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Fanless colling for the CPU.

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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I have got pretty interesting task. Building a small form factor computer, for playing Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, that has to be fanless, and at best - have one, single case fan.

And this is my question. If I will buy for example BeQuiet! Dark Rock 3 cooler will I be able to stick it onto Core i3 8100 and cool it passively? I will use the fan from Dark Rock 3 as case fan, because they have pretty decent Air Flow. My build is based on XFX XTS Fanless 460W PSU, and GTX 1050 Ti KalmX, and Raijintek Metis case. Is it also possible to top out the CPU in this scenario at 60-65 degrees celsius?
 

Lordhumungus

Golden Member
Jan 14, 2007
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This is definitely possible (although I can’t say at what target temp, but well within safe operating temps).

Personally I’d go with some big metal like the Scythe Ninja 4 (seems like a good match from a budget perspective) or Thermalright Le Grand Macho and then have a high quality exhaust fan.

I am curious, why does this build have to be fanless?
 

XavierMace

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2013
4,307
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Is it also possible to top out the CPU in this scenario at 60-65 degrees celsius?
I wouldn't hold your breath. 60c in a case with minimal airflow is pushing it. The fan on the Dark Rock also won't work as a case fan unless you're planning to hack job it. Your build is basically an oven. A passive cooled video card, a passive cooled CPU, and a single case fan that I'm assuming you expect to be running at low speeds.
 

Charlie22911

Senior member
Mar 19, 2005
611
227
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If you possess sufficient creative ability, going DIY with someone like protocase could make this pretty doable. A single 140mm fan with some ducting should do the trick.
If we are talking strictly fanless then you are going to limit yourself to either something large or something underpowered.

On the other hand if you are willing to go the water cooling route, you could employ external passive radiators with quick disconnect fittings.
 

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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The reason for this task is simple. A person who requested this was sitting in front of 45-50 dB laptop for last 5 years...

And he is sick of this, and wants to go as silent as possible, even fanless. My idea is that if he wants to go fanless, and SFF, desktop computer, the GPU is using in typical load around 54-55W, and peaks at 60W of power consumed. I can even go in January, or whenever Intel will release 35W 4C Coffee Lake CPU, and stick it under the cooler. Total power draw of this computer, under heavy load should be around 90-95W of power, and it should be possible to run it fanless.
 

Billb2

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2005
3,035
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Put a computer with fan cooled everything is a soundproof, ventilated box.
 

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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Also possibility as a cooling solution for the CPU is Raijintek EreBoss Core Black edition, and using one of Cryorig case fans.
 

fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
6,063
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It's absolutely doable, especially with an i3 and 1050ti which are not exactly power hungry beasts. I've been running all of my CPUs begining from P4 3.0C (northwood) and all the way up to 1800X semi-passively for years with just a big scythe ninja heatsink and a couple of exhaust fans in close proximity. Zero problems. The exhaust fan will pull air through the heatsink which is what you need. You won't be setting overclock records, but with your config should be no problem.

My recommendation for a heatsink would be Scythe Ninja 4, it works great, only costs $40 from amazon, and comes with a fan that you can use for exhaust if you want to. However, you'll need to check for all the various clearances, 1) your case will have to be wide enough to fit it, 2) most likely you won't be able to use RAM with heatsinks which is totally fine, and 3) depending on the specific motherboard that you choose the first/top most PCIe slot may be blocked by heatsink fins. I know this all sounds daunting, but it really isn't that bad, and it's what you'll have to do to get a semi-passive setup.
 

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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Linus was running 140W TDP 5960X Haswell CPU semi passively with BeQuiet Dark Rock Pro 3 dual tower cooler without fans:

That is 220W TDP cooler, with fans.

I will use at best 65W TDP CPU, and most likely we will go with 8100T CPU for that 35W TDP to squeeze as much performance from as low as possible thermal output(hence why GTX 1050 Ti, and possible upgrade to GTX 2050 Ti).

But I read that for best possible effect, you should use biggest possible radiator to get the best out of this idea. Hence my question was: would I be fine with Dark Rock 3? Looks are important, because the case has acrylic glass on side panel, thats why we are a little hesitant with using Raijintek Ereboss Core Black.
 

