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The PC Air Cooling Club

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#1
Hello,
I wanted to create a thread were users can discuss and recommend the best:
-CPU Air Cooling Heat Sink(s), GPU Air Cooling Heat Sinks, Vreg or Mosfet Air Cooling Heat Sinks, etc
-Fans
-Mounting Techniques
-Cost
which are shared among users. Not all what to water cool their PCs nor do they want to spend countless hours trying to google reviews on what heatsink and fan combo to buy. There are some who:
A. Want the best HSF combo regardless of noise (to a degree of couse!)
B. Want the best HSF combo that offers the least amount of noise
C. The best HS that doesn't necessarily need a fan. However, can benefit from good case fans.
D. What ever hasn't been said in A, B or C :p

I'll start off with one particular review that uses a up to 125W heat load for AMD and 150W heat load for Intel based results using several heatsinks you should already know about. The results are found here.




CPU HEATSINKS
Also, I wanted to provide you a few pics of some heat sinks commonly used and or popular:


Thermalright Archon




Thermalright VenomousX
Owners
overclocking101





Noctua NH-U12P
Owners
Duffman
hayder.master





Ultra 120 Extreme
Owners:
exodusprime1337
DjJakl
Weer
Yukikaze
craigwhiteside



Ultra 120
Owners
King Wookie
G-wiz






Thor's Hammer S126384
Owners
sneekypeet






Xigmatek Dark Knight
Owners
ShadowFold S1284EE (not the Dark Knight)
sneekypeet
frankie827






Xigmatek Achilles S1284S
Owners
randomflip
Psychoholic Xigmatek Red Scorpion W/ Socket 1366 crossbow kit.
sneekypeet







Xigmatek HDT-S1283 (also showing the underside)
Owners:
Kursah
DonInKansas
MRCL
kyle2020
p_o_s_pc
sneekypeet






True Black
Owners
Lordbollo True 120 (IE Regular one, not in Black)
Arctucas True 120 (IE:Regular one, not in Black)
warup89 (IE:Regular one, not in Black)





True Copper








ZeroTherm FZ120 (also showing the underside)







CoolMaster V8 (hmm, I wonder how well this works without a fan??)
Owners
Castiel
_jM
mep916


and many others...



LARGE CPU HEATSINKS
The few HS's I found that appear to work without the fan can be found below. I am sure there are plenty other HS's (Heat Sinks) out there that can be used without a fan. However, it's better to research their performs 1st before buying. Either through this thread (hopefully users will tell of their experience with such HS's) or through some sort of review.


Thermalright Silver Arrow (replaces Thermalright IFX-14)



Prolimatech megahalems Rev. B
Owners
Krony




Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme






Artic Cooling Freezer Xtreme
Owners
3dsage
erixx




Sunbeam Tuniq Tower






Coolmaster Hyper Z600
Owners
mlee49 (watercooling now)








Zalman CNPS9700
Owners
TRIPTEX_MTL



and many others...




MOUNTING HARDWARE AND BACKPLATES
However, before you install a HSF combo it's typically a good idea to use some sort of backplate. From what I've learned, a good backplate should prevent the motherboard from bowing when you are trying to obtain the best contact between the IHS of the CPU and HS.
Below are a few back plates (there are others).
LGA 775RM
LGA775 Bolt thru Kit
LGA1366 Bolt thru kit
AM2 Bolt Thru Kit
LGA 1155 is compatible with LGA 1156
LGA 1366, etc


Xigmatek Crossbow ACK-17753 for the LGA775:HDT-D1264, HDT-D1284, Achilles S1284, HDT-SD964

Xigmatek Crossbow ACK-17751 for the LGA775: HDT-S963, HDT-S1283, RED SCORPION-S1283

Xigmatek Crossbow ACK-17754 for AMD CPU and original clip with one hole

and many others...

Now these kits do come with mounting hardware. However depending on what HS you use you may or may not need to use the mounting hardware. Furthermore, depending on what HS you buy they may come with their own backplate/mounting hardware. Check what accessories come with your HS before you buy.





