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Aircooling conundrum

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#1
Hi forum!

I have been playing around with my fan configuration to try and get the best possible cooling for my pc. However any way I configure the fans the CPU and GPU temps are always higher with the case closed... I have tried quite a few configurations and the current one is the best I have found so far (sorry for the low image quality!).



Its a crappy Dell proprietary BTX case and mobo so flexibility is not high. The 2 x stock dell fans used to be intakes with only the PSU exhausting, however I found that with the CPU exhausting straight over the GPU intake fan it caused it to heat more. So I turned the 2 Dell fans to exhaust and added an extra 80mm fan to blow onto the CPU heatsink, along with 3 more 80mm fans bringing cool air in from the back.

Now the 3 exhaust fans do not spin very fast, the 2 x Dell ones are controlled by the BIOS and speeds aren't user controllable AFAIK. Also the 4 80mm fans are on 100% as they are plugged straight into the PSU. I would love to be able to crank those Dell fans higher as it would surely help but they have 5 pin connectors which cannot plug into any other sockets.

So thats it basically, is there any way I can get this case to actually cool my components or am I stuck with having to keep the side off all the time?

Any input much appreciated thanks!

P.S I do not know the actual CFM of these fans but the 3 x 80mm intakes running at 100% definitely pump in more air than is being exhausted meaning the case has positive air pressure when closed.
 
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Kursah

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#2
You'll see many cases even cheap ones that feature ventilation on the side panel or both panels. That is because for most air cooling solutions you will find better cooling performance. You will not be able to match all that fresh air constantly coming in with a small and choked fan intake.

The 90mm and 120mm dell I think should be intakes though, and the green LED 80's should be exhaust that's how I've always done it and found the best results in other cases.

I'm not sure of your budget, but you can get a pretty cheap mid-tower or smaller that could fit some of that gear and have way better ventilation and room, larger fans, top and rear ventilation with filtered front and bottom intakes. You could always get a holesaw and drill a hole for a large 120mm fan on the side panel if you have access to tools. Or lay masking tape over side panel and trace a 120mm fan hole and screw holes, use drill and hacksaw or similar to cut hole.

If you are serious about sitcking with this case, then I would swam fan directions and consider modding for a side fan if you can make room for it. Even a couple near the bottom blowing over the GPU are and bringing in more fresh cool air.
 
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#3
Thanks for your input Kusah! I did originally buy the 2 green fans and fit them as exhausts, but as the CPU was exhausting straight over the GPU fan it was causing it to run hotter. Also the bottom 90mm fan really needs to extract as otherwise the GPU exhaust heat gets sucked straight up into the CPU. I was also thinking side fans might be the way to go but I don't want to go cutting up the case unless I really have to.

My budget for this project is non existent as its far too old to throw money at! To be honest it runs just fine with temps pretty reasonable even with overclocking, it just bugs me that I cant get it to run cooler with the case closed as I am sure with the right airflow it would drop temps by a few degrees at least. I have seen and heard of people going through much pain and suffering to achieve such results and if I can do it by moving a few fans around then I will be very happy!

As for a possible side fan I was thinking maybe an exhaust at the rear of the GPU might be the way to go as I am sure that is what is causing the heat buildup with the case closed. If only I could get that darned Dell fan to run faster it might be enough....
 

Kursah

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#4
Thanks for your input Kusah! I did originally buy the 2 green fans and fit them as exhausts, but as the CPU was exhausting straight over the GPU fan it was causing it to run hotter. Also the bottom 90mm fan really needs to extract as otherwise the GPU exhaust heat gets sucked straight up into the CPU. I was also thinking side fans might be the way to go but I don't want to go cutting up the case unless I really have to. </quote>

Most GPU's are capable of running hotter than the CPU. And if you have good airflow and ventilation keeping air moving one direction with less resistance everything should be within temp spec.


My budget for this project is non existent as its far too old to throw money at! To be honest it runs just fine with temps pretty reasonable even with overclocking, it just bugs me that I cant get it to run cooler with the case closed as I am sure with the right airflow it would drop temps by a few degrees at least. I have seen and heard of people going through much pain and suffering to achieve such results and if I can do it by moving a few fans around then I will be very happy!
Well there's case airflow, cable management, overall case design. Those Dells are designed more decent low fan speed cooling as a mainstream option for their customers. Folks that buy prebuilt machines don't want to hear air flowing and fans whirring at 9k rpms. Higher flow fans will help though, but the cases design limitations will hinder it overall..hence why I suggest a new case with a new fan scheme that can use 120/140mm fans at the front/bottom for intake and rear and top for cooling. Bottom mounted PSU that has it's own intake (of configured properly from the factory).

