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compact cooling methods - 9600GT Low Profile + Small Case

post #1 of 10
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I'm attempting to do a minor upgrade to a prefabbed Acer x1700 desktop I got secondhand from a friend. It's a very compact case, but overall had some nice specs... aside from the video card, which was a paltry G100. As far as I could tell, I was incredibly limited on the options to upgrade this video card, but a 9600GT supposedly fit the bill (a considerable upgrade from what it was).

The downside, I discovered, is that this compact case is poorly designed in that the card faces GPU up... about 10-15 mm from the top of the case. The airflow around the GPU is terrible. The only GPU airflow out of the case is a vent on the side, which doesn't seem to be very good. It didn't seem to affect the G100 enough to cause an overheat, however, but I was unable to prevent an overheat (logs would top it out at 100 C before crash). I've tried a few things so far to mitigate this, which is difficult considering the lack of space in this tiny case, but I got a couple 30mm x 7 mm fans and split off the SATA power to power them. Connecting these to that side fan did virtually nothing. So, I broke out my drill and bored a few holes above the majority of the heatsink and placed those fans there. This did better, but eventually would succumb to an overheat if doing something graphic intensive.

I'm trying to find any method at all in which to properly cool this with such a limited space. I'm not above putting more holes in the case, but I wouldn't exactly want to cut a big hunk out of the top and have a bulbous part sticking out of it. I couldn't really find any means of water cooling that was capable of fitting in such a small space, either. Any of you cooling gurus have any ideas on a challenge such as this?
post #2 of 10
It would be helpful if you posted some pictures of this.
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ask and ye shall receive!

I'm guessing I could enlarge the holes I drilled into the top of the case to allow the fans to push a little more air, perhaps add some directly over the video card fan as well, but I'm really doubting that'll be enough to bring it out of the triple digit temp range. Ideally, I'd like to have a cooling system in place that I could actually cover these holes, 'cause I'm not a big fan (...no, I hate puns) of having the top of a case exposed unless no other options are present.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyntalan View Post
Ask and ye shall receive!

I'm guessing I could enlarge the holes I drilled into the top of the case to allow the fans to push a little more air, perhaps add some directly over the video card fan as well, but I'm really doubting that'll be enough to bring it out of the triple digit temp range. Ideally, I'd like to have a cooling system in place that I could actually cover these holes, 'cause I'm not a big fan (...no, I hate puns) of having the top of a case exposed unless no other options are present.
It looks nice for a small PC.

Having a fan on the side there can dramatically lower temps since it's cooling the VRM's and PCB. Plus, there is more airflow for the heatsink so that will drop temps more too. Blow the dust out with a compressor first of all really well, then you should start modding. Also, do cable management in the case (It is possible in every case. Some just aren't "Cable Managed Ready" so you'd have to grab some of those adhesive tie downs and a bunch of cable ties. Hell, I'd have to post a few pics of my cable management for what it is.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyntalan View Post
Ask and ye shall receive!

I'm guessing I could enlarge the holes I drilled into the top of the case to allow the fans to push a little more air, perhaps add some directly over the video card fan as well, but I'm really doubting that'll be enough to bring it out of the triple digit temp range. Ideally, I'd like to have a cooling system in place that I could actually cover these holes, 'cause I'm not a big fan (...no, I hate puns) of having the top of a case exposed unless no other options are present.
those little holes arent gonna help at all. In this situation i would cut a large enough hole to completely expose the heatsink to the outside of the case. And to boost things add a thin 60mm fan in the freshly opened hole. If that doesnt help then you need to get a better card.

I would suggest this card as a potential replacement.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814133356

More powerful and less power hungry, should run a little cooler since it has a bigger fan on it.

Might i ask for a direct overhead shot of the motherboard so i can see the slot layout?
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrious;14310789 
those little holes arent gonna help at all. In this situation i would cut a large enough hole to completely expose the heatsink to the outside of the case. And to boost things add a thin 60mm fan in the freshly opened hole. If that doesnt help then you need to get a better card.

I would suggest this card as a potential replacement.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133356

More powerful and less power hungry, should run a little cooler since it has a bigger fan on it.

Might i ask for a direct overhead shot of the motherboard so i can see the slot layout?

Mobo shot attached. Note how close the video card is to the top of the case. I don't know what Acer was thinking here.

I had figured the holes were a bit small, but I'm a little concerned with too big of a hole if I can help it. Would expanding the holes to the diameter of the two fans be that dramatically better?

I had this card around from another slimline setup (nowhere near this small though), so I figured I'd use it here. I did notice PassMark ranks the GT430 you showed considerably lower than the 9600GT, though. Is PassMark not a good judge on this?
post #7 of 10
I dont think that many holes will do it. can u feel the air been pulled through on pic..number 4

... I know u dont want to ... but. It could look very professional if you take ur time..

