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 Post subject: Computer Armoire Modification for Cooling
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 7:28 am 

Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:54 pm
Posts: 3
...moving the discussion over from the SPCR Article Discussion forum...

I've recently moved a Shuttle XPC to a big Computer Armoire in our living room, which has created a noise and thermal challenge. I'm looking to replace the Shuttle with a quieter mini-tower, but in any case I have to figure out how to vent this beast properly since I do plan on having the computer running 24/7. My goal is that with the armoire closed up, the computer is nearly silent, and is also maintaining a safe temperature.

Here's the pictures of the current setup:


When everything's closed, airflow is limited to what can get around the front doors then escape through the cable management holes in the back. There are only two in the lefthand printer/tower compartment---the one in back and one that goes up to the top compartment. The one in back is on the printer side, and there is a round pass-through in the top/back of the vertical divider to allow cabling between the tower and printer compartments. The net result is that the back CPU fan is essentially pushing air into a small cubby, with no direct escape route.

If you look closely at the rear picture, you'll see that there is no kickplate on the bottom. This exposes two supports on the bottom which run front-to-back, and are positioned underneath the vertical partitions which make up the tower compartment in the middle. This should allow me to get air intake from underneath by cutting a bottom hole in the front of the tower compartment. Ideally you'd get airflow from the front of the armoire, but since I'm unwilling to chop up the front kick, air would be pulled from the back between the two supports.

In addition to front venting, some sort of rear vent would need to be cut. Seems to me the best place would be directly behind the 120mm fan in the Antec P150.

So ok, we've got intake in the front floor and better venting out the back. But my current assumption is that relying on the computer alone to move the air is probably not sufficient. Fine, so we add a quiet 120mm fan to the armiore, and there are two choices: the front floor vent or the rear vent.

Putting a fan on the bottom has a number of issues:
  • The wood is pretty thick, so mounting will be tricky.
  • Since I have that kick in the front, getting underneath to do the mounting will be nearly impossible.
  • I'd likely have to raise the P150 a bit to allow the air from the fan to easily flow up around it.
I suppose I could take the whole system apart and lay the bottom part on it's back to the mounting, but I'd rather avoid that.

Putting a fan in the back raises some airflow questions. Mainly, I want the airflow to be pulled mostly from the front vent, but there are several other sources of air that will compete.

What would folks recommend for a 120mm-ish grille for the passive vent (whichever side that might be)? I could hack a simple screen, but I think I'd want some reasonably-finished sheet-metal for the bottom. Not only would that look less messy, it should also be able to support the front feet of the tower, even if for short periods of time when I'm shifting the PC around to do wiring, etc.

So whaddya think:
  • Will the two vents likely be sufficient?
  • Front or back for the extra fan?
  • If front, any creative ideas for how I would mount?


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 11:19 am 

Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 5:20 am
Posts: 34
If I were doing this, I would say cut out the bottom of the cabinet where the case will sit, leave some supports and use some mesh, also cut out some holes in the back, directly behind the exhaust as well as at the back of the bottom to allow for some intake flow. Use a hole saw for a clean look, but since it's against a wall and really doesn't matter just use a jig saw.

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