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Documenting My Changes to Arc Midi R2 to Improve Air Flow

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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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So after browsing this section of the world and getting a lot of ideas for quieting my Arc Midi R2 (thanks doyll) I am documenting my changes to the world.


Original configuration
Fan Orientation
-2 Stock FD SS2 as intake on front intake (on case fan controller)
-1 Stock FD SS2 as intake on rear top (on case fan controller)
-1 Cooler Master Silent 120mm R2-S2S as intake in middle
-1 Seidon 120XL as rear exhaust
-1 Cooler Master Silent 120mm R2-S2S as intake on bottom floor
-Middle drive cage removed
-Lower drive cage houses 1 SSD and 1 2.5" SSHD

Rationale - Positive, positive, and more positive air pressure; Top rear intake cooled VRMs
Problem - loud, with one of the fans making warble noises once in a while

Change 1
-Flip top rear intake to exhaust
-Remove top middle intake fan

Rationale - Get rid of waste heat quicker and one less fan less noise
Result - VRMs got hotter

Change 2 after reading many posts from doyll helping others
-Move top rear to top middle intake
-Remove PCIe slot covers

Rationale - keep AIO cooler fed with direct cold air
Result - CPU temperatures dropped by 2 degrees from original configuration; CPU cooler running at lower RPMs and thus being quieter, VRMs dropped 15 degrees from Original and 10 degrees from Change 1; wasn't expecting VRM temps to drop BONUS!

Change 3
-Install Noctua NF-P14 Redux 1200 PWM (amazon open box for $15) to replace FD SS2 and connect to CPU Fan header via PWM splitter
-Install Noctua NF-P14 Redux 1200 PWM to replace CM Silent 120mm and connect to motherboard Chassis PWM control

Rationale - stronger static pressure fans to get more airflow when needed along with PWM control to quiet down the fans at low usage
Results - Completed and CPU/GPU fan speeds dropped by 300/500 RPM respectively

Change 4
-Icy Dock Flex Fit Trio MB343SP to move the two drives to upper 5.25" drive cage while still utilizing 3.5" USB card reader
-Remove lower drive cage
-Raise up the case by at least 2 inches

Rationale - Removal of lower drive cage will open up airflow for front mounted fans to push air through to the back without restriction; raising the case with my hand allowed the bottom intake fan to really breathe and the airflow was night and day
Results - I have to retest as AMD Radeon Crimson drivers have a bug that sets my GPU fan to manual; It did however clean up the case.

Change 5
-moddiy.com 4 pin GPU PWM fan splitter to allow floor intake fan to be controlled by GPU PWM
-snip case grill guards over top middle intake, bottom floor intake, and rear exhaust

Rationale - GPU PWM Splitter will allow the bottom intake fan to follow GPU temps automatically; reduce restrictions on intake and exhaust for more airflow and less static pressure
Results - After updating to new Crimson drivers the OCCT PSU test did not have the GPU fan go higher than 50%! CPU maxed out at 68 degrees this morning since the ambient temps were a good 8 degrees cooler (I don't have the heat come on till 8AM). During evening tests (when the house is warmer) the CPU cooler bounces off max fan speeds of 2200 RPM. GPU is now not the noise maker.

Change 6
-Swap Noctua fans to front with the FD SS2 fans

Rationale - With the fan grills removed on the intake the FD SS2 fans should be able to flow more air; I want to see if having the Noctuas in the front get more front to back intake to get better flow in that direction
Results - TBD

Real thanks to the community and especially doyll as his repeated suggestions to others and myself have really worked. I used OCCT Power Supply test to compare my numbers against. I wish I had some records of the tests from the original configuration but memory will have to serve me. The initial progress that I have made with some of the first few changes has made me a believer and has changed my fundamental approach to case cooling. The icy dock really gives me the flexibility to get rid of the drive cages all for $10. I know I can mount them on the back but I didn't want to remove my motherboard and I was also worried about the socket temps affecting the drives back there. I am really appreciating the Arc Midi R2 more than ever. I thought I was going to regret not having bought an R4 at the time but the price won me out (Newegg sale $69). Although the Arc Midi R2 will never be as silent , the small changes to get purposeful airflow to quiet the two big noise makers, CPU/GPU coolers, make a world of difference.

Here is a pic of the Icy Dock Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-23-2015, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Just added the Noctua's (Change 3). It appears the Saberkitty 2.0 can't push 3 fans on PWM, the Seidon fans would not start. So I put the top fan on the motherboard CHASSIS 1. Set it to Turbo fan profile to get max speed when temps are up. Low speeds were around 800 RPM and quiet. The bottom fan I plugged into CHASSIS 3 Fan header all PWM controlled while I wait for GPU PWM splitter from moddiy. I re-TIMMED the GPU cooler as well. Those few changes have allowed the CPU and GPU coolers to run much slower then before and much quieter. Still loud at these high speeds but no where near the screaming they used to do.

Running the PSU test on OCCT that stresses CPU and GPU. Full fan speed on Seidon 120XL is 2200 RPM (now 1700 RPM) which has been typical at full stress. The Dual X cooled 7950 has always wailed at 2500 RPM (now 1480 RPM).

I can't wait till I get rid of the lower hard drive cage and put the case up on blocks.

Screenshot below while it is still running Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 01:06 AM
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Congrats! Looks like you're making some great progress. It's great when great airflow lowers temps. And noise.

Want to see what your case looks like when you put it up on blocks. In my neighbourhood there's a few who put their old pickups up on blocks. Prolly doyll's redneck cooling relatives. tongue.gif
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Lol...I grew up in Philly so I have seen plenty of "blocks". To this day I still buy wheel locks for my cars even though I live in the 'burbs. You can always leave the 'hood but the 'hood doesn't leave you I guess.