LGA 1155 MOUNTING HARDWARE
Remeber, 1155 is directly compatible with 1156 so you don't need another mounting hardware kit if you are currently using 1156. It is possible to get LGA 775 working with a 1156 however, it takes some modifying. And, you still have to buy a 1156 mounting hardware kit. This is only useful when you have a mounting "Top" bracket that will work well with whatever HS/waterblock you still want to use. For those occasions where you want to keep an existing cooling solution. In any case below are some 1155 compatible mounting hardware kits:

Thermalright



Noctua



Xigmatek






GPU HEATSINKS
This area of PC cooling can be a little tricky. With GPU cooling, you have to also maintain active cooling with the ram ICs, mosfets and/or vregs. When choosing a after market GPU cooler you also have to research if it comes with the necessary hardware to cool those items. Furthermore, there are so many different vga card configurations you have to make absolutely sure that the GPU cooler and hardware is specifically designed for your video card. Once this has been determined you then may need to seek out website reviews to determine what kind of performance is possible over OEM HSF designs before making your purchase.

Let's not kid ourselves, OEM HSF vga coolers are very good. Furthermore, they do allow fan speed control via drivers which may/may not be the case if you go with after market cooling. In some cases all that an OEM HSF needs is a quick lap (sanding down) of the OEM HS to remove any imperfections and/or drill marks and re-apply thermal compound. So, in cases like this an after market cooler may not bee needed. You have to weigh your options carefully when going with a after market vga cooler. And, it is imperative that you have proper PC Case Cooling. As most after market vga cooling solutions don't ventilate heat out of the case. Not only that, but you want to make sure there is some sort of active cooling with mosfets/vregs and ram IC's of your video card. So good air circulation in your PC is a most.

However, having read this and you are still interested in after market vga cooling you do have a few options:


Artic Cooling Accelero S2 (2 heatpipe design)





Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 Rev 2 (4 heatpipe design). Not sure why this isn't the S2.






Thermalright V2





Thermalright HR 03 RevA





Scythe Musashi
Owners
King Wookie




Thermaltake DUOrb





Auras Fridge





Xigmatek Axe VD964





120mm FANS
The last aspect one could consider is a fan. Although some HS's come with a fan others don't. So that leaves some of us wondering what to buy and, what should one pay for a good fan. That's a tough choice to make because fans are more of a personal opinion then another other component when it involves cooling your CPU. Some like a moderately silent fan, others like a fan that's pushes a lot of CFM but have a case that can muffle the noise. While others want the a fan that silent even if heat is increased because of it. There are possibly many other scenarios that can can be added here. Hopefully the users here at TPU will help address those concerns on a individual bases (which is why I created this thread). However, there a few popular fans out there that can be considered.

Scythe S Flex SFF21F
1600 RPM
63.7CFM
28.0dBA

Scythe SlipStream SY1225SLH
1,600 rpm
88.11CFM
33.00 dBA

Yate Loom D12M12
1650 RPM (+/-)
CFM 70.5
dBA 33

XiqmaTek XLF-F1253
1500 RPM
61 CFM
<20 dBA

Blacknoise Noiseblocker Multiframe S-Series
M12-S3 73 CFM
1800 RPM
73 CFM
27 dBA

1500 rpm ± 10% (max)
57,91 CFM
21.2 dB

and many others...

Fan review(s)
A good review of fans found here.

Mudducktor's Review Noctua NF-P12 vs Scythe SY1225SL12M vs YL D12SM vs Scythe SFF21F vs Zalman ZM-F3 vs Panaflo L1BX vs Panaflow M1BX vs Delta EFB1212LE vs Sunon KD1212PMB1.
Mudducktor's
Subjective noise test: Noctua NF-P12 vs Scythe SY1225SL12M vs
YL D12SM vs Scythe SFF21F vs Zalman ZM-F3 vs Panaflo L1BX vs Panaflow M1BX vs Delta EFB1212LE vs Sunon KD1212PMB1
.