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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It's absolutely doable, especially with an i3 and 1050ti which are not exactly power hungry beasts. I've been running all of my CPUs begining from P4 3.0C (northwood) and all the way up to 1800X semi-passively for years with just a big scythe ninja heatsink and a couple of exhaust fans in close proximity. Zero problems. The exhaust fan will pull air through the heatsink which is what you need. You won't be setting overclock records, but with your config should be no problem.

My recommendation for a heatsink would be Scythe Ninja 4, it works great, only costs $40 from amazon, and comes with a fan that you can use for exhaust if you want to. However, you'll need to check for all the various clearances, 1) your case will have to be wide enough to fit it, 2) most likely you won't be able to use RAM with heatsinks which is totally fine, and 3) depending on the specific motherboard that you choose the first/top most PCIe slot may be blocked by heatsink fins. I know this all sounds daunting, but it really isn't that bad, and it's what you'll have to do to get a semi-passive setup.
May I ask you a question, what temps are you seeing with Ryzen 7 1800X in this config?
 

fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
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May I ask you a question, what temps are you seeing with Ryzen 7 1800X in this config?
This is my current setup
https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/amd-ryzen-builders-thread.2499342/page-161#post-38934977

I have slowed down 180mm case fans to about 600-700rpm under normal conditions at which point they're pretty much inaudible. Idle temps are in the very low 30's. I've never really tested the load temps under torture tests, temperatures in BIOS which are close to full load are around 60 I believe.
 

Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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If your CPU is able to be around 60-65 degrees then I think I am safe to go even with Noctua NH-U12S and use its fan as case fan, and still get 60 degrees on CPU, 75 on GPU.

Thanks.
 

fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
6,063
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If your CPU is able to be around 60-65 degrees then I think I am safe to go even with Noctua NH-U12S and use its fan as case fan, and still get 60 degrees on CPU, 75 on GPU.

Thanks.
You can probably get away with using NH-U12S. I still think Scythe Ninja would be better as it's square shape puts it closer to exhaust fans, and it has a lot more surface area which is important for semi-passive cooling. I can vouch for Scythe Ninjas as I've used them semi-passively for more than a decade, I can't make any guarantees over NH-U12S.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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Just put a quiet fan on that heat sink.

Even a Slow spinning quiet fan which u will bearly hear will still be better then having no fan.

Also that heat sink is not designed to run passive.
Passive heat sinks are usually wide spaced in fin arrangement.
So getting something like a Noctua Fan or a Gentle Typhoon will bearly be audible, yet provide you with decent cooling in an enclosed case.
 

coercitiv

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2014
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The project is easily doable on the CPU side based on my experience using a 6600K @ 4Ghz + Noctua NH D14 w/o fans + 120mm case fan on the Cooltek U2 case (all aluminum case). I would not use a 35W TDP CPU, anything between i3 8100 and i5 8400 will fit the bill. Personally I would go with the 8400. An additional quiet fan on the heatsink running at very low speeds (500 rpm) may actually improve the noise profile of the setup, allowing even lower case fan speeds.

The OP may have some issues with the passively cooled 1050Ti though. If you wish to run the case fan at very low speeds then the combination of passive GPU cooling and case layout may prove to be problematic: the GPU heat sink will be oriented upwards, where there are no ventilation holes AFAIK, and will also be isolated from airflow by the GPU PCB. Here I would consider taking precautions in the form of ensuring there's room for one slim/normal fan mounted in the vicinity of the KalmX cooler. We're talking 500 rpm here, just enough to keep the air moving in that potential pocket of air on the top of the case.

Alternatively you can make it a more intense DIY project and plan to drill holes on the top of the case to let hot air escape naturally.
 
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Glo.

Diamond Member
Apr 25, 2015
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There are two versions of Raijintek Metis, @coercitiv .

Raijintek Metis, without holes on top of the case, and Raijintek Metis Plus with holes on top of the case ;).

Also may I know the temps you were getting running games in this build?

The GPU will not be able to pull more than 60 FPS in 1080p Epic, and 1440p Ultra, so i5 8400 is a little waste of money in this case.
 

coercitiv

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2014
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There are two versions of Raijintek Metis, @coercitiv .

Raijintek Metis, without holes on top of the case, and Raijintek Metis Plus with holes on top of the case ;).
Then you know which one to get :) I briefly considered the Metis for one build 2 months ago but I guess the ones available here were the non-Plus variant.

Also may I know the temps you were getting running games in this build?

The GPU will not be able to pull more than 60 FPS in 1080p Epic, and 1440p Ultra, so i5 8400 is a little waste of money in this case.
Sorry, can't help you here, I never played on that machine, it's my Plex server.

