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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
New to the forum, I just registered cause I need some advice.
I've stumbled upon a few threads discussing this already but I've seen a few contradictions and I can't seem to make up my mind:

I recently built a new gaming rig (see specs there: http://www.overclock.net/lists/display/view/id/6093640) and want to add a few fans/replace the stock fans.
I ordered 2 Be Quiet! SilentWings2 140mm PWM fans that I plan to hook up on my motherboard's 4pins headers, as well as 3 Be Quiet! SilentWings2 140mm non-PWM fans.

My thought was using both PWM fans as intakes (one on the side-panel and the other at the bottom of the case), two non-PWM fans as intakes (both front) and the last non-PWM fan as rear exhaust so that I could control them with the case's integrated fan controller and the PWMs would only speed up while gaming to bring cool air to the GPU.

How do you guys think that it would perform best with all these fans? (I've seen in unboxing videos that the Be Quiet fans' bundle includes Molex to 3pins adapters (5-7-12v I think) so I could use the case's stock fans as top intakes/exhausts but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do this? e.g front top as intake to supply the CPU cooler with cool air? both mounts as intake? rear top as exhaust?

I've read various things about this and I'm a bit confused so I'd be glad if anyone who's experienced with this case with 5 or 7 fans could shed some light
smile.gif


If you need more informations about anything, just ask and I'll reply asap.

Thanks in advance.
 

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You could go with a high positive pressure setup. Put the 3 non-PWM on the built in fan speed controller. 2 Front Intake and 1 Rear exhaust.

Put the two PWM fans in the top as extra Intakes connected to a motherboard header. The idea being that the non-PWM fans take care of your "general airflow" and the PWM fans run very low, picking up speed only when the CPU temps climb, requiring the additional fresh air. They would blow directly onto the CPU cooler.

My two cents any way. I love that case, have done a handful of builds in them.
 

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I tested many fan configurations for my R4 and I ended up with 2 front intakes, 1 bottom intake and 1 rear exhaust. The case was raised by a few centimeters to improve the bottom intake. Both HDD cages were removed, which improved the airflow a lot. In my opinion opening the side or the top isn't worth it. Even a rubber mounted side fan causes vibrations, unless it is running at a low speed all the time. I tested that with a Silent Wings 2 140 mm and a NF-A14. It could also disturb the airflow, but I didn't test that enough. Opening the rear top can help a bit with heat dissipation, but I'd rather keep the dust out and the noise inside.

Use the CPU_FAN header to control your PWM fans and the CHA_FAN headers to voltage regulate the 3-pin fans. Use SpeedFan or ASUS Fan Xpert to control both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your reply!

Since I'll have enough fans (7 in total), I'll use all the fan slots on the case, I just need to figure out how.
(I read about diminishing returns when usingmore than 3 fans and 7 fans might sound like overkill, but I still think 2 extra fans can't hurt unless they disrupt the overall airflow?)

Don't you think it would be better to use the case's stock fans as top intakes (be it on low or high speed) and the PWMs as bottom/side intakes to cool down the GPU?

edit: thanks Villain for this detailed answer.
Yeah I already removed both hdd cages cause I read they impede airflow a lot although I only have one front fan for the moment.

If a side fan isn't that much beneficial cooling-wise and causes vibrations I'll just forget it, I bought hybrid cooling PSU and graphics card cause I'd want my PC to make the least noise possible.

That makes up for a total of 4 fans though (2 front intakes, 1 bottom intake, 1 rear exhaust) so I'll try with one PWM on the side and if my PC is getting loud I'll use it as 2nd front intake in my older PC.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by krapo View Post

Thanks for your reply!

Since I'll have enough fans (7 in total), I'll use all the fan slots on the case, I just need to figure out how.
(I read about diminishing returns when usingmore than 3 fans and 7 fans might sound like overkill, but I still think 2 extra fans can't hurt unless they disrupt the overall airflow?)

Don't you think it would be better to use the case's stock fans as top intakes (be it on low or high speed) and the PWMs as bottom/side intakes to cool down the GPU?

edit: thanks Villain for this detailed answer.
Yeah I already removed both hdd cages cause I read they impede airflow a lot although I only have one front fan for the moment.

If a side fan isn't that much beneficial cooling-wise and causes vibrations I'll just forget it, I bought hybrid cooling PSU and graphics card cause I'd want my PC to make the least noise possible.

That makes up for a total of 4 fans though (2 front intakes, 1 bottom intake, 1 rear exhaust) so I'll try with one PWM on the side and if my PC is getting loud I'll use it as 2nd front intake in my older PC.
Based on my own experiments, the side fan is one of the most important ones. It blows cool air right on the GPU, and pushes the hot exhaust air away from it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

Based on my own experiments, the side fan is one of the most important ones. It blows cool air right on the GPU, and pushes the hot exhaust air away from it.
So you'd recommend using a PWM on the side? I think it wouldn't be a bad thing considering my GPU idles at around 45°c because the fans turn off...
I could live with a few extra decibels under load anyway, I mostly play FPS games with headphones on.
 

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I would do 3 intakes: front/bottom and one exhaust at the back. Also, take off the covers from the top slots so air can flow out due to positive pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
2 front 1 bottom as intakes and 1 rear exhaust seems to be the most common configuration for this case.

I'll do it that way first, checking temps with and without an extra PWM on the side, see how it goes.

I'll also open the top vents because of the positive pressure, I hope it won't get dusty too quickly.

Thanks all for your suggestions, keep em coming!
 

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I've built and helped others build a much of Define case systems.