VaporsReview: San Ace 1011 vs Comair Rotron MC1287 vs Panaflo U1A vs Sunon 38mm vs Sunon 25MM
Vapors Review: Yate Loon SL vs Thermaltake Silent vd Scythe Infinty vs Thermaltake BT vs Lian Li, vs Noctua 1200 vs Silverstone FN121 vs Akasa Amber

Vapor's Review: Scythe S-Flex E vs Scythe Slip Stream M vs Yate Loon D12SL-12 vs FNoctua P12 vs Noctua P12 vs San Ace 109R1212H1011

Vapor's Review: Delta WFB1212HE vs Scythe Ultra Kaze 3000 vs Panaflo U1C vs Sanyo Denki San Ace 109R1212H1011
Vapor's Fan Filter Airflow Comparison: AeroCool Turbine vs Noctua P12 vs Yate Loon D12SL-12 vs Slip Stream M vs S-Flex G vs Panaflo U1C

Vapor's Review: True vs S1283 vs IFX-14



VGA MOSFETS/VREG & RAM HS
Whenever you decide to use a after market cooler for your VGA card you must also take into consideration cooling your mosfets/vregs and ram as well (and anything else not mention that is pertains to your vga card). There are different heat conductive tapes available that may/may not improve of thermal transfer of heat. But for all intent and purposes what comes with the ramsinks should be enough to do the job effectively. However, please make sure you actively cool your ram, mosfets/vregs.

Scythe svch1000 vga heatsinks
Thermalright 3870/3850/8800gt heatsinks (I assume they come in different designs)
Zalman ramsinks
Zalman 4850 mosfet HS (active cooling maybe required)
Zalman 4870 mosfet heatsink (please actively cool this)
Iandhs 4870 mosfet heatsinks (again it's a good idea to keep this area of your vga card cool)
Thermalright 9800 ramsinks



PC CASE VENTILATION
Now that you've invested in cooling your hardware why are you not getting lower temps? Well, in all intent and purposes, the reasoning behind why can vary and may not be answered in this post. However, we can discuss a few points that should effect pc case ventilation.
A. Make sure that there are no over hanging obstructions like ide ribbon cable, etc that can block air circulation. This may take some time for some of you who never thought of this. Figuring out what to tuck away safely without causing a short or damage your PC can take some time for figure out. In some cases you may have to re-wire or convert to SATA hard drives and dvd/cd players in order to achieve this. But in any case please make sure you don't do something that can cause a short or damage pc components.

B. Make sure you have an adequate intake fan that will push enough air into the pc case that. You can check by placing your fingers at the rear vents (next to the PCI slots) and open air pci slots to feel any air movement. No air movement equals not enough ventilation and, you may have to invest in a fan that maybe a tad bit louder for higher CFM which can bring better static pressure. This is were a high CFM offfering the lowest noise fan comes into play. A rule of thumb, a 60 CFM or better should do the job.

C. Always use the side cover of your PC when in use. Not only does that reduce dust intake (negative pressure vs positive pressure is for another debate/thread) but should help properly circulate air in your case as by the manufacture's design. If your chipset, CPU and/or GPU temps increase when using the side panel it's an indication that air is not properly circulating.
Sidenote: I've found that cutting out some plastic window installation and taping it up alone the side of the case to work very well for my pc case. I cannot guarantee this will work for your pc case.

I have found that because pc cases come in all shapes and sizes you are going to have to come up with ideas based on your pc. What works in one pc may not work in another. Be that as it may I want to explain what's positive pc case air pressure and what's negative PC case air pressure (from what I've learned):

Positive air pressure: Is when you have more fresh air coming into the pc case than there is hot air exiting the case. Usually what you have is a pc case with a intake fan's CFM (which should create higher air pressure) that is greater then the exhaust fan. This technique should reduce dust as the air is escaping ventilation holes instead of coming in. If you decide on PAP setup you may want to invest in a high CFM fan and PCI ventilation slots.

Negative air pressure is when you have air coming into the case from every ventilation hole and orifice found within the pc case. This also includes air coming in through the 5 1/4" and/or 3 1/2" drive bays. This is why rear and top mounted fans need to exhaust air. As fresh air is coming in through every entrance possible. Some believe that this can increase dust inside your case as this method circumvents the fan's dust screens.

A demonstration of positive air pressure can be found here.




