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Old 26th August 2008, 3:02 PM   #1
Lardman Thread Starter
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Arrow The Big Air Cooling Sticky!

Why? Because there really isn't a "proper" place / thread for people to ask their questions about air cooling.
What fan / HSF to buy, what case, etc.

If you find anything of interest, or you feel should be included, post it up and I'll add it

For specific Intel coolers please refer to this thread.

Useful Sites & Links
CPU HS/F Reviews
Quiet Computing
GPU HSF Reviews
Fans, Misc Coolers
Where to Buy
  • CoolPC - There are some reviews here as well.
  • PC Case Gear - I (And many others) get our stuff from here.
Guides, How-To, And innovative tricks
The Basics:
Ok, now that you see all the links... We'll start off with the simple stuff here.




Get Off my case, man!
What case should I get?/What am I looking for in a case?

First of all, what do you want to do with it? Quiet? Home Theatre? Server? Ultimate gaming beast that makes all your 16yo High school buddies drool and be like "Woah, sick rig, dude!

Aesthetic is up to you. But as for the basics:

A case generally want to do this for you:
  • Hold your computer-y bits, in a way that specific cases are designed for. For example, test benches are designed to sturdily hold your kit and let you swap it out easily.
  • Provide shielding from noise, dust, and magnetic interference. Also grounds all your computer bits. (to a degree)
  • Allowances for airflow to cool your precious components
  • Offers connectivity/convenience - This is subjective, for the most part. I use the USB on my keyboard more, arguably.
  • Good quality fans, components and connectors. The extras - The Fractal R4 comes with a very nice rudimentary fan controller that fits in a little slot at the back, for instance.

From different perspectives, the focus of what you want it to do will change. Want 12 hard drives? Get a case that takes lots of hard drives and still has space to comfortably insert cooling fans.

Gaming rig for LANs? It will be smaller, or have a window. They will also have vents all over the place, generally, and use a mesh front or have very clearly visible intakes and lots of free airflow. Nowadays, it's not too difficult to make things quiet with a gaming rig, but you still do need to pay a little attention to your cooling setup in order to do this well.

HTPC? Will often be small, quieter and not designed for more grunty components.

As a general rule though, what you want is the following:
  1. Minimal restriction on your airflow vents
  2. Indirect paths for airflow - things like a case door can heavily reduce noise. Up to you though.
  3. Sturdy construction. Rattles annoy everyone, everything, and may be responsible for bodily harm.
  4. Airflow 'paths' within the case - Generally, you want to be able to visualise where the air will go
  5. Good quality fans - if you don't want to buy extras, anyway.
  6. Dust filters. They're not a necessary thing, but they're awesome and make things much less messy.
What case should I look at buying for best airflow / least noise?
This is mainly a popular list at this stage.
Airflow
  • CoolerMaster CM690
  • CoolerMaster CM590
  • Coolermaster Cosmos S
  • Coolermaster Haf932
  • Lian Li PC-60 ArmourSuit
  • NZXT Khaos
  • NZXT Tempest
  • Antec 300
  • Antec 900
  • Antec 1200
  • ThermalTake Armour
  • Coolermaster Cosmos series
  • SilverStone TJ07
  • Corsair Obsidian

Silence
  • Antec Sonata III, II
  • Antec P182B & SE & P183
  • Antec P280
  • Fractal Design R2/R3/R4
  • CoolerMaster Cosmos S
  • Silverstone FT/RV series

Coolers:
What cooler should I get?
If all the above reviews don't help, basically my reccomendation would be to go with whatever suits you for how you want your build - the difference in reality isn't gigantic, and generally your case will also be an equally important factor.

Good example (albeit abit strange), I picked up a Zalman CPNS9700NT because it receives additional airflow from a side case fan due to it's fin design. My results is the side fan lowers temps a few degrees further under load too. Note the situational use of the design.

People may pick the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme because of it's raw cooling performance and capability to use a push-pull fan configuration (A fan in front pushing air in, and one in the rear pulling out).

In the end, it's up to you if you want it for looks, performance, or airflow redirection, it's entirely up to you. Pick wisely, and you can't go wrong.

Important things to take into consideration:
  1. Height releative to the width of your case
  2. Obstructions - If you have a small formfactor case, you may want a low cooler as some of the power supplies sit over the CPU area
  3. Size - Some coolers are obstructed by the RAM slots on some motherboards
  4. Airflow/Cooling solution - Do you want to use an all-in-one water cooling solution? In which case that makes it easier, but also consider your RAM heatsinks, etc that may need airflow and live off the secondary airflow of your CPU cooler. In most cases you don't suffer any extreme temperatures, but if in a hot climate it may be food for thought. Overall airflow 'pathing' through your case solves this somewhat as well.

Don't forget, you may want to pick up a Third party Thermal Interface Material (TIM) - Arctic Silver 5 and ICD7 seem to be the popular ones around the place.


