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Old 11-22-2008, 11:15 AM   #41
HyperFang
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I would like to add my two cents on the whole "fan filter" bit.

Pantyhose is indeed a very inexpensive and handy material to use as a fan filter.

However, there is a product far better (at least in my opinion).

I'm, of course, talking about screen wire! You can buy it at Home Depot very cheaply and it's a lot easier to mod than pantyhose. It can also easily be painted to match the color scheme of your case. Combine the screen wire with a popsickle stick frame (they work amazingly well together and you can drill holes into it so that you can fasten it easily between your intake fans and the case) and you have a great makeshift fan filter.
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Old 11-22-2008, 08:09 PM   #42
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While I will say that a metal screen does catch some dust and dirt, It's not going to keep a lot of it out; unless you get some micro screening. It will catch some stuff but It's not going to be as effective as pantyhose.
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Old 11-23-2008, 04:34 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N64link View Post
While I will say that a metal screen does catch some dust and dirt, It's not going to keep a lot of it out; unless you get some micro screening. It will catch some stuff but It's not going to be as effective as pantyhose.
Exactly. Out of all household stuff one could possibly comeup with to use as a filter, stretched pantyhose is the best. Allows dust to be caught perfectly without causing as much of an airblock as other stuff (I've heard a sliver of sponge was tried, but obviously it was a magor fail).
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:43 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N64link View Post
While I will say that a metal screen does catch some dust and dirt, It's not going to keep a lot of it out; unless you get some micro screening. It will catch some stuff but It's not going to be as effective as pantyhose.
Believe it or not, even the standard screens can catch a respectable amount of dust.

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Originally Posted by KingBling View Post
Exactly. Out of all household stuff one could possibly comeup with to use as a filter, stretched pantyhose is the best. Allows dust to be caught perfectly without causing as much of an airblock as other stuff (I've heard a sliver of sponge was tried, but obviously it was a magor fail).
I do not dispute the effectiveness of pantyhose over screen. As having a much smaller mesh, the pantyhose would undoubtably catch a good deal more dust.

I was just suggesting the screen as a mod-friendly, higher flow alternative to pantyhose. It is very easy to cut into shape and takes paint very well, which makes it great if used in a modded environment. And having a larger mesh than pantyhose allows it to let a higher volume of air to flow past it.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:48 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by HyperFang View Post
Believe it or not, even the standard screens can catch a respectable amount of dust.



I do not dispute the effectiveness of pantyhose over screen. As having a much smaller mesh, the pantyhose would undoubtably catch a good deal more dust.

I was just suggesting the screen as a mod-friendly, higher flow alternative to pantyhose. It is very easy to cut into shape and takes paint very well, which makes it great if used in a modded environment. And having a larger mesh than pantyhose allows it to let a higher volume of air to flow past it.
I see your point. This I believe is yet another thing to be added to the guide....Check back a year from now - hopefully I'll have done it by then
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:17 AM   #46
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Nice article. All I can do is point out little things. Gold conducts heat worse than copper. Silver is better than copper, and diamond beats em all. (As far as commonly occurring terrestrial materials go.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_conductivity

And now with the TRUE Copper out weighing in at over 4 lbs (1.9 kg). You might want to reconsider that last remark about no cooler heavy enough to damage a board. That's one massive cooler. Yikes!

Thanks for the good read. And I think I just figured out why the thermal conductivity is inversely related to meters, because it's a measure of heat transfer where surface area doesn't matter. One assumes you have a heat source bigger than the heat pipe. Only thickness of the conducting material matters. So that would also mean that materials conduct heat worse the hotter they get. Since kelvin is also on bottom of the units of watts/meter*kelvin. So we're probably looking for u-value anyway. *shrug*

The internets are a wonderful thing. Growing up around the age of 10 in the early 1980s I often wondered what it would be like to have a book that could tell you anything. Which brings us full circle. I'm waiting on my TRUE Diamond.
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:43 PM   #47
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nice guide and good discussion
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:21 PM   #48
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I thank you all for your comments. I am at the moment busy and am simply going through the new posts on the forum so I don't miss anything. I shall replay to all comments as soon as I can.