You won't be able to match the cooling abilities of the side of that case being off, and same holds true to modern cases that use windowed side panels. With vents or the side off it's a huge intake...and one could theoretically set all other fans to exhaust outwards...but it's totally not necessary.

Other options are as I suggested before, modding your case. If you have room, cut holes for larger 120mm fans, or if not, cut out the vent screen that blocks the fan's airflow some. This will improve airflow and noise a bit too, but you will want some c-channel or auto vacuum/rubber fuel line to cover the edges.

It really just depends on how willing you want to be to achieve your needs. If it's cold outside, route get a length of clothes dryer duct and route to the intake of your case...be sure to block moisture, and not use on a foggy or hi-humidity day obviously.

The better cooling you want, generally the more you will need to spend or the more you will need to do to achieve your desired results and in reality you're best off finding a middle ground of acceptance. Keep the wiring clean and out of the way of airflow, set fans to run as fast as you can accept noise-wise, and enjoy.

As for a possible side fan I was thinking maybe an exhaust at the rear of the GPU might be the way to go as I am sure that is what is causing the heat buildup with the case closed. If only I could get that darned Dell fan to run faster it might be enough....
You might not be able to overclock the dell, at least in BIOS, but check what chipset it's based on and google search. You might be able to squeeze a few hundred MHz or so out of it using a windows utility...there used to be one called SetFSB that would work on laptops and prebuilts. Some guys had modded bioses for some Dells and Gateways to "unlock" OC options...though iirc it was buggy and rare. Tinker with it and have some fun, don't let it frustrate you. Realize the limitations set and you can always save a lot of money and buy cheaper used parts that are up to a few generations old and still build a very viable performing, cool-running, overclockable gaming and multimedia PC.

:toast:

Edit: I should have mentioned this and maybe you already are. But when changing fan and cooler orientations like you have, I recommend getting a base-line. Try to measure "ambient" or room temperature, and then measure your temps in controlled situations. Like idling for 10 minutes after booting into windows, running Prime95 Blend or OCCT PSU tests for 1 hour, etc. THis will help show you the effectiveness of your cooling and whether or not your change made a difference, made things worse or maybe better. :)
 
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#5
If it's cold outside, route get a length of clothes dryer duct and route to the intake of your case...be sure to block moisture, and not use on a foggy or hi-humidity day obviously.
Nice idea I will try to find some and give it a try!

I should have mentioned this and maybe you already are. But when changing fan and cooler orientations like you have, I recommend getting a base-line. Try to measure "ambient" or room temperature, and then measure your temps in controlled situations. Like idling for 10 minutes after booting into windows, running Prime95 Blend or OCCT PSU tests for 1 hour, etc. THis will help show you the effectiveness of your cooling and whether or not your change made a difference, made things worse or maybe better
One step ahead of you there, I have tried many different configurations before I decided to ask here for help!

You might not be able to overclock the dell, at least in BIOS, but check what chipset it's based on and google search. You might be able to squeeze a few hundred MHz or so out of it using a windows utility...there used to be one called SetFSB that would work on laptops and prebuilts.
I am already using setFSB in conjunction with a pin mod to get the CPU running at 3050Mhz, been like it almost 2 years and works like a charm! :D I am going to buy some electrically conductive paint to do another mod which increases the CPU voltage so I can maybe squeeze some more Mhz out of it. I have also OC'd the GPU quite a bit so both run hotter especially the GPU hence me stressing about the cooling now!

Most GPU's are capable of running hotter than the CPU. And if you have good airflow and ventilation keeping air moving one direction with less resistance everything should be within temp spec.
The GPU currently reaches 83c when maxed with furmark while the CPU only reaches 60 with Prime95 so cooling the GPU is my No.1 priority. The original card (HD2700) took cool air in from the front of the case and vented it to the back.



So the original setup had the proper airflow as the GPU would suck in cool air from the 90mm intake fan which then got exhausted to the back of the case and out the PSU. However if you take a look at the upgraded card (HD 5770) it takes cool air from the back of the case and vents hot air towards the front.



What happened then is the hot GPU exhausts got sucked up into the CPU intake and blown back over the CPU and the GPU intake heating them both up!

With this recirculating heat closing the case massively increased the GPU and CPU temps as the CPU and 90mm fan both blew hot air straight back into the GPU intake. Now with the airflow changed from back to front the GPU and CPU both get very cool air blowing onto them. The CPU is exhausting all its heat straight out of the case and the 90mm fan is extracting most of the GPU exhaust heat. When I close the case the GPU only raises 1c but now its the CPU which gets much hotter (still cooler than before I changed the fans) as the exhausted heat from the GPU isn't being properly extracted and gets recirculated in the case.

I am thinking if I can get that 90mm fan to run faster it will solve this problem by properly exhausting the heat from the GPU which I am sure is whats getting trapped and recirculated inside the case.