A list of some popular coolers: [Note: In no particular order]
  • Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme
  • Arctic Cooling Freezer Extreme
  • Noctua NH-C12
  • Noctua NH-U12
  • OCZ Vendetta 2
  • Scythe Ninja 2
  • Scythe Ninja Mini
  • Xigmatek Achilles S1284
  • Xigmatek HDT-S1283
  • Zalman CPNS9700NT
  • Prolimatech Megahalems

All-in-one Watercooling solutions

As the title says - Corsair, Coolermaster and a few other brands now are coming up with some very nice All-in-one solutions that are essentially a pump/waterblock combo piped into a 120 or 240mm rad, packaged with fans.

Some of these are designed to work with the fans they came with and have slightly different connections, but for the most part you can use whatever fan may suit your needs - be it grabbing expensive Noctua units to getting those blingy LED things because you like your room to look slightly irradiated.

Either way, they're a good thing and from experience, quite reliable. Some also have software you can play with from your PC to monitor things.

Fans:

Noise Reduction: Sleeve Vs Ball Bearing
Ball-Bearing fans are generally more reliable, and as such more commonplace (albeit more expensive.) They don't have any positional requirements either.

Sleeve bearing fans are quieter when they're Vertical (IE, fan blowing across a table, as opposed to up or down.) The Zalman F3 120mm is a nice cheapie ($10) that does really well for the price, fantastically quiet. Apart from this, there isn't too much difference between the two types.

Specific Topics of Interest:
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Last edited by Lardman; 19th April 2013 at 1:19 PM. Reason: Lots of updates. WIP.
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Old 28th August 2008, 6:55 PM   #2
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Nice thread Lardman, I would like to see this one kept alive.

Oten overlooked or misunderstood is TIM application, here's a good exploration:

Best Thermal Paste Application Methods
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Old 29th August 2008, 9:23 PM   #3
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I like this idea - it mightn't be exactly what you're looking for but here's a few:

- http://www.heatsink-guide.com/ - kinda old, and doesn't appear to be updated anymore, but handy for general theory stuff.

- http://www.cpemma.co.uk/index.html - Even more esoteric, but some good practical (and even quite advanced) stuff.
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Old 30th August 2008, 12:33 PM   #4
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I think this will be very handy when referring people to (aftermarket) air cooling solutions, in both cpu and gpu.
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Old 30th August 2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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Cant forget about http://www.frostytech.com/
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Old 30th August 2008, 1:01 PM   #6
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wow awesome, people actually noticed it

I'll update these when I get home

EDIT: Bang, updated! thanks for te support guys.
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Old 30th August 2008, 5:29 PM   #7
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Ah theres nothing like the sound of a jet engine comming from your PC in the morning

I find the humming sound from the fans relaxing. But I have Tinnitus (Constant ringing in the ears)..lol..

Its more of a store, but they know their cooling, and do have reviews:
http://www.coolpc.com.au/

But like Smakked said "Aircooling is for real men only pussys use watercooling"

Go one try an get you CPU's that far overclocked on cooling, I dare you..
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Old 30th August 2008, 5:41 PM   #8
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Awesome thread man, alot of good reading here
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Old 30th August 2008, 5:46 PM   #9
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Nice work. How about adding fan controllers?
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Old 30th August 2008, 7:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamalH View Post
Awesome thread man, alot of good reading here
Thanks
@ Breech: Theres not too many things about fan controllers. The most I can do is say that http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?...oducts_id=5442 is one of the most powerful ones out of the 2/3 I've had... It's powering 4x 140mm and 2x 120m in my PC at the moment, without any issues.

I'll look around for more reviews and add as I go along
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Old 30th August 2008, 8:12 PM   #11
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Just need to see some set-ups now.

The sickest fans I have seen to date would have to be Deltas:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...eltas-way.html

Have a look at the Video in post 73 damn these things move air (cfm) but are so NOISY:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...tas-way-3.html
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Old 30th August 2008, 8:15 PM   #12
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There's a lot of good info on xtremesystems.org air cooling forums, have a look.
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Old 30th August 2008, 8:18 PM   #13
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iirc chainbolt had a couple of those things, or maybe one was raucous enough for his needs. got levitation?
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Old 30th August 2008, 8:18 PM   #14
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I'll post a photo of my setup for an example in abit, I suggest people do the same. Lets get some air cooled setups displayed for us more simple-minded ocers... :P
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Old 30th August 2008, 9:34 PM   #15
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Here's mine. I was only using 1 of 5 5.25" bays and my front panel is foam lined (filter) so I ghetto strapped an extra 120mm inlet fan in the empty bays to give me 2 x 120mm inlets:



Any air cooling thread has to have this link:

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN MEMORY COOLER

So I made that for increased cooling and to add to my internal flow dynamics. The CPU has the old CNPS9500:



I have the PSU and rear case fan as the exhaust:



I went on an Air cooling mod run not long ago and dropped load temps by 10C:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...oad-9-10c.html

Another very good link is a no-nonsense, non-girly lapping guide that actually discusses the "theory" and method of lapping and actual desired outcomes (shiny aint what it is all about!):

http://www.thetechrepository.com/showthread.php?t=71
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