Last semester I was having serious trouble with my PII 333mhz, Voodoo3 3000, Enlight 7237 enclosed system. It would lock up while playing games, and sometimes just when I was programming in Borland C. For those of you who own a V3 card you are probably very aware of how hot they can get, even when youíre not in games. If you have one and you donít know what I am talking about, open up your case and stick a finger (preferably one you donít care too much about) onto the top of the card. Now Systemlogic is not responsible for any burns you receive, so it may be a good idea not to hold your finger there for too long ;)
Well, I got fed up, and decided to add some more fans. I ordered some Panaflos from www.2cooltek.com as well as some miscellaneous smaller fans. These puppies were the 120mm ones Iíve talked about before, theyíre nice and quiet, even quieter than you sneaking back into your house through your bedroom window at 4am (yeah I know about you ;) Well after performing some crazy surgery on my case I now have 3 120mm fans in there and 2 80mm fans (counting the one for the powersupply). I also now have my unlocked PII 333 on a 100mhz bus tooting along @ 400mhz, not bad, not bad. That V3 is still friggin hot tho!
Well enough for the life story. Case cooling is essential for a well operating system, it also kicks open the door and lays a solid foundation for the rest of the cooling of your systemsí components. What good does an Alpha P3125 do if your case temps are 40c anyways!! You have to have a cool case to begin with to really overclock using heatsinks (watercooling is another story, and Iíll get to that soon enough).
Cooling is all about airflow, you need to be the airsí master, you have to control it, tell it where to go. A very well observed practice in case cooling is to enter air at a low point in the case and since heat naturally rises get it to exit at the top. You also want to get the air to move over your hot graphics card (eg V3, yeah I know itís getting old, but that sucker burnt me pinky ;) and CPU.
A particular methodology which you might want to observe when adding case fans is the creation of blowholes. This is basically cutting out a hole large enough for the fan you intend to use, and mounting it there. Using them to intake air at the bottom and Ďblowí (hence blowhole) the hot air out of the top. This methodology I am ripping off everyone else who has done it before me, I think HardOCP (what does OCP stand for anyway?) takes credit for the first published one tho.
OH! a special treat for you today, my photographer has summoned the presence of some models, look out for them below in Step 2 Mod ;)
Step 1 Mod
I will be performing mods in three steps upon the FS020, the first one is semi stock, it simply involves cutting out the grills for the 3 120mm mounts. While this might not make all that much difference with airflow, perhaps only 6cfm (from 66) it will however make a larger difference in noise. You see, noise from a fan comes from two sources. Vibration and turbulence. Vibration from the fan will move onto the panels of your case and your panels will actually act like drums, resonating the vibrations from the fan. The way to eliminate vibration resonance is to isolate your fans from the case. The best way to do this is through grommets, which are available at any hardware store. I will use a more custom approach, involving cut up bicycle inter-tubes and rubber washers. This is perhaps the biggest noise maker. However one must not knock off air turbulence. This is especially important with hich CFM fans, like my Panaflos. To reduce turbulence you must get rid of anything restrictive in the path of the airflow.
So for Step1 of the mod I will basically decrease vibrations and decrease turbulence. This setup would just be slightly better than the stock method, so you can go ahead and take my measurements and apply them to the stock case as well if you so desire. The nice thing about 120mm fans is that you can take any cd and use it to mark your cutting hole, just remember to cut slightly inside of the circle and you shall have a perfect sized hole.
I stripped everything out of my case inorder not to get any stray metal fragments where they would do damage, and hauled that puppy downstairs. Eye protection is also a good idea. For the cutting I used a jigsaw with a fine toothed metal blade. Before I got to the jigsawing (verb?) I had to drill a starter hole using the biggest drill bit I have, a word of caution, a drill with a big drill bit becomes a monster, this puppy will pull, yank, toss, snag, just like that pesky chihuahua your grandma adores will at your pant leg. No seriously, take care. It is also good practice to apply some oil to your blade or to the case to keep the temp of the blade down, improving itís cutting ability. Blades also last much longer this way, as the metal does not heat up, becoming softer. After you are done cutting make sure you clean out all the metal shards, getting metal shards across the wrong electrical joint could easily foul your motherboard or anything electrical in your case. Here are some pics of the finished product before assembly. Click to enlarge:
One thing to note about this Step Mod is that you will be drawing air in through the vents on the side panels, as you have 2* 120mm fans and 1* 80mm fan pumping air out but only 1* 120mm fan pumping air out. This is what I would call semi controlled air flow, as itís coming in wherever it can, not exactly where I want it to, which would be over the processor and graphics card.
>> Step 2 Mod