Liquid Cooling, Air Flow, and Case Design

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NakedFable Posted: Sat, Jul 31 2010 11:30 AM

Bunch of questions regarding Liquid Cooling, and would like suggestions or concerns.  I understand the technology, how it works, and why it works, but am confused why builders and developers do what they do.

 

I've noticed a plethora of cases, pretty much 98% of them, allow LC Radiators of some sort and size to be mounted at the TOP of the case.  I was under the impression that the area at the top of the case, in it's general purpose, is for exhausting hot air out of the case...naturally.  I was also under the impression that LC Radiators worked more effeciently if Cool Air ran through them to cool the liquid within more effectively.  I assume that OEMs, System Builders, and Enthusiasts set up the LC Radiator system to bring in cool air from the top into the case and exhaust the warm air out the back or sides of the case.  More on this...

 

Now there are a handful, of cases that rotate the motherboard tray 90° to help warm air escape out of the case from the top.  I like this idea, and it appears to work well.  In pictures of OEMs like Digital Storm and MainGear that have similar cases in their supply.  I've seen that they utilize a Asetek designed LC that is mounted to the 120mm exhaust fan area.  I'm familiar with this type of system and how it works, I happen to use the Corsair badged version for my personal system.  Due to age of my case design, I am actually exhausting air out of the case through the rad, mainly because it's the only option I have.  Any idea if DS and MG bring the air in the case from the LC unit, or use it as an exhaust?  I didn't see any other option than to have the air rise out of the case passively.

 

I am now speccing a new system from the ground up.  I would like very much to future proof as much as possible of the system to last 3 to 5 years.  Because the system will be a workstation and primary gaming system, I would like it to run quieter than a full on gaming rig.  I am planning to use a custom Liquid Cooling solution and would like to have some suggestions on Case/LC System combos that really work well, but reduce the amount of noise.  Some of the LC systems I've seen on YouTube from Digital Storm are screaming monsters!  The last thing I want in my room is an AC decible releasing computer.

 

I like the design of the Silverstone Fortress 2, and notice in the manual that it supports a 240mm Radiator over two of it's three 180mm fans on the bottom of the case.  This sounds like the best option for efficiently and performance.  Cool air enters from the bottom through the Rad, and escapes naturally through the vented slots and 120mm Fan on top.  I also see that Cooler Master's 690II also allows for the mounting of a 240mm radiator at the bottom of the case.  However, the most beautiful case on the market in my opinion is the Corsiar 700D.  I would love to utilize this case, but have heard stories of horrible cooling performance, even when adding a 360mm radiator at the top of the case.

 

Input very much appreciated.

_______________________________________________

Jon Lee | Graphic Designer & Owner

MNI Artworks

Austin, Texas

__________________________________________

JON LEE | Graphic Artist & Owner

MNI Artworks

Austin, Texas

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acarzt replied on Sat, Jul 31 2010 5:06 PM

In theory it makes more sense to put the radiator in a position where cool air will be pushed/pulled accross the radiator to drop temps.

In practice tho, this only changes the temp by a few degress.

The ambient temp inside a case is still significantly lower then the temps the CPU hits lol

The air coming out of the top of my cae from the exhaust fan is fairly cool. The air coming out of the rear exhaust is pretty warm because of the heat on the radiator.

A big radiator with plenty of airflow across it should work fine to cool your parts.

Just find the water cooling kit you want, then find a case it will fit in lol

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That Siverstone case looks like it would be a pain to if a Rad in there, also remember you need to fit a pump in the loop somewhere... The bigger the case the better I have an antec P182 and its about as small as I would go, knowing what I know now. I'll point you at my build a while back Linky

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jonation replied on Wed, Oct 27 2010 12:59 PM

The Lian Li PC-x1000 might be what you're looking for depending on your budget.

A 240 Rad could easily be placed in the front.

CPU: e6400 @ 3.2 (H-50'd)
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jonation replied on Wed, Oct 27 2010 3:26 PM

jonation:
Lian Li PC-x1000

The x900 has all 120mm fans instead of 140s if that'd be a problem.

CPU: e6400 @ 3.2 (H-50'd)
MB: MSI p6n
RAM: 4G adata
GPU: GTS-450 and 8800GTS for Physx
HDD: WD 500G Black
PSU: 620W Corsair  Mod.
Case: 900-2 with 7 cathodes and AP-15s
OS: W7 and Ubuntu

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One of the great things about watercooling is that it takes all the heat from the CPU and other parts right to the radiator and out the case. It is better to get the coolest air into the radiator. You will drop your temps a bit like that, but the main goal is to get all that hot air outside of the case. Which in turn drops all the temps inside your case.

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I agree. Best solution is to exhaust hot air unless your planning on putting a waterblock on all major components. Even if your cramped for room you can mount a rad off the back of your case. The best suggestion I can offer is pick the case last. There are so many options out there your sure to find something to fit your needs. I would start by figuring what components you want to cool and how far you plan to push the system. If your looking to over clock the heck out of it then you would want to LC more and use larger rads. If your plan is to keep it cool but noise being the biggest issue then LC your noisest components like GPU and CPU. With a single gpu setup and not attempting any crazy over clocking you could even get away with a 120 rad and still be better off then air cooling. You could achieve a simple setup like this even with a mid tower case.

Depending on how far you want to go reinventing the wheel you can fit a good bit of components in a case in the weirdest places. I have seen rads mounted bottom, top front and rear. Browse around at some pics of LC cases and you will find alot of very good options. You can even save some room by installing a t-line instead of a resevoir.

Biggest tip I can think of for a first time Liquid cooler is to not skimp on tubing. If at all posible (depending on room in your case) go with 1/2 tubing of good quality to minimize kinks and improve circulation.

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nelsoncp21:
Biggest tip I can think of for a first time Liquid cooler is to not skimp on tubing. If at all posible (depending on room in your case) go with 1/2 tubing of good quality to minimize kinks and improve circulation.
This 1,000 times over. Cheap tubing kinks easily.

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