Here is a diagram of the connectors for these Dell fans. I did some searching and couldn't find out for sure but if I cut the blue wire will it make the CPU fan run at 100%? Is there any other way I can modify this fan to make it run faster? All the information I can find though google is from people wanting to make them to go slower haha!
 
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#6
you should just get a new case that allows for better airflow. bigger fans, and more of them. Along with good cable management that wont restrict the air.
 
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#7
Don't cut the wire just pull it out of the connector that way you can put it back in with no damage if you ever want to put it back to stock. Those usually have decently thick heatsinks does it overheat with the default fan setup as far as intake in the front? I would just have the three 80mm fans doing exhaust in the back, it just makes the most sense.
 
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#8
you should just get a new case that allows for better airflow. bigger fans, and more of them. Along with good cable management that wont restrict the air.
In an ideal world where I have lots of money I would do just that, however I have no funds to put into this project so will have to make do with what I have!

Don't cut the wire just pull it out of the connector that way you can put it back in with no damage if you ever want to put it back to stock.
Thanks shovenose, so you think pulling/cutting the blue wire will definitely increase the fan speed?

Those usually have decently thick heatsinks does it overheat with the default fan setup as far as intake in the front? I would just have the three 80mm fans doing exhaust in the back, it just makes the most sense.
It doesn't overheat but it does run about 10c hotter as it a) exhausts hot air into the case and directly over the GPU intake and b) sucks hot exhaust air up from the GPU blowing it back over the CPU, then onto the GPU again. I tried it with the 3 80mms exhausting from the back this was my original setup as it was the most obvious. Having the air flow from front to back goes against the flow of the GPU and recirculates all the hot air inside the case. Also having the CPU exhausting into the case just circulates more hot air. Now all that 60c heat goes straight out.

P.S I added pictures to my last post to illustrate the difference in the way the 2 cards circulate air.
 
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#9
the truth is dude no matter how much good will, best intentions and elbow grease you put into it you're still trying to polish a turd :(

i hope you don't take offence at that as its not my intention, but the truth isn't always nice you know.

while i don't know where you live i would bet you could go and get a cheap standard case for free (free adds/dumpster diving) and use it to house your current kit and not have the same issues as you are with that failed layout. as that is the root of your issues.

the btx layout was a good idea but it was one which got no support from the other industry players which is a shame.
 
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#10
well you'll need a new mobo and if you're still using stock psu, a new psu, as well as just the case. and a new heatsink of course :p
 
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#11
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#12
the truth is dude no matter how much good will, best intentions and elbow grease you put into it you're still trying to polish a turd :(

i hope you don't take offence at that as its not my intention, but the truth isn't always nice you know.
No offence taken, one mans turd is another mans treasure! I have already dropped the temps massively by changing the airflow from back to front so even if I have to leave it as it is I am happy. :)

while i don't know where you live i would bet you could go and get a cheap standard case for free
I highly doubt I would find a BTX case, they are rare enough as it is nowadays!

well you'll need a new mobo and if you're still using stock psu, a new psu, as well as just the case. and a new heatsink of course :p
If you are offering to donate I will be happy to receive. ;)
 
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#13
You could always mod your side panel for another fan as I suggested earlier. Some more fresh air on that GPU would cool it down. Even if you slapped one of your green led fans there. That or, cut a huge hole, and install some aluminum screen mesh. Airflow galore with a sidepanel. It won't be quiet, but it won't be quite as noisy as with the sidepanel off, but the cooling should be pretty close to between your side panel pre-modded installed and off.

That or you could just leave the side panel off. That is the cheapest solution I am aware of for best cooling in your situation. Surely not the most attractive option, but you know it works well! :toast:

I am curious to see how you end up taking this project, and the results you end up settling with. IMHO 80C on a GPU is NOT HOT. Most are designed to handle 100-120C. 60C on most CPU's is OK, at least newer CPU's. And if that's both under load from a synthetic stress test...then try it with your usual gaming and see...it might be a bit lower anyways negating the need to really chase better cooling. If it's a personal preference then fine, but at those temps, if that's where they're hitting with synthetic tests, I'd say you're fine for everyday use in all honesty.
 
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#14
You could always mod your side panel for another fan as I suggested earlier.
This will be my last resort but it is still a possibility!

I am curious to see how you end up taking this project, and the results you end up settling with.
If my theory is correct getting that bottom 90mm fan to pull more air will help and possibly even solve the issue. I may still need side ventilation after that we will see.