THERMAL COMPOUND
And finally, unless I missed something, one of the last things to consider is thermal compound. I won't go into whole lot of detail on this because there are quite a few brands out there that are both popular and offer decent performance. Here are a few:
AS5/AS5 Ceramic
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2
Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound
and many others...

Sidenote:
ArctiClean Thermal Material & Surface Purifier really does work well if you have thermal compound that's hard to remove. Also, so does Akasa Thermal Interface Cleaner





ONLINE STORES
There are a few online stores that offer HS. However, it's impossible to list them all based on nationality, preference and personal experience.
Frozen CPU
Heatsink Factory
Newegg
Performance PC
Petra's Tech Shop
Sidewinder Computer

There are many more out there. This is not a personal recommendation.

Please note that you are still responsible for any and all modifications to your PC. The information presented here and from users are not held responsible for any information that is presented in this thread. As with any PC and or electronic modifications experience in this field is a must. The information presented in this post is not a personal recommendation!
 
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#2
I'd like to help with this thread. Great idea for new commers to read up on good air coolers.

I run a Hyper Z600 passive with bolt through. OCZ Freeze thermal compound under it, and with a single 120 exhaust fan I get temps no higher than 65C. Idle is mid 50's with no fans. Full speed I'm at 40Idle-55Load.
 
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#3
Nice thread EastCoast. I unfortunately won't be able to use anything that uses a 120mm fan. Testing my rig right now, biggest I can use a 100mm. Looks like I will for sure be getting Noctua's NH-U9B which will have two 92mm fan's. No way I'm buying a new case!
 
Joined
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Processor E8400 @ 3.80Ghz > Q9650 3.60Ghz
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Memory XMS 8500C5D @ 1066MHz
Video Card(s) HD 2900 XT 858/900 to 4870 to 5870 (Keep Vreg area clean)
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#5
That is a great heatsink but too loud for me. You should have no problem using it with a PII 920. But, to be honest I am curious as to how well it holds up when you OC.

Sidenote:
4870 mosfet cooler, hmm...

Edit:
Found a review here and you have to listen to what the fan sounds like on high. :eek:
Keep in mind that some may find fans that titter around 45 dBA are considered loud. At 50dBA and over I'm not sure who would find that acceptable as fan noise.
 
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Kursah

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#7
Very cool thread, definately something I wanna be a part of. To me, air cooling is a great way to go on a budget and for those that want to spend a few more bucks on some decent cooling for overclocking.

Cooling is no good if the airflow sucks, that's where knowing the way your case is meant to flow, the air moving capacities of your fans, cable management and other things come in. This kind of stuff takes practice and time, I've learned a lot about PC's since I started building them, and it shows with every new PC I build for myself or someone else.

Heatsinks are also important, but one can end up easily spending way too much. I tend to go with popular mid-price-range CPU coolers, usually below the $35 mark for CPU and GPU. But I find what is the best in the range I can get, like my Xigmatek S1283, great cooler. I got it for 26.99 shipped back before they took off in popularity (march 2008-ish), great deal. Then later on I got the crossbow bolt kit, which is nice but dissapointed me as the Intel-style clips were easy to use (easier than OE intel coolers) and held just as tight as the screws in my findings, still use it 'cause I got it, but it's not required by any means, my temps didn't drop, nothing really changed. I also added a Scythe Ultra Kaze 3k 120x38mm fan, which is controlled by an old Zalman FanMate2 fan controller to about 2.1k rpm (from an old Zalman 7700 cooler purchase). This keeps temps cool on anything under it for my needs and is atm keeping my e8600 @ 4.5Ghz under 65C per core, more than 30C away from TJMax on these chips.