Again, thank you. Am planning to revise\update this guide also.
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:44 AM   #49
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thanks for the guide!
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:37 PM   #50
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yea nice guide but how about using water cooling.
and trow the radiator out side the house, hanging out the window
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:43 PM   #51
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yea nice guide but how about using water cooling.
and trow the radiator out side the house, hanging out the window
This is the "air" cooling guide, you want the "water" cooling guide.
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Old 02-20-2009, 06:13 PM   #52
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EXTREMLY nice guide. i have always thought that louder fans were better because of more cfm and rpms. also more fans=better, well this is all wrong. so now i see why there would be so many types of fans. i guess i am going to have to really focus on cooling now.

Thanks for the guide, i'll be coming back to this guide for reference on air cooling don'ts and do's.
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:19 AM   #53
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can some one please help me? im trying to overclock an intel p4 hyper threading processor 3.2ghz
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:24 AM   #54
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can some one please help me? im trying to overclock an intel p4 hyper threading processor 3.2ghz
Apart from increasing the clock speed by only changning the multiplier, I think you can use http://forums.extremeoverclocking.co...d.php?t=261409 to great effect. Read it a few times till you think you get it, and then read some more before starting
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:27 AM   #55
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Well done guide.

Thank you.
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:34 PM   #56
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This is a detailed guide for the newbie and the die hard over-clocker alike. While I try to be as professional, accurate and informative as possible, I am sure that many here may have more to add and or comment on. However, I am sure this will be a helpful tutorial.

Proper cooling is a must for PC component longevity and stable operation. This is because heat is a byproduct of any electrical\mechanical device and PCs in particular generate a lot of it. Heat is like cancer – it spreads. Not only are certain components notorious heat generators, they heat up their surrounding components as well, resulting in the system as a whole rising in temperature.

High temperatures affect the system in a negative way. Slightly high temperatures cause everything from random lockups to computer restarts without warning. Very high temperatures may render one or more components permanently damaged.

To give you an idea about just how hot a component like the CPU can get, consider that many people have burned their fingers while touching a hot CPU.

PC problems caused by temperature:
1. Permanent component damage. The main board’s copper traces and solder joints can crack and split. Components like CPUs and chipsets literally burn internally (you can actually see the area as scorched). Damaged components can go on limping, working incorrectly and corrupting data, while looking like another problem or even going undetected for quite some time.
2. Component “creep”. When metal heats up, it expands. When it cools, it contracts. Where this becomes a problem is when a poorly cooled “seated” component’s power-up, power-down cycles causes it to slowly “creep” out of their socket\slot.
3. Disk errors. As with the component “creep” problem, expansion\contraction of the metal disk platters in a hard disk cause read\write errors. This is because the read\write head gets positioned differently relative to the platter center in some drives when reading and writing as the platter diameter changes.

One can see from the above list of temperature related problems that a) proper cooling must be provided, and b) A PC’s temperature should remain as constant as possible.