What several have already said;
2x front intake
1x bottom intake
1x back exhaust
raise case 30mm for better airflow to bottom intakes.
Removing the bottom and back grills improves airflow too.
Often removing PCIe back slot covers helps too.
Links in sig explain case airflow and PWM case fan control.
 

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It's always about balancing noise and performance. A good airflow makes sure your case temp doesn't get too high. There's a point where adding more fans doesn't really lower the case temp much. I went for a quiet build and a side fan wasn't needed to keep my single 970 (previously 980 G1) below 70 °C. A side fan can lower the GPU temp by 1-2 °C under load, since it blows air of room temperature onto the graphics card. But I'm not convinced it helps the overall airflow, which in my situation is focused from the front to the back. My lower front intake and the bottom intake push air towards the front of the graphics cards and the perforated slot covers. From my understanding, a side fan running at anything other than low speeds would push the air coming from these 2 fans back and possibly cause turbulences. My previous 980 G1 exhausted some of the hot air towards the side cover, so it wasn't a good idea to push it back into the cooler. Your best bet is to test both and see if a side fan is worth it with your hardware.

While it sounds like a good idea to reuse the Fractal fans, consider that they can't be rubber mounted and that they are a lot louder than Silent Wings 2 fans. They would definitely stand out, unless you run them at 5-7 V all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys.

Now that you mention it, it doesn't make much sense to blow room temp air on the graphics card if the inside of the case is already cool enough.
I guess that's why some actually use the side fans as exhaust.

Like you said only empiricism will tell what's best "in my case", at least now I know where to start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One last, well a few questions:
Quote:
Originally Posted by villain View Post

Use the CPU_FAN header to control your PWM fans and the CHA_FAN headers to voltage regulate the 3-pin fans. Use SpeedFan or ASUS Fan Xpert to control both.
Is it better to connect the PWM fans to the CPU_FAN header rather than CHA_FAN? What's the difference?
From what I understand, having them connected to CPU_FAN would make them spin at the same speed as the CPU cooler's fans, whereas they would be controlled by the motherboard depending on temps if they were connected to CHA_FAN?

Did you suggest this because it would run quieter/at lower speeds while idling?
Or because it's better to have the 3 non-PWM fans attached to CHA_FAN (and not the fan controller) so I can fine tune their speed?

My motherboard has two 4pins CHA_FAN headers so I assume it would be ok to connect the PWM fans on these headers?
I had a quick look in the manual and they say both CHA_FAN headers are PWM compatible and I just need to enable Q-fan control to enable automatic mode.

I didn't order a cable splitter when I bought the fans ^^
 

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Using the CHA_FAN header is not a problem.

The rational for all being automatically speed controlled dependent on component heat / load is simple. CPU and GPU are automatic control, notebooks / laptops are automatic control, it is only logical to do the same with case fans.
thumb.gif
 

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I agree with villain - I've done a few builds in an R4 and I really like the 2 front intake, 1 bot intake, and 1 rear exhaust config.

Personally my favourite fans to use are Aercool DSs (140mm), Scythe Slip Stream 140s, and also the stock Fractal Design Silent Series R2s - all running at low RPM of course (you will need to add low noise adapters, or run at about 5/6V to get "silence" in the case. All give similar results when you're running at very low RPMs, although I do think the Aerocool edges out a tiny bit due to it's "tone".

This of course changes if your graphics card is an R9 290(x) or a crossfire/SLI build - in which case you might want to run the fans on voltage/pwm control to speed up at higher loads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for your opinion.

I recieved the fans and mounted them, it's been a bit of a pain since I moved my SSDs at the back of the motherboard and had to remove it first but I'm done.

As you guys suggested, 2x front intakes (non-PWM), 1x bottom intake (PWM), 1x rear exhaust (non-PWM).
All three non-PWM fans are connected to the fan controller and run at 5v for the moment (7v is also very quiet, they're noticeable at 12v when the case is open but it'll be fine while gaming when the case will be closed)
The PWM fan is connected to the CHA_FAN1 header, I enabled the "PWM" option in the BIOS and it's running at a very low speed.

Not sure if I made the right choise as to where placing the PWM fan, I thought that maybe there would be too much positive pressure (thus heat) if I used 2 front and 1 bottom (all non-PWM) as intakes and only one PWM fan as exhaust.

I just got rid of my WD Black HDD in the process and replaced it with an SSD, the rig is dead silent.
The only thing I hear is a very light electrical noise. (I only hear it when I actually have my head inside the open case so it's ok lol)

I'll leave the upper mounts closed for now as well as the side and will do some testing this evening with an extra PWM.

Cheers.

edit: I'll add a pic
edit2: my cellphone sucks and doesn't like all black pictures, sorry guys
biggrin.gif
 

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It depends what speed your running the intakes at - if you're switching them up to 12V at full load then there's a massive imbalance towards positive pressure with just a single exhaust fan - at that point you'd benefit more from having a single exhaust running at 100% speed and the intakes at 70% than vice versa imo.

Personally I would probably run the intakes silently at 5/7v and use a PWM in the rear that speeds up to about 70% max as temp gets hotter.

I'm assuming you're not running crossfire 290(x)s as that might actually require you to use more than 50% of the fans' capability
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Damn, then I'd need to move the PWM to the rear
tongue.gif

Can't be bothered doing that right now but I'll definitely try it out, I'll go and play a bit so I know how much better it is already compared to yesterday
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An interesting mod might be making a "standoff" of sorts for the top covers, much like the front of a Phanteks Luxe. Air could move around the cover, but in general it would still be tough for dust to get in while the computer is off. Positive pressure would mean while its on it shouldn't have to be filtered, either.
 
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