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Thermal Zones are usually a joke - AKA Pursuit of the Perfect Case

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Disclaimer: The below ideas ignore hot, high speed HDDs and extreme systems. I may not ever have dual video cards, much less three or four.

My case expectations keep getting worse by the day. I only expect to build a silent/gaming/high airflow/classy looking/cat proof/folding/water cooled/Overclocked beast. That's not asking too much is it? Contradictory design elements can joint hands and frolic in the fields, right?

Let's see - the PSU finally got it right. It's a self contained system with air entering the bottom of the case and going out the back. Its heat and air does not compromise the rest of the system. So that's what the rest of computer needs. It seems that most mfg's have a case with "thermal zones" which don't make sense. Just look at the zones in an 800D... bleh! Also, current zone schemes don't benefit air-cooled GPUs and CPUs that much. "Oh wow, the thermal zones have my HDDs in a separate area." That's not a big benefit for most of us.

Three areas need to be isolated:
  • PSU - Done (through bottom PSU mounted cases)
  • CPU and GPU - Would require H2O cooling and a separate chamber for the rads.
  • HDDs and Mobo - Would only require a little airflow when not exposed to CPU and GPU heat.

PSU airflow has worked beautifully for a while now. Air enters the bottom of the case and just goes out the back. That said, it is the easiest component to give its own thermal zone.

The GPUs and CPUs need their own separate self contained thermal zone. Since the GPUs and CPUs are staying attached to the mobo, this would require H20 to relocate the heat to a radiator in a separate chamber. The prevalence of self-contained closed-loop systems could make this a reality for those who don't want to tackle standard water cooling (hose length permitting). I envision a case with a separate bottom or top radiator chamber that is practically sealed from the mobo section. This section could hold one or two rads depending on need. Airflow would require fan(s) on at least 2 of the outward facing panels to have both inlet and outlet.

The mobo and HDDs could use regular case ventilation and be in their own heat zone. A single 120 for intake and another for exhaust would suffice for many. If this were done in a case such as the Lian-Li PC-A71F, it would result in two intake fans, one exhaust, and the benefit of positive pressure. Although, any case with enough room for a radiator zone would probably have enough room elsewhere for 2 intake fans for the main chamber.

Here is a basic example.

335

The rads and fans for the top chamber are not quite worked out. They would have to handle a CPU and at least one GPU.

That being said, this case gives me many of the features I desire:
  • Three distinct thermal zones
  • Positive pressure in the main chamber
  • A somewhat quite case - notice the front door and lack of side fans
  • Cooling capacity
  • No outward lights making me fear an alien abduction at 3AM
  • Case size no larger than a Cosmos 1000
  • Cat proof switches - (covered or relocated from the top). Mfgs keep torturing me by putting switches and ports on top of cases.
  • Cat perch - I know she's getting up there anyway.

Unfortunately, an EATX case is probably the smallest size that could be used.

Speaking of noise and cats - I wouldn't want 2 or 3 fans exposed on the top of the case. The complicated ideas are to use louvers such as on the Cosmos 1000, or a long narrow hood scoop such as on the Carol Shelby case. Since I have no idea how to make those, a large aluminum plate spaced an inch over the case would both protect the fans and keep the cat off them. Aluminum is easy to cut with a jigsaw and file by hand.

Opinions?
Suggestions?


Edit - Oh my. I do like the Silverstone TJ10. The GPU and HDD cooling solutions are great. I might just be lazy and get one of these. It could have the top two fans as intake, the rear exhaust mounted with 120 Rad for the CPU and the standard 120 mid fan intake. That would give a positive pressure case and somewhat separate the GPU and CPU heat from the mobo. hmmm
Edited by 4estGimp - 1/16/12 at 2:20am
Mongo
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Mongo
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post #2 of 4
You're over complicating things.

Lian Li makes by far the best thermally speaking and quality speaking cases.

This days I'm talking a lot about the PC-A05NB. Why? Because it's cheap, very well designed, and small. And it uses a rather complicated design that IMHO works wonders.


Look at it:

471


Air enters from the rear, blowing right into the MOSFET area of the motherboard. Props to Lian Li for thinking about the MOSFETs. Then you have at the front the PSU and the HDD/ODD cages. There's another fan in front of the ODD cages, so air is tunneled all across the motherboard and into the hard drives. This makes a pretty nice and effcient thermal design, without worrying of your board frying, or your HDDs getting too hot.

The PSU sucks its own air and then blows through the frontal faceplate. Not a big deal here, there's quite a nice gap in there, so the PSU breathes rather free.

And there's enough clearance on the top to mount a 360 radiator with three fans in push, and still have room to fit a mATX board and the GPU you desire. Even a HD6990.


Did I mention it comes with dust filters?


Look at it from another perspective:

600


And man, it is WIDE. It is 210mm wide. About 3cm wider than most mid tower chassis.
   
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AGP bencher
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post #3 of 4
21 cm wide is pretty common really...
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post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by B!0HaZard View Post

21 cm wide is pretty common really...

Not for a case of that size though.
   
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AGP bencher
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