Beyond that is my Antec 900, it's a decent case, the airflow is good, and the new 900-2 looks to be great with it being based on an Antec 1200. Though if I had waited a year I would've chosen the cheaper yet very effective Antec 300, overall a great design on a budget you can't beat that case. Nonethe less the air comes in from the front and side, and exits through the rear and top, which is great for cooling using airflow. Having a fan in the top of the case is a must-have for me, it helps remove so much more hot air that can otherwise stay put. Plus using a negative-style airflow in-which the exhaust fans are moving more air than the intake fans keeps more airflow from all vents keeping things cool, but also attracts more dust...I don't mind cleaning once a month or two. Different cases may be different or limited to the types of fans installable, but some modifacation and wise choice on a budget can make a great difference in air cooling, plus it depends on how much you want to pay for functionality/performance and how much you want to remove from that for looks, there's always some negatives, but cooling on a budget is definately still won by air cooling, same with performance-per-dollar in what I've seen. There are some great budget water cooling setups out there, but a well thought out and similarly budgeted air cooling solution will usually be just as effective with modern day cooling technology, smaller and cooler running processors, definately helps with using cheaper cooling and still achieving great overclocks and performance without spending hundreds of dollars for just a little more...depending on what you use your rig for, you may want that extra bit and be willing to spend it, for others, what you can get with what you have, or what your budget will afford is generally good enough if not too much.

Sorry for the rant, I'm just a strong supporter of air cooling, there's some great technology in it, some awesome coolers of all shapes and sizes, some that can compare to water cooling (to an extent), plus it's a good challenge for overclockers to attain the most they can without while trying to keep temps in check.

:toast:
 
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Video Card(s) HD 2900 XT 858/900 to 4870 to 5870 (Keep Vreg area clean)
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#8
Whoa, that sucker is loud. Good thing it comes with a fan controller.
If you have a space constraint and there are no other HS's out there that can accommodate (knowing this will work) IMO go for it. Unless someone else posts another HS.
 
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#11
How can you have a most popular list without the Xigmatek 1283? She's a bang for buck winner and one of the most popular on this board I believe.:)

I enjoy the idea though! I'm on it!
 
Joined
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System Name MY PC
Processor E8400 @ 3.80Ghz > Q9650 3.60Ghz
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Memory XMS 8500C5D @ 1066MHz
Video Card(s) HD 2900 XT 858/900 to 4870 to 5870 (Keep Vreg area clean)
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#12
Very cool thread, definately something I wanna be a part of. To me, air cooling is a great way to go on a budget and for those that want to spend a few more bucks on some decent cooling for overclocking.

Cooling is no good if the airflow sucks, that's where knowing the way your case is meant to flow, the air moving capacities of your fans, cable management and other things come in. This kind of stuff takes practice and time, I've learned a lot about PC's since I started building them, and it shows with every new PC I build for myself or someone else.

Heatsinks are also important, but one can end up easily spending way too much. I tend to go with popular mid-price-range CPU coolers, usually below the $35 mark for CPU and GPU. But I find what is the best in the range I can get, like my Xigmatek S1283, great cooler. I got it for 26.99 shipped back before they took off in popularity (march 2008-ish), great deal. Then later on I got the crossbow bolt kit, which is nice but dissapointed me as the Intel-style clips were easy to use (easier than OE intel coolers) and held just as tight as the screws in my findings, still use it 'cause I got it, but it's not required by any means, my temps didn't drop, nothing really changed. I also added a Scythe Ultra Kaze 3k 120x38mm fan, which is controlled by an old Zalman FanMate2 fan controller to about 2.1k rpm (from an old Zalman 7700 cooler purchase). This keeps temps cool on anything under it for my needs and is atm keeping my e8600 @ 4.5Ghz under 65C per core, more than 30C away from TJMax on these chips.

Beyond that is my Antec 900, it's a decent case, the airflow is good, and the new 900-2 looks to be great with it being based on an Antec 1200. Though if I had waited a year I would've chosen the cheaper yet very effective Antec 300, overall a great design on a budget you can't beat that case. Nonethe less the air comes in from the front and side, and exits through the rear and top, which is great for cooling using airflow. Having a fan in the top of the case is a must-have for me, it helps remove so much more hot air that can otherwise stay put. Plus using a negative-style airflow in-which the exhaust fans are moving more air than the intake fans keeps more airflow from all vents keeping things cool, but also attracts more dust...I don't mind cleaning once a month or two. Different cases may be different or limited to the types of fans installable, but some modifacation and wise choice on a budget can make a great difference in air cooling, plus it depends on how much you want to pay for functionality/performance and how much you want to remove from that for looks, there's always some negatives, but cooling on a budget is definately still won by air cooling, same with performance-per-dollar in what I've seen. There are some great budget water cooling setups out there, but a well thought out and similarly budgeted air cooling solution will usually be just as effective with modern day cooling technology, smaller and cooler running processors, definately helps with using cheaper cooling and still achieving great overclocks and performance without spending hundreds of dollars for just a little more...depending on what you use your rig for, you may want that extra bit and be willing to spend it, for others, what you can get with what you have, or what your budget will afford is generally good enough if not too much.

