how should I configure my casing

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
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I'm still confused about positive and negative airflow as in which one is more recommended?
is it better for all the fans to act as exhaust, so all the hot air are being sucked out of the case along with dust (dust is also my major concern because it doesn't matter if it's cool but dusty, your components will still be ruined). I'm buying corsair carbide 200R, do I need to do custom configuration of the fans, or is it already configured for me, so I can start using it and don't have to worry about a thing anymore? thanks
 

Tweakin

Platinum Member
Feb 7, 2000
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71
Normal configuration is in from the front/bottom and exhaust at the rear/top. This is just a guideline, and until you have your components installed and look at the temp, hard to say.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
Configure your fans for a balanced intake vs exhaust.
Add filters (and keep them clean), on intake fans if that's of concern.

BTW, Your components aren't killed by dust, they are killed by heat.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,722
1,455
126
I'm still confused about positive and negative airflow as in which one is more recommended?
is it better for all the fans to act as exhaust, so all the hot air are being sucked out of the case along with dust (dust is also my major concern because it doesn't matter if it's cool but dusty, your components will still be ruined). I'm buying corsair carbide 200R, do I need to do custom configuration of the fans, or is it already configured for me, so I can start using it and don't have to worry about a thing anymore? thanks

There are several opinions about this, but here's mine.

I try to pressurize my case to the extent I can feel air exhausting from leaks (which you might otherwise plug -- and excluding the exhaust fan(s)).

I use the largest fans for intake, but your Carbide case might limit you to to 140mm or even 120's. There are two ports on the side-panel -- if it were my case, I'd always use them for intake. There may be one or two fan ports on the front panel: I think I can see one case fan in the Newegg photo gallery. Those would also be intake fans.

There are two fan ports on top. If you really needed extra exhaust, that's what I'd use them for, but really -- if it were me, I'd block off the vents with a slab of black foam art-board, neatly installed from the interior of the case.

The intake air should exceed the exhaust by some margin -- it doesn't have to be a massive difference. If you duct the cpu cooler to the rear exhaust, then a greater difference might actually be better.

I would use all the motherboard and mobo-maker's proprietary software to thermally control PWM and 3-pin fans from the motherboard. But in your case (pun), we're talking about six fans -- four intake, the cpu cooler fan, and the exhaust fan. For that, I'd get a PWM splitter cable or 8-fan splitter like the Swiftech, and attempt to get as many PWM fans as I could. Any few 3-pin fans might then be accommodated to the 3-pin motherboard ports. You would then be able to monitor one of the fans on the splitter, and all other fans connected to the motherboard.

Under a variety of scenarios where you might reduce the number of fans in the case, the discards would come from the intake side, but I would leave two of those remaining.

"Do you need to customize . . ?" I'd certainly say so if you're buying this case and the rig is not a complete, ready-to-use OEM computer. Corsair may give you two fans with that system; if you buy a CPU heatpipe cooler, another fan will be bundled with it. The rest you'll likely have to purchase.

If you look through various threads and posts here, you'll find more information about isolating fan-mounts with rubber-rivets and other matters concerning noise mitigation. These days, I've been using Akasa Viper fans, which come in 140 and 120mm sizes. Look at the noise ratings for those. The 140's are rated to move 103 to 110 CFM in airflow, and they're pretty quiet at their top-rated speeds. The 120's would likely spin faster (with more noise potential) if they moved that much air; if they move less, then the noise ratings are likely to be equally favorable.

People are going to recommend different fans and different approaches, so consider that I just started the ball rolling if you want lots of advice about this. A lot of people like that case. If I wanted to get a case for a family member, I might buy one. My own personal preferences differ a bit. But the Carbide has reasonable potential for building a cool-running and quiet system. As to "quiet" -- there are a lot of opinions about that as well . . . . in the ear of the beholder, I suppose.
 