PC temperature is affected by several things:
1. The components themselves. Certain components are notorious heat generators, such as the CPU, GPU, chipset and disk drives. There is no way to avoid this – it can only be dealt with.
2. The component placement. The layout of components within a case and on the selected main board should ensure that the “heat generators” are in the way of the airflow.
3. The cooling scheme. Heat is energy and thus cannot be destroyed. All cooling schemes that is or ever will be work by “simply” transferring heat away from the source. How efficient the scheme is at doing this will partially determine how cool your PC will be and whether that particular scheme is right for your setup.
4. Thermal Paste. The type, amount and application of thermal compound affect how efficiently heat is transferred from a component to its heat sink for dissipation.
5. Room temperature. No matter how good of an air-cooling setup you implement, nothing can bring a PCs temperature below that of the air used to cool it.
6. Pollution (particles within the air such as smoke). Smoke and other contaminants within the air corrode the components of a PC and buildup a layer insulating all components, preventing heat from being transferred.
7. Dust buildup. Dust acts as an insulator. Its buildup prevents heat from being transferred and also clogs the PC’s fans and heat sinks.
8. Location. This is important. Dust buildup occurs most quickly (thus more frequent cleaning sessions) next to an open window. Also direct sunlight from a window heats up your PC’s interior. A PC’s environment plays a role and must not be overlooked.
9. Over-clocking. Over-clocking a component means running it at speeds higher than that component was designed for. The extra heat comes from the fact that an over-clocked component requires more power to run at the higher speeds.
10. The PC enclosure (case). Cases should be picked with beauty as the last priority. Cases are not simply an empty box to house a PC’s components where any will do. The material used in the cases construction will either aid or hinder cooling. Aluminum and steel are the two metals used in a practical case. Aluminum transfers heat better than steel, but also vibrates in rhythm with the installed fans. This causes more noise. Further, cases should be picked to have good air-flow, which means that is designed to not obstruct the air passing through and to support the installment of case fans. An example of bad case air-flow is when you have the air intake fan(s) placed in a lousy position, such as in front of a metal section of the case. Even after a good case has been selected air can be obstructed. Things such as a rat’s nest of cables and other such obstructions are like stepping on a garden hose: the water will not flow so-good. If air can’t pass properly through the case, heat can’t be properly carried away

Air-cooling is based on a system of fans and heat sinks, thermal paste, air ducts, and other misc hardware such as air filters.

Heat sinks
Heat sinks are large metal (preferably copper as it is the best conductor short from gold) structures attached to a component that provide a large surface area for heat dissipation. The larger the surface are, the greater the dissipation. Therefore, heat sinks are almost always “finned”, and in some cases the fins themselves are finned. The heat sink is glued or clamped onto the component, with good pressure exerted if clamped, by screws or push-pins.

Glued?

While push-pins are relatively safe, in terms of pressure exerted, screws must be fastened cautiously as not exert too much pressure and thus crack the circuit board mounting the component.
Heat sinks come in two flavors, in terms of material used: copper and aluminum. As a conductor and therefore heat sink, copper is far better than aluminum, but is more expensive.
I suggest using as large copper heat sinks as available because no PC use heat sink I have ever seen\heard of is heavy enough to actually damage the main board no matter what the main board’s orientation is.

Fans
Fans provide a jet of air to carry heat away. Fans come in a wide variety of just about every characteristic. The following is a short summary of the most important (PC fan motors are exclusively brushless and axial and will therefore not be mentioned) PC fan characteristics:
• Size. Many sizes exist for fans, usually square, and specified by width\height. 80mm and 120mm fans are the most common among case mounted fans. The thing to know here is that larger fans tend to rotate slower and thus give less noise overall. They also tend be more powerful.
• Speed. All fan models are different in terms of speed. Fan speed is measures in rotations per minute (RPM). The higher the speed, the more the airflow and noise for same size fans. Try to go for slower yet larger fans.
• Air-flow. This is the amount of air pushed by the fan. It is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and is in practice determined for the most part by fan size and speed.

No not entirely. Fan/blade design has large influence on all the above points.

• Voltage. PC fans usually are designed to work off of 12v DC. Any PC fan can run at lower voltages than the one it was designed for. The lower the voltage, the lower the RPM, the lower the airflow, the lower the noise. This is the basis upon which fan controllers work. A potentiometer (variable resistor) alters the voltage supplied to the fan and therefore providing fan speed control. Many people use the technique to lower fan noise as much as possible. Some even run a large number of fans at low voltages to make up for airflow lost. With a proper cooling scheme, such setups can be avoided.
I personally, and for good reasons, discourage the use of such devices. Variable resistors are notorious for breaking down quickly. Ever notice how the volume control on a speaker or cassette player, which is a variable resistor, starts acting funny after a relatively short time, making crackling noises at first then giving outbursts of the sound being played before they start requiring you to fiddle with them for some time just to get loud enough noise out? Same thing with fan controllers. And believe me; anybody with a fan controller spends a lot of time “fine tuning” for the desired speed\noise levels.