However, when I first set it up I did run Prime 95 on the CPU in order to see how thermals were doing, and IIRC it managed to keep the CPU around 85 C with the case fan @ 5V. (power usage under Prime 95 was roughly 65W package power)

Later on the system was used to mine, running a 25W continuous load on the CPU and a 60W+ load on a GTX 1060. At that time temps on the CPU were bellow 60C. However, the case is not placed in a favorable spot, it's positioned inside the furniture that creates a semi-pocket of warm air. Ambient temp is always 25-26C.

At this moment I can no longer help you with temp readings since I swapped out the cooler.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,568
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I would recommend changing the case to be honest with you. A Fractal Design Define R5 is something that is relatively cheap, and is specifically designed for quiet operations (extensive noise dampening materials on side panels and front door and uses a front door to block direct transmission out of the air intake area, allows use of 140mm fans so that they can run slower yet still push the same amount of air, has built in case fan speed controller to let you slow down the fans to run even slower if you are using components that are lower power).

Yes it is going to be larger, but I have said this before, "small size, quiet, cheap", choose 2.
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,518
745
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I would recommend changing the case to be honest with you. A Fractal Design Define R5 is something that is relatively cheap, and is specifically designed for quiet operations (extensive noise dampening materials on side panels and front door and uses a front door to block direct transmission out of the air intake area, allows use of 140mm fans so that they can run slower yet still push the same amount of air, has built in case fan speed controller to let you slow down the fans to run even slower if you are using components that are lower power).

Yes it is going to be larger, but I have said this before, "small size, quiet, cheap", choose 2.
Agreed
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
14,469
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Thirded ;)

I have the R5, and I can't stand fan noise. I run my intakes and exhaust (3 x Noctua NF-A14 FLX and 1 x NF-A15 PWM) around 700 RPM, and I can't hear them when my front door is shut. I could probably run them around 500 RPM and have solid temps, but I like keeping everything nice and cool. I can't ever hear the fan on my NH-U14S.
 

gradoman

Senior member
Mar 19, 2007
803
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I did a semi-passive with an Intel G620 using a Noctua U12S inside a Fractal Arc Midi and a single Scythe Slipstream at 500RPM for my cat-lady mom-in-law's place. Temps were fine without the fan, but better with it on. I figured if it dies, she'll continue to be able to use it until we're over and I check up on it to see if it needs to be replaced.

With your build, passive CPU, GPU and PSU, you'll want at least a single fan to help dissipate the heat. A couple quality fans at 500-1000RPM will make nearly no noise and provide some really good airflow. Most fans at 500-900RPM will be pretty quiet, even the mediocre models. You can buy a two pack of the Corsair AF120s for like $35 and run them at 500-900RPM, have some airflow and quiet operation: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1342-page4.html
 

fleshconsumed

Diamond Member
Feb 21, 2002
6,063
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Water cooling.
Pump noise is going to be louder than any 700RPM fan. Water cooling is great if you need to dissipate massive amounts of heat at a reasonable noise level, but if your goal is reasonable TDP being cooled as quietly as possible water cooling is a no go because of pump noise.
 
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Campy

Senior member
Jun 25, 2010
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Avoiding small high-rpm fans is obviously important to keep things quiet. However it's difficult to have decent performance and keep temps down without at least some airflow, and having just a little bit is far better than having none. You can get fans that run at very low speeds of 300-500 rpm that output very little noise. For instance Noctua have 120mm ULN fans that are rated 5dB at 500rpm.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Pump noise is going to be louder than any 700RPM fan. Water cooling is great if you need to dissipate massive amounts of heat at a reasonable noise level, but if your goal is reasonable TDP being cooled as quietly as possible water cooling is a no go because of pump noise.
100% agree with this. Water cooling is "quiet" for running an overclocked beast, but you can make something near silent using air cooling. The pump is significantly louder than 140mm fans running at 500-800 RPM and in a well designed case, with proper components, you only need 2 fans at most now.

I have a HTPC setup which has 3 140mm Noctua fans running at ~500 RPM. The only reason you know it is on is the lights on the front panel (or the Blu-ray drive if I put a movie in it). I was able to fit a NH-D14 on the CPU in that case, and had an old passive graphics card (an AMD HD6770.... yes it is old, but works great for 1080p).
 
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