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Question Radiator placement in case

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
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I am building a custom wooden case for my PC and am wondering where to put the radiators. I will have 2x360 and 1x280 rads.

I know they would be best as intakes, however, for the 280 rad, the placement and routing would be best if it's towards the back near the motherboard as an exhaust. The other 2 rads will be isolated in their own chamber so I'm not worried about those.

My question is, is it conceivable that you could be putting heat (energy) INTO a rad when placing it near the motherboard as an exhaust? (enough to noticeably impact cooling I mean)
There would be heat coming off the m/b VRMs and around the CPU socket and some heat from the GPU as well.

EDIT:
Proposed layout shown below. The 2 fans at the back are exhaust and the 3 at the front are intake. Instead of that 1x120mm rad I can add a 180mm fan to that area...there's room. Those 3 radiators (1x120 slim, 2x140 slim, and 2x240 fat) are what I have right now. Any other rads I will have to buy. This will be used to cool a Ryzen 7 3800x and 2x undervolted Vega 56 cards (the 2 cards draw about 175w each so 350w total). The area beside the motherboard will be used to mount HDDs and SSDs flat against the side panel. Or alternatively I can mount another radiator there I suppose.

The radiators at the bottom will actually be sucking in from the side panel and a 140mm fan is used to help expel the hot air out the back. Was considering a 3x180mm fat rad mounted in the enclosed area at the bottom, but the fans are pretty expensive...3 of those would nearly equal the price of the 3x180mm rad!

I CANNOT mount any rads or fans up top because this will be one "leg" of a desk so there's no room up top.


desk PC bottom mount-1.jpg

desk PC bottom mount-2.jpg

desk PC bottom mount-3.jpg
 
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Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
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I have run plenty of radiators as exhausts. It comes down to what the case flow is like and what the ambient temp inside the case is going to be.

In my older system with a Corsair 380T case (Small-ish ITX case), running the radiator as an intake caused internal case temps to get crazy high. Running it as an exhaust caused CPU temps to go up by maybe 1-2 degrees, but case temps dropped way down.

In my current 011 Dynamic, I also run the radiator as an exhaust. I never bothered setting it up as an intake. And its placed right above the motherboard. So its pulling air through the RAM and across the VRM heatsinks. But case temps are very low, so small impact on the efficiency of the radiator.

On an unrelated subject, since your case is wood, you won't have a common ground plane, so you should put some effort into making sure all the components have ground connections.
 

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
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On an unrelated subject, since your case is wood, you won't have a common ground plane, so you should put some effort into making sure all the components have ground connections.
Okay thanks very much for the info.

And yeah I never thought about the ground plane. Does it all (motherboard and GPUs) just have to be connected to the PSU casing somehow?

EDIT: Just read up a bit on grounding and there doesn't seem to be a consensus that it's required. Some people say the PSU 24-pin connector is providing all the grounding it needs, giving examples of running motherboards on top of cardboard boxes, etc. Others say ground one or more of the motherboard standoffs to the PSU casing.

Having said that, is the motherboard standoff hole actually connected electrically to the rest of the motherboard? It doesn't seem like there are traces going into it.
 
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Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
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The standoffs are connected to the ground plain of the motherboard.

I have experienced ground loop issues when the motherboard was isolated from the other components (may cause hum in your audio). And I feel one build where I had Mobo's fail was a result of the poor grounding because they were isolated. I was not able to hard prove it.

Its totally up to you if you go through with adding grounding straps or the like. I just like to make people are aware of it when building a case that is not conductive.
 

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
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Its totally up to you if you go through with adding grounding straps or the like. I just like to make people are aware of it when building a case that is not conductive.
Okay, thanks again for the info. I think for the minimal extra effort required I might as well do it.

Is it just a matter of running a ground wire from 1 or 2 of the standoffs to the PSU casing? Or should I also ground other components like the video card and hard drives?
 

Stuka87

Diamond Member
Dec 10, 2010
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The GPU will be grounded with the motherboard. The HD's are fine to be isolated. Its regular to mount an HD/SSD with rubber mounts.

For grounding, heavier gauge wire the better. Some standoff mounts don't have a ground tied to them. The other advantage of the ground line is it helps protect against ESD.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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i haven't had a board that required a grounding plane.
Infact i have had it the other way around where a misaligned standoff would short the board.

If the ground was actually required, it would make no sense that cases were made from anodized alu, as its a horrible at being electrically conductive.

That being said, the best placement on a radiator is probably where you can pull the coolest air.
But having it pull air from the board section wont impact it that much especially when your using that many surface areas.
I would however still probably put it up in front, and have the rads blow at the board theen have the rads pull air from the board, but that may cause you to rethink PSU placement, as pulling air from a PSU exhaust will impact your performance, as psu's get hot under load.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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I am building a custom wooden case for my PC and am wondering where to put the radiators. I will have 2x360 and 1x280 rads.

I know they would be best as intakes, however, for the 280 rad, the placement and routing would be best if it's towards the back near the motherboard as an exhaust. The other 2 rads will be isolated in their own chamber so I'm not worried about those.