Not true with PWM fancontroller's and compatible fan's.

• Mechanism. The mechanism is basically the fan bearings. Types include sleeve, rifle, ball, and fluid bearings. Of these, ball bearing fans are the most common. From a noise perspective, fluid bearing fans are the quietest, with ball bearing fans second. These are the only two fans I would recommend using. They are also the most expensive.
• Mounting. Certain fans cannot be mounted vertically, namely sleeve bearing fans. The rest can be mounted in any orientation. Some fans are designed to be mounted from only one side, but most have screw holes on both sides. Single sided fans have fixed roles as either intake or exhaust. Double sided fans can be mounted as an intake or exhaust fan, with their airflow direction reversible by simply flipping the fan onto its other side.
Airflow direction is usually, on any quality fan, designated on the thin side of fan itself as well as rotation direction by the use of labeled arrows.
• Blades. The size, curvature, and smoothness of a fan blade determine the airflow. The larger and smoother the blade, the greater the CFM.

Place this comment closer to speed/noise/cfm statements.

• Noise. Many things contribute to fan noise. One is the fan itself, due to its mechanics. Another is the fan’s placement. Some fans, when mounted onto a case fan grill in the form of holes on the chassis itself will give a whining sound that is very annoying.
• Connector. Fans require power to work. This is provided directly or indirectly by the power supply. Most off the shelf case fans come with a Molex connector such as those used by older PATA drives. Two of the four pins are actually used (12v and ground). Some fans use a smaller 3 pin connector, with the third pin connected to a sensor built into the fan for RPM reading. Still, another type of fan for use with the CPU exists. These use a smaller four pin connector, with the fourth pin being a control signal carrier. Both the 3 pin and 4 pin fan connectors plug into and is powered through the main board.
Case fans with Molex connectors run directly off the power supply. These connectors are large, clunky and ugly. I will post a tutorial later on how to fix this problem by swapping them with smaller ones.

I see far more 3pin connectors then pata molex connectors by a wide margin

• Bling (No pun intended). Fans can come as transparent, and if so, with LEDs (light emitting diode) mounted to give a colorful presentation. This has absolutely nothing to do with the fan’s operation or quality.

Take a look at Vapor's testing on XS, it does matter allot which material is used.

Fan grills
Intake and exhaust case fans are covered by one or two grills which may be in the form of a grid of holes in the case itself or as a separate piece screwed onto the case. They serve a dual purpose: first, they protect one’s fingers from accidents, and second, they prevent foreign objects from entering the case. A grill is mandatory. I cannot stress this enough.

Thermal paste

Thermal compound is the “link” between components and their heat sinks. Its necessity stems from the fact that gaps between a component and its heat sink, no matter how much ‘safe’ pressure is applied, is inevitable. Gaps decrease the surface area for thermal transfer of heat. This is true even if you could, theoretically, sand down the two surfaces, which you can’t. Thermal paste or compound works by filling these gaps. It is thermally conductive, and very easy to apply.
Thermal paste is many times applied incorrectly. Some people over do it and think “the more the better”. This is false. Only a very thin layer is required to exclude air gaps and anything more will reduce thermal transfer. The reason is simple: a thicker layer increases the space between the component and the heat sink. Further, if too much is applied, there is a risk of it flowing onto the main board, short circuiting it.

Increases the space should be explained = lower conductivity. This is personal though, for clarity. Also, many tim's are non conductive or atleast close to so mention this as you might scare people to much.

Various types of thermal paste exist: ceramic, metal, and liquid metal based. Of these, ceramic based paste is the most common and least expensive type. The metal based types, however, are better in performance but can be very expensive. Extreme overclockers (yes, us) should most probably go for the metal based ones.

You forget diamond ( powder ) based tim's.

As you can see, in air-cooling systems there is a lot of room for mistake, and the designing of a proper setup is not as easy as it looks. The idea (and challenge) is to place the right fan in the right place and the right heat sink on the right components with the right application of thermal paste all within the right case.

What is strived for should be neither fan count nor extreme airflow, but rather efficient transfer from the component to a smooth airflow exiting the system. This is the mindset one should have.

