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Assembly Part 3: The Finishing Touches

System Builder Marathon, Q2 2013: $2500 Performance PC

At 6.25” deep, the modular power supply I chose is just a hair too large to easily fit inside the Prodigy’s mounting area. Holes on the sides of the bay would have made the insertion of a non-modular unit easier, since the cables of those parts exit at the side. But the added bulk of the extra cables also would have filled the hard drive cage, making a slightly shorter modular PSU the best solution. This one eventually fit with a little extra persuasion.

The video card vents heat out both the front and back, but its rear vents out of the case. A gap between the video card’s front vent and the case’s face panel would have allowed a rear exhaust fan to draw its hot air into the CPU zone. Knowing this, I planned this entire assembly with back-to-front cooling in mind. Cold air comes in through the radiator, blows past the voltage regulator only slightly warmer, and exits through the white fan in front. When gaming, I can feel the video card’s front vent exhausting directly through the front panel’s left edge.

The two factory-installed Prodigy case fans were removed, but not forgotten. There’s just enough empty space between the Kraken X40 closed-loop radiator and Asus BW-14D1XT optical drive to mount one of those fans, blowing down, to complement our back-to-front cooling path.

My biggest complaint about back-to-front cooling involves convection and dust control. The fans in this particular build are too close to the same height for convection to be a serious concern, and SilverStone’s 140 mm magnetic filter addresses the dust issue. Well done, if I may so so myself.

The filter simply sticks to the back, and the reversed fan draws it even more tightly into place. Were performance to have been below expectations, a graphics card intake gasket similar in concept to SilverStone’s solution could have been cut from a sheet of packing foam included in Newegg’s box.

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