My question is, is it conceivable that you could be putting heat (energy) INTO a rad when placing it near the motherboard as an exhaust? (enough to noticeably impact cooling I mean)
There would be heat coming off the m/b VRMs and around the CPU socket and some heat from the GPU as well.
Per my googling regarding my h150i, placement really doesn’t matter. Fresh air is a tiny bit better by a couple degrees C but like 2C better.
Front, bottom, top mounts are all pretty similar.
Since you are building your own case, I would put them where they look great or are easy to deal with.
Keep in mind you do need to occasionally clean dust out of the radiator so don’t bury it too deep.
 

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
10,963
846
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Regarding the grounding, I have heard of front panel buttons not working due to a faulty ground...but not sure whether that was because the motherboard was not ground properly or the button panel was not ground...?

I added some pics of the proposed layout to the OP. Any critiques?
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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i would ditch the 120 rad in the rear.
if your really itching to buy new hardware, i would get a nexxxos ut60 360/480 or XSPC RX360/480 and lay it on the floor in that chamber next to your psu seeing how thats a psu intake. This could also let you ditch the 240mm if you want.

I am not a fan of slim rads as they have a very high FPI density which requires strong and loud fans.
I am also not a fan of off sized rads as the fans are near impossible to get good ones for.

I use only Nexxxos UT's for my builds... these are by far the best rads period.

A good second choice is the RX series...

These are great rads which will perform excellent on almost any type of fans as they are low FPI and not picky with static.
My favorite fans to pair with these rads are artic cooling P12, because they are cheap... they seem to last long, and i wont cry when they need to get replaced.

I highly recommend u get them in 5 packs.

Or you can go all in and get Noctua IPC's or Nidac Gentle Typhoons, but from my tinking, those 2 rads up listed aren't really that sensitive to the difference in static from a nidac GT's to a AC P12, which is why i stopped using the expensive as hell GT's in my builds now.

Basically you can buy poor rads, and get expensive as heck fans... or get expensive as heck rads, and acceptable fans.
Personally i like the second choice as rads never need to be replaced, especially if your using straight distilled and silver.
 
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thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
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The reason I have the 120mm rad at that spot (even in my current case) is because it's an easy run from the CPU block. I currently run res->pump->CPU->120mm rad->GPU->GPU->2x120 rad->2x140 rad->res.

I'm trying to avoid spending money if I can help it lol.
The rads I have are a Swiftech MCR120-QP (1x120mm), Swiftech MCR240-QP (2x140mm), and XSPC RX240 V3 (2x120mm). I know the Swiftechs are somewhat high fin density so they need more powerful fans. I looked at Nexxos XT45 rads...I wouldn't mind one of those or the UT60s actually, but they're not easy to find here in Canada for decent prices.

Assuming I'm sticking with my current rads, I'll do push/pull on the XSPC and Swiftech 120mm rads with Gentle Typhoons. They're $20/fan here in Canada. All other decent rad fans are not a whole lot cheaper from what I've found. The 2x140 rad is cooled by 2 Noctua iPC 2000 PWM.

How much wattage can the UT60 480mm rad dissipate?
 
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thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
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Went ahead and got a XT45 420mm rad to mount in the bottom chamber. I got the 420mm because I already have 2 of the Noctua iPPC-3000 PWM fans so just need 1 more, whereas with the 480mm, I would need to buy 4 Gentle Typhoon fans. I'm going to sell off the other rads to recoup some of the costs.

In addition the 420 rad allows me to make the case shorter compared to the 480 rad, which will help in other ways.
 
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aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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the UT.. not XT...
The XT is a thiner rad..

The UT is a full copper rad, so i would assume they are a bit more efficient then standard brass tube rads.
A good number for calculation is 150W / 120mm so 150x4 ~600W
 

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
10,963
846
126
the UT.. not XT...
The XT is a thiner rad..

The UT is a full copper rad, so i would assume they are a bit more efficient then standard brass tube rads.
A good number for calculation is 150W / 120mm so 150x4 ~600W
Yeah I looked at the UT, but it was a lot more expensive here. As far as I understand the XT is also full copper. And when looking at some reviews the difference at medium fan speeds (push) wasn't that massive:



At the higher speeds and push-pull yeah the UT60 starts to pull away.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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i would of gotten an RX then.
The thickness is for a reason.
It allows the lower rpm fan, it also allows it to be more flexable with fans.
 

thilanliyan

Lifer
Jun 21, 2005
10,963
846
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i would of gotten an RX then.
The thickness is for a reason.
It allows the lower rpm fan, it also allows it to be more flexable with fans.
The RX rads aren't cheap here either lol. The RX480 costs a little more than the XT45 480...and they're both much cheaper than the UT60 480. The Canadian exchange rate sucks...and the pandemic has wiped out stock of parts at the usual places like Newegg or Amazon, the Canadian versions of those stores anyway.

Anyway, if this 420 rad doesn't seem up to the task, I'll add the RX240 I already have back into the loop and have it blowing into the chamber like you suggested.
 

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