Air cooling schemes
Air cooling systems are composed of two subsystems: one for getting air into and out of the PC case, and another for dealing with air within the case and putting it to good use. First, the case airflow.
In the beginning, these fell into one of two categories: negative and positive pressure designs. Negative pressure cooling is the oldest, and most common type. Basically, the idea is to have exhaust fans expel air out from the case, creating a vacuum of sorts within the case, which sucks in new air from the various vents provided by the case. Positive pressure, also called reverse-flow designs, have more air bieng sucked in than expelled, causing an increased pressure within the case, forcing the air out through the various case vents. If you happen to be the owner of a windowed case, you can see what effect the various schemes have on dust and any other particles that may be in the air, simply place a cigarrette in front of the intake and watch as the smoke circulates.

Then, as hotter and hotter running components started appearing, cases started appearing with more fan support, having both intake and exhaust fans. Based on the fans, fan speed (which, by the use of a controller, can vary), and fan directions used, one could come up with negative, positive, or even neutral pressure designs.

Neutral pressure designs provide the best cooling. This is because the exhaust fans are expelling air at as close to the same rate as the intake fans are sucking air in as possible, minimizing "hot spots" which are areas where the air is standing still. The result is a constant air flow, with no air waiting to get in or get out. This means that at any given time, new air is always present to carry heat away from a hot component. Today, I recommend every system be cooled like this. For it to work, simply have the CFM sum of all intake fans equal to the CFM sum of all exhaust fans.

I differ in opinion. Positive pressure is better for preventing dust, neutral pressure is hard to maintain when one fan get's clogged up you're doomed. Positive pressure does not lead to hot air pockets more then negative pressure or or neutral pressure. Just make sure the flow is good and circulation will occur inside the case due to thermal raising of air.

In the beginning, CP’s had a single fan: the power supply fan. Power supplies all served a dual purpose back then, powering and cooling the PC. Then came more advanced components with more heat generation. This led “optionally” to a second fan placed in the rear. It, along with the power supply fan was all that was needed – with the exception, of course, of vents along the side of the case.
Today, heat generation is such a problem that PC’s are being fit with many fans pushing air in and out of the case.
The problem that presents itself is a tricky one. The following questions must be answered in order to solve this problem and come up with a suitable cooling scheme for your PC:
• How many fans? Enough to get your target total CFM\noise values. Having more slow fans as opposed to few fast fans helps lessen noise.
• What size fans? Depends on your target CFM\noise values and the role of the fan as well as whether you’re going for positive\negative\neutral pressure setups. It also depends on the mounting space provided by the case for a particular fan.
• What speed fans? Depends on your target CFM and the role of the fan as well as whether you’re going for positive\negative\neutral pressure setups.
• What type fans? Always get the best ball or fluid bearing ones you can as these are relatively inexpensive and ensure long life and quietness. Some fans are specially designed quite, even though all fans should be specially designed to be quite. I recommend those.

Don't you mean expensive? But worth it for their cause.

• What fan direction? Using the markings on your fan, point the blow direction ******ds for exhaust and inwards for intake. If no markings are present (a really cheap and cheesy fan), and you have some experience with this type of thing, hook up the case fan to a 12V 300mA DC transformer and carefully place your palm in front of the fan and “feel it”. Fin pointing direction is misleading as you do not know the rotation direction on such fans.

I haven't had a single fan I could not predict airflow direction from

• What fan CFM? Too little total CFM and your case will overheat. Too much and your PC will sound like a turbo jet. Not to mention the unimaginable amount of dust that will accumulate. I mention this because some people get carried away. The answer depends on you setup, but strive for “just enough CFM”. Temperature monitoring will be your guide.
• Where to put the fans? Based on years of research, it has been found that the best way to setup your cooling scheme is as follows: air intake from the bottom front of the case, exhaust from the top rear. The reason is that cool air sinks while hot air rises.

It might be also since the cpu socket is usually located very close to the exhaust this way don't you think

• When to stop? Once a setup has been implemented, testing must begin. Based on temperature readings, adjust your scheme. Once all component temperatures are within their respective norm, stop.