Do you have a dremmel. cut a hole the size of the gpus intake and put a fan gril over it.?

Otherwise, chain drill the circle and then file it in to a circle. (you wont need any addition fans. but, glue some mesh on the inside of the case to stop the dust.)


Happy modding!
Edited by andrewmchugh - 7/22/11 at 6:28pm
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post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyntalan View Post
Mobo shot attached. Note how close the video card is to the top of the case. I don't know what Acer was thinking here.

I had figured the holes were a bit small, but I'm a little concerned with too big of a hole if I can help it. Would expanding the holes to the diameter of the two fans be that dramatically better?

I had this card around from another slimline setup (nowhere near this small though), so I figured I'd use it here. I did notice PassMark ranks the GT430 you showed considerably lower than the 9600GT, though. Is PassMark not a good judge on this?
Expanding the holes to the fan size or installing a 60mm fan + fan grille over it would be significantly better.

The reason the 430 does bad on benchmarks is because it has a castrated texture unit when compared to the GT440 (GT430 has 8 texture units active and runs at 700/1400/900, the GT440 has 28 and runs at 810/1620/900 (If GDDR3 version)). I have a 430 and it is on par with the GT240 in most cases, which in turn outright slaughters the 9600GT. There is also the whole power saving thing going for it so when the card isnt doing anything major, instead of leaving the core at 100% core clock all the time it backs down to as low as 50/100/135, which in turn results in a considerable drop in temperature and power consumption (in 2D idle it consumes only 8W, it would most likely idle at room temperature in an optimal environment).

So, tl;dr make the fan holes bigger or get a bigger fan, the GT430 has castrated texture units but is still on par with a GT240, if all else fails get a 430.


I got a question though: is this an HTPC or a cheapo gaming computer?
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewmchugh;14312738 
I dont think that many holes will do it. can u feel the air been pulled through on pic..number 4

... I know u dont want to ... but. It could look very professional if you take ur time..

Do you have a dremmel. cut a hole the size of the gpus intake and put a fan gril over it.?

Otherwise, chain drill the circle and then file it in to a circle. (you wont need any addition fans. but, glue some mesh on the inside of the case to stop the dust.)


Happy modding!

It does pull air through, but the fans, being as small as they are, aren't that powerful (3 CFM), but I figured it would be better than nothing. Perhaps a secondary hole the size of the GPU fan then? That was actually my first plan, as you can see by the starter hole, which is right above the GPU fan.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyrious;14313566 
Expanding the holes to the fan size or installing a 60mm fan + fan grille over it would be significantly better.

The reason the 430 does bad on benchmarks is because it has a castrated texture unit when compared to the GT440 (GT430 has 8 texture units active and runs at 700/1400/900, the GT440 has 28 and runs at 810/1620/900 (If GDDR3 version)). I have a 430 and it is on par with the GT240 in most cases, which in turn outright slaughters the 9600GT. There is also the whole power saving thing going for it so when the card isnt doing anything major, instead of leaving the core at 100% core clock all the time it backs down to as low as 50/100/135, which in turn results in a considerable drop in temperature and power consumption (in 2D idle it consumes only 8W, it would most likely idle at room temperature in an optimal environment).

So, tl;dr make the fan holes bigger or get a bigger fan, the GT430 has castrated texture units but is still on par with a GT240, if all else fails get a 430.


I got a question though: is this an HTPC or a cheapo gaming computer?

Cheapo gaming computer, specifically City of Heroes and a few other lesser titles. The G100 that was in it was the bottleneck, though, by far. I bummed it off my friend who got this as a temp holdover on the cheap until he built his new rig.
Edited by Cyntalan - 7/22/11 at 8:40pm
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyntalan View Post
It does pull air through, but the fans, being as small as they are, aren't that powerful (3 CFM), but I figured it would be better than nothing. Perhaps a secondary hole the size of the GPU fan then? That was actually my first plan, as you can see by the starter hole, which is right above the GPU fan.


Cheapo gaming computer, specifically City of Heroes and a few other lesser titles. The G100 that was in it was the bottleneck, though, by far. I bummed it off my friend who got this as a temp holdover on the cheap until he built his new rig.
have you ever thought of getting a better case? I know of a really nifty rosewill case that has slots for 2x 120mm fans and can in a pinch hold the bigger heatsinks out there. A mugen II under the right circumstances can fit inside of it. Check it out.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811147111

same thing different front panel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811147112

since your board is a bastardized microATX board, it should fit. scrounge up a spare 120mm fan and drop it in the front for good crossflow through the case.
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