IMHO 80C on a GPU is NOT HOT. Most are designed to handle 100-120C. 60C on most CPU's is OK, at least newer CPU's. And if that's both under load from a synthetic stress test...then try it with your usual gaming and see...it might be a bit lower anyways negating the need to really chase better cooling. If it's a personal preference then fine, but at those temps, if that's where they're hitting with synthetic tests, I'd say you're fine for everyday use in all honesty.
My PC crashes when the GPU reaches about 96c, I believe the max safe temp set by the manufacturer is 100c. The max temps I gave are from both Furmark and Prime95 running small ffts (produces the most heat) for about 15-20 mins until max temps stabilize. I know that during normal usage it will never get this hot however I just like my system to run optimally. :) Cooler = longer lifespan. Also I plan to volt mod the CPU soon so will need as much cooling as possible to get the best overclock.

I am trying to find out what happens if I cut that blue wire but I cant seem to find the info. I know it disables the BIOS from controlling the fan but does it go faster or slower?
 

Kursah

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#15
Well you could always get a molex adapter and run the fan on straight 12v, I am assuming that the Dell 5 pin would take to a 3-pin fan header to molex adapter, 12v would run the fan at maximum speed. If you decide to cut the wire, do so somewhere where you can add a section or patch it easily...removing the pin is usually best but small pins in small connectors can be a pain without the right tools or knowlege.

But knowledge and tools can be sourced via the web fairly easily. It looks like a small paperclip may be enough to push in the pin lock so you can pull the wire and pin out without damage.

The instructions in this link should help:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/guides-how-tos/1906-guide-sleeving-3-pin-fan-56k-warning.html
 
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#16
I'm not sure these plugs have the same pins as the ones in the link you provided however I proceeded to cut the blue wire and sure enough fans are on 100%! They sound like a jet engine but I have headphones on while I am gaming and if I touch the loose wire to the case it throttles it down to normal speed again with zero noise. :D

Temps are still higher with case closed but only by 1c, they jumped a lot higher before. Overall temps are way down, both by 5-10c. CPU is min 31c max 57c which leaves me heaps of headroom for my upcoming voltage mod. Also GPU reached 83c with maximum overclock, CPU at full temp and case closed. In fact the CPU temp has no effect on the graphics card at all now due to the fact that it no longer exhausts straight into the case and over the GPU.

I have taken the 2 x green fans and placed them in a bracket underneath the GPU blowing up onto it. This reduced the GPU temp by a further 2c whilst not effecting the CPU temps. Short of building a shroud for the GPU which I have no intention of doing, I dont see any way of stopping the ambient temperature of the card from heating up the case except maybe a side fan but I will leave that for another day.

Thanks to those who took the time to try and help!
 
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#17
I had, still have a XPS-410 with core dual in it and 7900GTX , what I found helped with Dell BTX type case is keep the main CPU cooler fan/vents clean, I find they pick up dust pretty fast . I added a 92mm with 80mounting hole fan on back grating and removed the lower PCI slot covers .
Those two things lowered GPU temps 10c and CPU only few c but my CPU were always very good as it was only a 2.1ghz .(if memory is right it never broke 50c with prime95 ).

Oh, for me setFSB did alow OC , I think my bus was ok to 315 or something but big issue I had that it got slower in some games. If pure CPU tests it did improve a lot but some games it did not, ones mainly GPU bottleneck were the ones OC didn't help . I think its something with timings between memory and CPU but as its Dell you never know .
 
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#18
Yes I recently gave mine a good clean and by god was it full of dust!
The pin mod I used for my Q6600 actually clocks the CPU from 2.4 to 3Ghz and then I use setFSB to push it up that extra 50Mhz. Any more and it just isn't stable which is why I am going to give it more voltage.
They are definitely a pain to overclock but on the bright side you can grab them pretty cheap if you want something to upgrade into a gaming machine. I paid £300 for mine 2 years ago with monitor + surround sound then added a HD5770, decent 500W PSU (the Dell ones suck), 1TB HDD and an extra 4GB RAM. Still runs the latest games on ultra or high settings with zero lag. :)
 
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#19
They are solid systems IMO, don't know how they are today .

Big issue is with any kind of upgrade can be pain because everything is Dell OEM and not much can be upgraded .
 

brandonwh64

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#20
To be honest your best "mod" here for temps would be just to buy a small box fan from the supermarket and taking your side panel off sticking that next to it..

its like 15$ and proved to work well in a bind.
 
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#21
They are solid systems IMO, don't know how they are today .

Big issue is with any kind of upgrade can be pain because everything is Dell OEM and not much can be upgraded .
Indeed you can't modify BIOS, CPU heatsink is not changeable, can't adjust case fan speed or RAM timings and the PSU's are weak. Other than that they are pretty decent.

To be honest your best "mod" here for temps would be just to buy a small box fan from the supermarket and taking your side panel off sticking that next to it..

its like 15$ and proved to work well in a bind.
Not a bad idea.