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
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So, how many extra fans should I get? AFAIK, each motherboard and processor already have their own fans, right?
thanks
 

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
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and also, what about the wattage of the extra fans? any brand I should get for the fans, or is it just the same for simple component such as fan? thanks
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,722
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and also, what about the wattage of the extra fans? any brand I should get for the fans, or is it just the same for simple component such as fan? thanks

Some people tell me the Cougar Vortex 120x25mm ~74CFM fan is great. It's another "quiet" fan. I was impressed with the Akasa Vipers, as I said. You might want to look into the Gentle Typhoon fans in the lower to mid-speed range. I have a current thread here about the high-output AP-30 Gentle Typhoon. From what I can gauge from your original post and questions, you're going to want a simpler path to follow for this fan configuration.

You mentioned dust as a hazard. I've seen many systems clotted up with kruft for the owner failing to do the maintenance (cleaning). The most likely outcome of that sort of neglect might be higher temperatures for the CPU, but nothing some compressed air wouldn't fix. The only real hazard I can think of would be dust mixed with metal filings or other conductive material -- not likely unless you use your computer in your workshop.

SO.

It's for you to decide, but I've found a sense of accomplishment to get the same cooling effect from strategically chosen and thermally controlled fans in smaller number than what your case design might suggest.

Maybe here's a few thoughts:

-- Count the number of PWM, dual-PWM/3-pin and 3-pin fan ports on your motherboard -- excluding any port labeled "PWR-FAN." [AFIK, this latter port is less likely to be thermally controllable.]

-- Determine from your motherboard manual which ports can be thermally controlled with BIOS settings. A lot of decent motherboards are bundled with proprietary monitoring and control software, and this may include the ability to create "fan-profiles" for important fans or groups of them (if you can manage it, but see my note about PWM fans and splitter devices like the Swiftech 8W-PWM-SPL-ST (~$10 item).

-- If you attend toward pressurizing your case a bit, determine the CFM of your case exhaust port(s). Usually, it's probably optimal to have a single case exhaust -- but again -- this is a matter for you to decide.

-- Based on the expected, top-end CFM of your exhaust, choose your intake fans to exceed that by as much as you want.

-- For intake, use the largest fans that fit the ports in your case. They will require fewer RPM to achieve the same or higher CFM airflow, and therefore make less noise.

-- When you shop for fans, read the specs. Many here will say that specs are not that meaningful, but it's the only basis of comparison unless you search for online comparison reviews by test labs. The specs include such things as:
== static pressure
== CFM at top speed
== noise rating in dBA
== type of bearing [ ball bearing lasts longer but can be noisier; rifle bearing is "self-lubricating;" "hydro-dynamic" and other features are better than "sleeve bearing," etc.]
== The fan should have a third wire (for 3-pin) -- the tach wire for monitoring RPM
== MTBF, or life-expectancy. 30,000 hours is short; 50,000 is average; 100,000 is superb.
== Amperage. The only fans you want are 12V, DC fans. If you run them off the motherboard, you're usually limited to a maximum 1.0A per fan port. But most of these fans I've recommended so far draw 0.35A or less. Since all the fans of interest are 12V DC, the amperage is a comparable measure of wattage. In other words, you're looking for fans with wattage less than 12W.

-- You can buy fans of the 120x25mm variety for as little as $5 or $6, but you may be sorry for it later. Generally, decent fans will cost you between $10 and $20 each. Another reason to plan your project for maximum cooling, minimum noise, and a limited number of fans you can thermally control from the motherboard.

Hopefully, your CPU came with a heatsink and fan that you can simply plug into the CPU_FAN port of your motherboard. If you buy a better heatpipe cooler for the CPU, it may come bundled with a fan. It's up to you to decide whether you like it or wish to replace it. I've been known to replace almost every fan that came with a CPU cooler, but others regard the fan and cooler as a sort of "package deal."

Again -- on the number of fans. I've seen folks eager to put 10 fans in a computer case. I had a friend who had four 140's in the sidepanel, two 120's in the front, and an extra exhaust out the top besides the rear exhaust port. Instead of automatic thermal control, he wanted to play with the rheostat knobs on a $50 fan controller. He thought his computer was a "conversation piece," and I observed that it probably was -- if you could hear the conversation over the din of all the fans running.