Sorry for the rant, I'm just a strong supporter of air cooling, there's some great technology in it, some awesome coolers of all shapes and sizes, some that can compare to water cooling (to an extent), plus it's a good challenge for overclockers to attain the most they can without while trying to keep temps in check.

:toast:
There is some good info here folks. In particular Proper PC Case Ventilation is a must not only for those who Air Cool but for those that Water Cool as well. It's very important that your PC Case allows for proper ventilation of air from the front to the rear (in most PC cases). In order to achieve this you must make sure:
-those pesky IDE ribbon cables and other cables are safely tucked away
-Use a Case Fan that is capable of pushing air from the font of the PC Case to the rear.
-make sure that if you use a tower shaped Heat Sink & Fan comb that the fan is push air towards the PC Case exhaust fan(s).

I am sure there maybe a few more tips that can be suggested.
 
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Cooling D5, 7/16" ID Tubing, Maze4 with Fuzion CPU WB
Memory XMS 8500C5D @ 1066MHz
Video Card(s) HD 2900 XT 858/900 to 4870 to 5870 (Keep Vreg area clean)
Storage 2
Display(s) 24"
Case P180
Audio Device(s) X-fi Plantinum
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#13
Yeah, I'm fairly limited unfortunately. It's between the 9500 and the Noctua NH-U9B. I already have a 92mm Noctua fan so I could double up on the NH-U9B.
Let me get this straight, you know you can fit a NH-U98? If so, then you should get that over the 9500. If need be get another fan. :toast:
 
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#14
xig 1283 or 1284 + Scythe Slipstream?
 
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#15
How can you have a most popular list without the Xigmatek 1283? She's a bang for buck winner and one of the most popular on this board I believe.:)

I enjoy the idea though! I'm on it!
I wasn't able to get them all :D. This thread is still a work in progress. However I am still curious about the Achilles S1284C.
 
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#16
btw u forgot teh infernal fire xtinguisher from the HS-Fan aread
 
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#17
xig 1283 or 1284 + Scythe Slipstream?
Get the Xig 1283. For the fan either the slipstream or the XiqmaTek XLF-F1253 (that if you like the color). Those are both decent fans IMO.
 
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#20
The Cooler Master V8 is awesome! Maybe add it? It keeps my PII cool.
 
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#21
that's club what i look for , nice idea eastcosthandle
 
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#22
nice if you're adding members i got a p2 940 i'll be putting together but currently running my 5kbe underneath an ultra120 extreme idle 28 load 40 with a panaflo fan on both sides.
 

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#24
Cool idea.
Well here is my lapped True 120 with 2x Scythe S Flex SFF21F in push/pull config. Ghetto modded so they fit as I only had 1 set of clips when I did it. This setup is on my QX9650 running at 3690mhz with 1.325v for and idle temp of 32/30/27/27 and full load temp of 53/50/45/48 running the Intel burn test, which gets my cpu hotter than prime95 etc. In a room with an avg temp of 22c/71f. My puter has been cleaned since this photo was taken. I have a Silverstone TJ-07 case with all the standard fans replaced with either noctua, or scythe fans.

 
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#25
Nice thread, and omfg...True Copper, it's beautiful! I'm getting the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 because it's €35 compared to the TRUE at €55, but If I find any copper ones at a reasonable price I'll probably look into getting it lol although I would like to have the Zalman CNPS9900 I'll probably stick to the S1283 because of the price. The Zalman is probably going to cost around €75 or something.

As for my current setup...don't laugh, actually, feel free to, it's Dell, how can you not laugh? :p



An intake fan and a heatsink and nothing else. Cooling by Dell...I've got 2 Yate Loons on their way for my future build, might just stick one in there for better cooling since there is a fan plug on the PSU...