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BENEFITS OF AN INTERNAL CASE FAN
The 120mm fan is in an optimal position to cool internal computer components. I installed a short plastic duct along with two louvers at the mouth of the cookie jar. (See three photos up.) This forces the air upward toward the AGP card, the large passive Heatlane Zen heatpipe-enhanced CPU cooler, the Northbridge heatsink... ultimately being sucked out of the computer by the bottom-mounted Fortron PSU fan. With a direct airflow, the Northbridge chip stays below 34°C, no matter how hot the CPU gets.
There are many benefits of an internal-mounted case fan.
The fan is well insulated acoustically from the outside. It is almost 18" from the filtered input opening, which is at the rear bottom of the computer. The intake track under the case is lined with 4mm acoustic foam, and the airflow makes four 90 degree turns before it reaches the fan, making for an extremely quiet intake system.
The hard-drives are completely isolated from any internal case heat. And since they have ambient temp airflow over them at all times, they stay very cool, no matter what. In this unit with an ambient of 22°C, I have never seen either driver go over 34°C, and they're quiet as a pin.
This internal case fan / cooling system complements the Heatlane Zen heatsink perfectly. It blows air upward through the Zen. But it could be also used with other heatsinks with similar results. The only problem one might have involves the specific case you are using. A case with a removable front bottom hard drive bay would be best. Otherwise you would have to cut it out.
The system is very quiet. How quiet exactly depends on the temperatures I am willing to run. If I leave the PSU fan and the cookie jar fan at 1400 rpm, the CPU maxes at about 50°C running CPUBurn stress testing. For normal use, I can set both fans about 1000 rpm: The CPU temp stays about 36°C, and I cannot hear it running at all. This is a heavily padded aluminum case, with two glass panes for the window and all the cracks sealed. It could be even quieter without the filter, as it does cause a bit of impedance, or if you slowed the fans a bit more and let things run hotter.
There are many benefits to this setup. It was easy to make, very cheap, and can be modified for different applications. Feel free to ask questions in the forums.
The system components:
ATI 9200 All-in-Wonder Fanless VGA card
A-Open MB AX4GE Max motherboard
Intel P4-2.66 CPU
Heatlane Zen heatsink
Fortron 300W PSU modded with an Evercool 120mm fan
Evercool Aluminum 120mm intake fan in a plastic Cookie Jar duct.
Hamilton Beach filter #04711 (uses 3M Filtrete filter material) $10
Home-made lower case (oak with gold colored castors) about $25
Generic no-name aluminum case $40
Interior case padding: Safety-Mat foam from Home Depot. $10
Case window: Picture frame from Office Depot with two glass panes $12
Interior Lighting: Twin blue lite-sticks from CompUSA $15
Fan Controller: SmartPanel model about $28
PS -- A few more photos for the curious...
EDITOR'S NOTE: For a complete understanding and details of the evolution of Carl / Bluefront's PC cooling and quieting methodology, I recommend reading through his previous articles, particularly the last:
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