And -- back to the dust factor. If you can thermally control all the fans in your case without spending money on a separate front-panel fan-controller, the lower RPMs when the system is in an idle state will mean less dust accumulating. That also means less of a need to use filters with the fans, which reduce airflow. And further, it means that you'll be able to sleep with a computer running in your bedroom.
 

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
16
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here's my full build:
ASUS P8Z77-V LX2
processor Core i3 3240 3.4 Ghz Cache 3 MB
Hitachi 1TB SATA3
RAM Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
casing corsair carbide 200R
Seasonic SS-500ET 500W

I'm a little confused about the PSU. this particular seasonic model's fan is located at the top of the unit, and therefore it will blow hot air into other components inside the case. Is this a good thing?
thanks
 
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Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
here's my full build:


casing corsair carbide 200R
Seasonic SS-500ET 500W

I'm a little confused about the PSU. this particular seasonic model's fan is located at the top of the unit, and therefore it will blow hot air into other components inside the case. Is this a good thing?
The Carbide has PS mounting on the bottom of the case, with a filtered opening for the PS fan.
The Seasonic PS has a 120mm fan.

Why can't you mount the PS so the fan is aligned with the opening at the bottom of the case, therefore pulling in fresh, cool air?
 

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
16
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0
but the seasonic's fan is facing up, unlike standard PSU whose fan is facing back, and therefore can fit perfectly at the opening in the back of the casing. I'm still not following how to do your instruction. Could you please show a picture? thanks
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
Can you simply flip your PS upside-down and install it at the bottom of the Carbide?
 

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
16
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0
so, where will the PSU's fan be facing to? bottom of the case which is in contact with the table?
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
Yes, the PS fan will be facing down, pulling cool air in from underneath the case.
The case has feet on the bottom to raise it up off whatever surface it's sitting on, doesn't it?
 

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
16
0
0
yes, but it's only about 1cm, so that doesn't leave a lot of space to suck in air. is this normal? because unlike if the fan faces to the back where there's ample space to suck in air. this is quite surprising for me. thanks
 

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
16
0
0
just wanna confirm, will the PSU's fan suck air into the unit or will it blow hot air out of the unit?
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,722
1,455
126
More than five years ago, you could expect PSUs to get warm. Either way, the large 120mm fans which replaced smaller 80mm units are intake fans for the PSU. The older units with the smaller intake fans simply took air from inside the case -- possibly warmer air -- and passed it through the PSU and the case exterior. More recently, case designs such as my HAF and the Corsair Carbide offered a PSU installation in the case bottom.

At least to my personal experience with the HAFs, you can flip the PSU either way -- the mounting points have provision in the case regardless of orientation. This is especially obvious because PSUs traditionally offer four screw holes for mounting, and they are not arrayed at the corner of a perfect rectangle. But the cases accommodate them either way with the bottom mounting strategy. Obviously a case designer would never allow this for top-mounted PSUs: the large 120mm intake fan would be blocked by the case top-panel.

Instead, you have an option of isolating PSU airflow with cold air off the floor with rear exhaust, or using interior case air and rear exhaust.

In my case (hah!), I decided to use the case interior air which never gets a chance to warm up. I thought maybe flipping the PSU for floor-intake would just draw more dust into the PSU.

But no matter. Those Seasonic PSUs are so efficient -- all our household machines are fitted with them -- that the thermally-controlled intake fans never spin up. Oh. Perhaps I should run a short stress-test on my system to see it move. But otherwise, its mostly a passive exhaust for air from the case interior in this orientation.

It could be "the case" that drawing air from the floor would actually allow the PSU to get warmer and spin up the fan. My case interior temperatures couldn't possibly change, since the PSU is in the bottom and is just another exhaust vent. It would, however, allow me to pressurize my case a bit more.