Simple changes to a very standard PC makes such a big difference that I am still amazed. Noise was the whole reason I had an easy time abandoning crossfire. The whole concept of keeping air from mixing as much as possible was such a revelation that I am still amazed. Only spent $40 on two fans, drive bay adapter and a GPU splitter. Cheap and efficient. Glory for a cheap ass!

I will now be proud to give this machine to my daughter as her main machine for Photoshop. She has been using a Core2Duo laptop that gets so loud I can hear it from across the house. So I knew I couldn't give her something that was just as loud.

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 06:32 AM
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Glad I was able to help out. biggrin.gif

It really is amazing how much optimizing case airflow to keep heated exhaust from contaminating cool intake air lowers temps and noise levels. Once we do it the concept seems like a no-brainer, yet most users only think of how many and how powerful their fans need be to get better cooling. The reality is it's not so much the power of the fans. It is the currents / pathways the air flows through the case that is important. Fan power only needs to be a little more than maximum used by components. Using too powerful a fan can be as detrimental as using too weak a fan. wink.gif

Phanteks Owners Club Ways to Better Cooling
i7 980 @ 3.55GHz =PH-TC14PE w/2x TY-143 fans =Crucial Ballistix 3x4GB =GA-X58A-UD5 =ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II =Enermax Modu84+ =Define R2 w/3x TY-140 case intake fans; all PWM controlled by CPU fan socketPhanteks Enthoo Primo MoBo Rampage III Extreme CPUi7 980X
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Change 4 Partial Icy Dock installed, removed lower drive cage and raised case up by 2".

Results - Preliminary testing was hampered because OCCT would not initially load after Win 10 update and or AMD Crimson Driver update. OCCT PSU test would just not load. I uninstalled the last updated and then OCCT finally loaded but running the PSU test it would freeze after a few seconds into test. I was running for work so I just fired up IBT and ran that at Maximum with Xtreme Stress Mode checked allowing it to run 10 times. I had HWINFO64 running but the stress test did not allow for timely updates in real time. It was a cold morning so the office was at 21 degrees Celsius, normally I do my tests in the evening where the office is at about 24-26 degrees celsius. I haven't use IBT since I started making changes as the OCCT PSU test has been what I used to measure both CPU and GPU simultaneous heat.

On IBT, for the 5 minutes that I saw, HWINFO was not updating after 5 min while IBT was crushing the CPU. However, I watched, heard and felt something that I never saw coming. Usually IBT runs AIO cooler hits full speed and pumps out hot air. This time AIO was getting to full speed but never got there. Why? Well the Noctua's started ramping up its speed as I can hear them. All of the sudden the AIO started to get quieter and quieter. That has never happened before. I was totally amazed. This morning's cold air and the Noctua's airflow cooled the AIO that it never ran at full speed. The last voltages on the CPU were at 1.5v while 6 cores were at 4.9 Ghz and the other two at 4.5GHz as reported by HWINFO before it stopped updating (I use Turbo overclocking). I can't wait to test some more.

When I get home I have to figure out why OCCT won't load as that will graph the entire run.

I am definitely going to add a Change 5, which is to cut out all case stamped grills for more flow and replace front foam filters with magnetic nylon silverstones. Doyll is my idol!

The insides of the case look so clean now with all the drive cages gone. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 09:33 AM
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Raise your case up on some blocks. The stock fee are at best about half as tall as needed for even reasonable airflow to bottom vents.

Phanteks Owners Club Ways to Better Cooling
i7 980 @ 3.55GHz =PH-TC14PE w/2x TY-143 fans =Crucial Ballistix 3x4GB =GA-X58A-UD5 =ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II =Enermax Modu84+ =Define R2 w/3x TY-140 case intake fans; all PWM controlled by CPU fan socketPhanteks Enthoo Primo MoBo Rampage III Extreme CPUi7 980X
@ 4.0GHz =R1 Ultimate w/2x TY-143 fans =Dominator GT 6x2GB =Rampage III Extreme =ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II =TX850 =Enthoo Primo w/ custom castor base
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Update to post 6. Finally got home and saw the max temps. It did eventually get to 62 degrees and fan speed maxed out at 1692 RPM, which is 500 RPM lower than it before I started the process. At this voltage I have never had that result. It usually goes up to 69-71 degrees with the cooler running at 2200 RPM.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally got OCCT to run again and it wasn't the Windows 10 update but it was the AMD Crimson drivers sensitivity to overclocking the GPU. I dropped GPU overclock to 1025Ghz and it finally stopped crashing. I am currently running 1 hour automatic PSU burn test and two things jump out. GPU fan speed goes from 1700 RPM to only 1800!!! Putting the case up on blocks and clearing out the lower drive cage is keeping the GPU fan quiet. CPU fan is the only thing I hear. CPU is not going above 70 degrees but AIO cooler is cycling between 1800 to 2200 RPM to keep it there. I took off the front panel and now the cooler is able to maintain 1760 RPM without ramping and CPU temperature dropped 2 degrees. Goes to show how restrictive these filters are. This is still a vast improvement over 2200 RPM the whole time and 2500 RPM GPU fans the whole time.

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-25-2015, 04:30 PM
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It looks like you are pretty close to the limits of your cooling. Also, do you know that vcore-1 is your VRMs and that you are just about at their limit? Mine was stable at 80C but destabilized at 82C.

One other thing. You are running the wrong version of IBT. Go here and get the version of IBT AVX in the first post. https://www.overclock.net/t/1318995/official-fx-8320-fx-8350-vishera-owners-club

Overall you are doing great!

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