Oh yeah, don't forget the NH-D14. That only comes with stock 3-pin fans, so I could go with a splitter to run the entire cooler unit off the cpu header.

So what three fans would plug into the controller? Or maybe would you run splitters and have everything running into the controller? I do like pwm and the UD3H would do just fine automatically regulating the fans. Or maybe have the controller hooked up to the 3 intakes, then when I am gaming I can crank them up and then just drop them back down when I'm finished, leaving the exhaust hooked up to mobo headers. I really don't know! Any advice would be great!
April 29, 2013 2:28:35 PM

It has been four months since the last post on this subject and I was wondering which cooling set-up worked the best.
I'm starting to assemble a system including:
R4 case
ASUS M5A99X EVO R2.0
AMD FX8350
Ultra X4 1050w
Cooler Master Gemin II S524
I also have three extra 140mm fans with the R4, so I'm looking for the best way to place the fans.

December 16, 2013 5:45:44 AM

Hi,

I had this case built 3 weeks ago. I have only have 3 fans running which i feel is more than enough as the case is super cool and quiet. 2 fans in the front and one at the back for exhaust is sufficient. Personally I feel 5 case fans in a case that is designed to be quiet is over kill as it does a good job in cooling already.

Using the fan controller limits you to 3 case fans. I have heard that plugging in the fans directly into the mobo is the way to go and then Run Fan Xpert software to divide operating speeds. Just check how many fan connectors your mobo has.

Specs: i5 4670k, GeForce GTX 780 Ti, EVO 212 Cpu cooler.
January 23, 2014 8:56:39 PM

TommyTanker said:
Hi,

I had this case built 3 weeks ago. I have only have 3 fans running which i feel is more than enough as the case is super cool and quiet. 2 fans in the front and one at the back for exhaust is sufficient. Personally I feel 5 case fans in a case that is designed to be quiet is over kill as it does a good job in cooling already.

Using the fan controller limits you to 3 case fans. I have heard that plugging in the fans directly into the mobo is the way to go and then Run Fan Xpert software to divide operating speeds. Just check how many fan connectors your mobo has.

Specs: i5 4670k, GeForce GTX 780 Ti, EVO 212 Cpu cooler.


Hey, I have a build that's pretty much the same as yours except that I'm using a stock cooler, but I'm a bit worried about my CPU temps, which go to almost 100C on prime95 stress testing. What temps do you get with your EVO 212?
January 23, 2014 9:03:51 PM

I have this case and it keeps my FX4170+Arctic Freezer 7 Pro and ambient temps are in the 20-30's and my cpu never goes beyond 50c. I have two intake fans on the front, one on the bottom (which doesn't do much because I have carpet and there isn't much clearance), and an exhaust fan on the back.
January 24, 2014 3:58:56 AM

zeph_yr said:
I have this case and it keeps my FX4170+Arctic Freezer 7 Pro and ambient temps are in the 20-30's and my cpu never goes beyond 50c. I have two intake fans on the front, one on the bottom (which doesn't do much because I have carpet and there isn't much clearance), and an exhaust fan on the back.


Which case cooler do you use, if you don't mind me asking? Mine only has 2, looking to add some more.
January 24, 2014 11:01:05 AM

Bodi said:
zeph_yr said:
I have this case and it keeps my FX4170+Arctic Freezer 7 Pro and ambient temps are in the 20-30's and my cpu never goes beyond 50c. I have two intake fans on the front, one on the bottom (which doesn't do much because I have carpet and there isn't much clearance), and an exhaust fan on the back.


Which case cooler do you use, if you don't mind me asking? Mine only has 2, looking to add some more.


Mine came with two but I took the NZXT fans from my old case and put them in the new one. I have three intake fans (one fractal and one nzxt on the front, and another nzxt on the bottom), an a fractal exhaust fan on the rear. All are 120mm.
March 31, 2014 6:42:44 PM

@Bodi Honestly I have two Noctua NF-S12As in the front one noctua NF-S12A in the back and a Corsair H100i taking the top. I get stable temps throughout the system of about 40C while idle and 80C while in Prime95. Works great if your willing to buy the more expensive Noctuas and the $100 H100i. Good Luck. I have a Ggabyte Z87-HD3 and an i5 4670k.
March 31, 2014 6:57:51 PM

Woof, that's pretty high for a 100i. I have a H55, NF-f12 pushing it top exhaust, 2x stock CM 140mm intakes (low and bottom) and stock CM 120mm top exhaust that's almost never used. Idle 32*C, prime95 smalls 64*C. No rear exhaust at all, all out the top, and that's @ 4.2Ghz OC on a 3570K.
March 31, 2014 8:18:18 PM

Karadjgne said:
Woof, that's pretty high for a 100i. I have a H55, NF-f12 pushing it top exhaust, 2x stock CM 140mm intakes (low and bottom) and stock CM 120mm top exhaust that's almost never used. Idle 32*C, prime95 smalls 64*C. No rear exhaust at all, all out the top, and that's @ 4.2Ghz OC on a 3570K.


Yes, but I probably should've stated that I have 2 quad row and everything is OC. It should get that hot.
!