Hmmm . . .
 

krnmastersgt

Platinum Member
Jan 10, 2008
2,873
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What CPU cooler are you using? Do you have a video card you're not listing?

If a standard air cooler and you have no discrete video card I'd recommend 1 top intake and a rear exhaust fan for the CPU cooler to get the best possible airflow over it, and then the front bottom as intake with the optional bottom (around the center of the case) as exhaust if you think your hard drives need the cooling (7200 RPM drives can run a bit toasty). Otherwise just the first 2 fans I mentioned should give you the correct airflow path and while it is pressure neutral (assuming your CPU cooler doesn't draw more air than the intake fan is capable of) it allows for easy dust management as you only have to filter the top intake (probably want to cover the empty grill as well though).

If you use a AIO water cooler:
1. Single fan: mount it in place of the exhaust fan and use the same intake layout
2. Dual fan: mount as top intake, 1 rear exhaust; your case is now pressure positive
 

MongGrel

Lifer
Dec 3, 2013
38,751
3,068
121
In the front, out the back.

:)

But there is a 200 above the vertical NH-D14 above it on the old Antec 1200.

That and the stock fans on the front HDD bays were replaced with AC 120 PWM's long ago.

It's very quiet.

ajJnwVI.jpg
 
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tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
16
0
0
nope, I'll be using onboard VGA, and then there's a slight change in the spec:
ASUS P8H77-M LE --> micro atx (the only change)
processor Core i3 3240 3.4 Ghz Cache 3 MB
Hitachi 1TB SATA3
RAM Corsair CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9
casing corsair carbide 200R
Seasonic SS-500ET 500W

I decided to go with micro atx because I don't really need extra slots and it might use less power. I'll be using the rig mainly to develop web application using Java (all those software lifecycle such as coding, testing, deployment, etc) and moderate entertainment like turn-based strategy like Civ 5 or RPG like Breath of Fire 3 and watching TV episodes like GoT.
I wonder if the casing if a little bit overkill for my build. perhaps there's another budget casing for microatx that would house my components nicely but still have front panel USB3 slot and good airflow? thanks
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,292
62
91
I'm kind of wondering, now that you have listed your components, that you are worrying about nothing. An Ivy Bridge i3 is not a firebreathing chip, you don't list a GPU, you have one HDD... there is nothing there that is going to require airflow like you are discussing.

Personally, if you are concerned about dust (I am) you need to be looking for a more closed case with built in filtration. Just because a case doesn't have openings for 5 fans does NOT mean you will have thermal problems. The 200R is a decent enough case, I would tape up the side and top vents and just roll with it, or look at a better case like a Fractal Define-series case... they have intake filters and a filter for the PSU.
 

tiebushan

Junior Member
Mar 21, 2014
16
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0
so, for my lighweight build, I won't need to worry about high temp? and you're right, I dont buy any GPU because I won't be playing heavyweight games like COD or Serious Sam. as for the CPU, does the standard cooler shipped with Intel i3 package will get the job done cooling the processor? thanks
 

krnmastersgt

Platinum Member
Jan 10, 2008
2,873
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Nothing is a major heat generator in your build so no, designing the fan airflow is not a major problem for you. The stock Intel cooler does it's job, and if you won't be loading it up most of the time you won't need anything much to keep the temperatures in a good range. If the cooler seems loud to you once it's all set-up and running wherever you plan on placing it you can always replace it with an aftermarket solution later on.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
6,292
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91
so, for my lighweight build, I won't need to worry about high temp? and you're right, I dont buy any GPU because I won't be playing heavyweight games like COD or Serious Sam. as for the CPU, does the standard cooler shipped with Intel i3 package will get the job done cooling the processor? thanks

The Intel cooler will work just fine. Folks talk about how bad the stock coolers are... I even use the Intel cooler on my HTPC, where noise is a concern. It works very well. In LinX benchmark testing my CPU goes into the high 40C's and just sits there, and the CPU fan barely ramps up. True, it's only a Pentium, but your i3 wouldn't be much more than that.