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Air Cooling Guide

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Sloth, 1 Jan 2007.

  1. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    Hello everyone, I've been doing some research/figuring and have finally come up with a great air cooling solution for everyone who doesn't want/cant afford to use watercooling.

    A few basic facts: Larger isn't always better, CFM ratings are the real factor here, so never base your logic on "120mm in the back is equal to 2x60mm in the front" This will only cause problems later.

    Your PSU is a legitimate exhaust system and does put out at least 30CFM in most cases. That's about the same as a regular 80mm fan since most PSUs have an 80MM fan.

    Just because your front fan has a high CFM rating doesn't mean it will be pulling that much air through. Highly restrictive front designs on cases can drastically reduce your front fan's sucking power.

    Fans move a lot of air for their size, but wont be blowing with much force. Placing fans near a heatsink is way different that directly on it, and in a bad way.

    Bad Setups:
    Here are things to look out for in your case.

    1. Cables running all over the place. These cables really do reduce performance, tuck them away and/or sleeve them for good results

    2. Having a CPU fan that pulls air sideways (down onto the CPU) without having a side air vent. Having a side fan/vent may somewhat disrupt air flow, but if your CPU heatsink draws in air like this you'll be far worse off without a side fan/vent.

    3. ANY SORT OF INTAKE ABOVE AN EXHAUST FAN! This is a horrible thing, never let it happen. Actually try not to have intake and exhaust on the same side of your case at all, it makes for bad air flow.

    4. Intakes that blow directly into exhaust fans. If you have an intake fan within 3 inches of an exhaust, you may as well not have either one. For example: A a side exhaust and a side intake. Just have one or the other.

    5. Never have opposing fans. If you have a fan blowing out make sure you don't place a fan near it blowing out also! Also, If you have a side pulling CPU heatsink, don't have an exhaust fan on the side vent.

    My idea of a perfect setup: This should apply to most mid/full ATX tower cases, and even some microATX cases.

    First things first, you'll want 120mm fans on the front and the back with the same CFM rating, preferable the same fan even. Having too weak of an intake means the exhaust will just pull in air from other sources anyway. These should put out some good suction, at least 40CFM each.

    Next step, drill a hole for a blowhole fan on the top of the case. This doesn't have to be a very big fan, only 92/80mm and not too high of CFM. Maybe only 25/30. If you don't need the highest performance at least cutout a hole and put in some mesh to air can naturally flow out as heat rises.

    Now, drill out a hole in the bottom/cut out a rectangle. The hole will be for a fan to be an intake in the bottom. Most of you will have motherboards reaching to the bottom of the case so an 80mm should still fit if a 120mm wont, the fan should pull about 30-40CFM. If you don't have the space for the fan or just don't want it cut out a rectangle and put in some mesh along the bottom. Your performance will drop with the mesh only, so at least try for a smaller fan, the CFM doesn't have to be that high, a 60mm fan at 20CFM will be better than nothing.

    Now it'd be best to remove any side vent you've got on your case. For this setup you don't want it. The vent will only cause an intake where you don't want it.

    Next, get a parallel blowing CPU heatsink/fan that pulls from the front and blows out to the back. this will promote the front to back/bottom to top flow of the case. Also, without a side vent you'll need a cooler like this. I find these coolers also pull cool air along your memory, that's good.

    In this step cut out any mesh covering your front/back fans that came on the case. Put a wire fan grill on if you want to keep things out of the fans still. Removing the pre-made mesh on the chassis will help reduce restrictions.

    Now cut out a hole in the front bezel of your case with a diameter of your fan's inner circle that houses the blades. You'll be making a sort of turbine fan for the front of your case. If you don't like the turbine look don't fret I'll show another option later. Make a duct from the front bezel going to the fan. You can buy pre-made ones from mnpctech.com. Install the duct and now your fan can suck in fresh air with to obstructions. If your don't like the turbine look then buy a mesh that allows a lot of air to flow through and place that in the hole you made. If you don't like that either then too bad, no good air cooling for you.

    There. You've now got a case with great air flow that doesn't sound loud and only has 6 fans at the max, and only 4 required. That's counting the PSU and CPU cooler, by the way.

    Explanations: Here are the reasons for all the things I told you to do.

    Cutting out the mesh on the front/back fans was simple, to reduce restrictions.

    The new CPU cooler promotes better air flow.

    The top fan/mesh lets hot air flow out that normally gets caught between the PSU/optical drives.

    The bottom mesh/fan though allows for more fresh air that goes straight to the video card. This is one of the best things you can do if you are a heavy gamer, but works best with a blowhole fan on top too.

    Closing in the side vent sounds weird but is actually good. It makes for a smaller area for air to moving in and out of. Having too many vents will be a problem for cases that have balanced air flow like the setup I explained. By having a side vent you allow an easier intake for the rear/top fan, this means they wont draw as much from the bottom and front vents/fans. By not drawing air from the front and bottom you end up with no air flowing up past the video card, and no air flowing front to back along the south/north bridges.

    I hope this helps everyone looking for a good setup and hope all the info is accurate!
     
  2. Rai_Polo

    Rai_Polo What's a Dremel?

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    Hmmm.. Nice guide. Maybe update it with some pics and stickify it!

    I hate air cooled rigs tho, sould like helicopters with all those fans?
     
  3. imkeller

    imkeller What's a Dremel?

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    Great guide. Sure taught me a thing or 2
     
  4. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    I'll try to get some pictures of what I mean up today, and really doesn't sound very loud if you get fans with lower noise levels. This was geared towards quiet performance, but well placed fans are better than fast fans in the end.

    Glad to have helped killer
     

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