Internally, try to divide the airflow, using fans, according to component cooling requirements. Strategically, try to place the component’s fan blow direction in the direction of the airflow provided by the case fans. Many of the above points for case fan setup apply here as well.

Some known good mods
Extreme cable management mods, when done properly and by an one experienced in dealing with electrical wiring, is a very good mod. It clears the way for good airflow and presents a cleaner looking system. Connector replacing, cable grouping (by ties or within sleeving) and other such mods fit within this category.

Dust accumulation insulates components from the air intended to cool them. One way to overcome this is to constantly disassemble the PC and clean it. Depending on how dusty the PC’s operating environment is, this could be tiring. Another way is to install fan air filters. Only intake fans require a filter and they trap much of the dust entering a system. True, filters reduce and hinder airflow, but dust prevents heat transfer and constant cleaning is tiresome. Only you can decide whether the air filtering benefits outweigh the reduced airflow.
Note: Ghetto air filters can be created from stretching some regulare (not fishnet) pantyhose between the fan and the mounting

Noise suppression mods such as placing rubber grommets between a case fan and the chassis, secured by rubber screws are great. Not only cheap, they actually work. Another benificial mod, not applicable in windowed cases, is lining the case’s panels with sound suppression foam.

Yes this works. But it also traps hot air.

Some known bad mods
The first has to be the “placing a PC within a refrigerator” idea. This never works. Heat is never removed fast enough (try timing the cooling of a hot meal which, unlike a PC, is not a continuous heat generator), and condensation of vapor causes short circuits that fry the components.

Another mod that is disastrous is when one removes the case's perforated metal fan mounting (good), leaving an open hole with the fan exposed (bad). Some modders like to remove them in the pursuit of greater air-flow, which can be substantial. However, if you do this, make sure to cover it up with a metal grill or a clean cut of suitable wire mesh sandwiched between the fan and the opening, as those grills greatly reduce dust and foreign object intake and protect you from harm.

Some people believe in running a PC with its case open, or with no case at all. The idea is that since we are striving to get adequate air in the PC, this is best. No, all you do is destroy airflow and relying on simple convection, negating the case fans.

Want to bet my gpu temps are lower with both my side panels removed? I got a pc3-720 case, two 80mm intake in the front, two 80mm outake in the back but also 2x120mm sucking air through a rad on top off the case. Removing the sidepanels leads to cooler air going through my rad, the front fans still cool my hdd, and the back exhausts still pull warmer air from my pwm area. You're over generalizing allot I feel.

A final word
I believe I have covered the most important stuff in air-cooling a PC. If you have any corrections or have spotted any worthy of mentioning topics that I have overlooked, I encourage you to alert me so I can edit, edit and edit…

Typing something in word and placing it in the board text editor isn't as easy as you would think: formating goes all wrong...
Comments added in bold italic underlined text.
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:23 PM   #57
MegapowerXXL
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Thanks for writing this guide. I found it extremely informative and thanks for time and effort you put into it. I recently built my first system so this helped me understand what goes on with cooling.

Last edited by MegapowerXXL; 03-04-2009 at 09:29 PM.
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:32 PM   #58
rickoic
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I'm new to the forum, so I'm reading everything I can.

About not using a case at all, that's me. I use a filter designed for a humidifier and place the motherboard on top of it. Gives air flow to the bottom of the motherboard.

I have 6 computers sitting on tables with from stock cpu coolers to big coolers that use copper tubing to pull heat from the cpu to the disipation fan. At one end I have a floor fan that blows air across all the computers and gpu's. Ambient air is 76F maintained by a/c. Which means about a 5 degree swing on either side. Don't have any problems that I've come across with heat or dust accumulation.

Tks
Rick
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:33 AM   #59
aSilva
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awesome!, .... [on my way to look for my pc cover to close it up]... always thought it was a good dusty idea until now.. hehe
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:46 PM   #60
jajs
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aww. eyes hurting. but other than that, good guide
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