Advice on correct setup
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Author:  preacher [ Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Advice on correct setup

I am just waiting for the final bit to come in my new build. I'm doing a powerful but silent pc for working on, no gaming so using onboard HD3000 graphics.

Parts list:
Lian Li A05FNB case
Seasonic X-560 PSU
AS Rock pro4 mATX mobo
i5 2500k (won't be clocking it)
i30 cooler
8gb gskill 1600MHz ram
Creative xfi pro sound card

The case has a reversed airflow with the psu at the front.
At the moment the rear intake fan is an inch away from the i30 fan which, pushes air across the heatsink. I intend to fit the i30 with the fan the other way so it comes from the intake, the i30's fan sucks air across the heatsink, and out to the exhaust.

Is this sensible?

I'm also unsure if I should fit the psu with fan facing up or down? Right above the psu is a solid hardrive cage so I don't know how this affects things.

There's also a space for a fan at the top of the case I could use as an intake or exhaust.

I do want it as silent as possible so have bought some self adhesive floor tiles I intended to cut and line the case with. Are these still good to use or is there something better? Will they affect the thermals inside the case??

I know this is a long post but I have tried to choose my components carefully (and totally blew my budget on the psu), I just need to be able to configure it properly

Author:  Das_Saunamies [ Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on correct setup

If you intend to use the PSU as an exhaust, I'd say fit it the way that points the fan towards the center of the case: that's where the air you want to get moving is. As a rule of thumb I'd say if you can't fit your hand between the HDD cage and PSU, then it's too tight to get good airflow going, so you can forget anything except the official orientation suggested in the case manual.

A "pull" fan on a heatsink is less effective than a "push" fan. However the heatsink weighs 900 g (assuming with fan), which suggests it should be up to the task even with just a "pull" fan, especially with a cool intake blowing right at it (not necessarily across it if the fin spacing is tight).

I would try to use the case without a top fan first - especially if you can block the vent/hole, since less holes means less noise escaping. It'll be an option later if you find the thermal performance lacking.

Floor tiles are a tried and true method of adding mass to a case. Affordable too, and especially good for absorbing vibration (HDDs). I would personally go for some acoustic foam+mass panels/foam/tile instead, like AcoustiPack. They have products made specifically for PC use, which usually means less smells and mess involved.

Author:  preacher [ Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on correct setup

Thanks, have added some acoustipack to my amazon wish list, going to see how loud it is before spending £60 on it (I will next payday).

I'm thinking of moving my WD Green storage drive to a 5.5" bay with an adapter, then I can remove the HD cage and have the psu any way I want!

With the case being quite short and the exhaust bang in the middle at the front (right above the PSU (strange layout I know), is it still needed to have the psu facing with fan up? The fan doesn't come on until the load goes above 20% anyway so will be off a lot.

I just wish you could buy a USB 3 upgrade for my p180!

Author:  Das_Saunamies [ Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on correct setup

That HDD move might be an idea, as long as it doesn't vibrate the aluminium case too much. I actually came across another setup using that or a similar case, and there the HDD cage was removed and the PSU was facing up. Strange indeed.

I don't know if the PSU's exhausting is absolutely needed in this setup, but I guess it couldn't hurt. The fan being right there might affect the PSU though: since the exhaust is going into a constricted space (the front panel), depending on the pressure created it might start pushing into the PSU if it's off. At the same time the breeze past the PSU might start sucking air past the then-off, top-facing PSU fan and increasing the amount of hot exhaust being pulled through the PSU's exhaust - in effect reversing airflow here too and creating a little loop. Once the PSU fan spools up, the fans will be fighting for the same air path, and fighting each other with backpressure in the exhaust section.

Maybe it's best to put the PSU like Lian Li intended it, so it has fresh intake at least, even if the backpressure-fed exhaust might still get in. Now the design just starts to feel stupid. :roll:

And the P180 is a champ, but it is such a monolith and a pain in the backside to move around. And as you say no USB3. That Lian Li case, even with acoustic material installed, is probably going to be a lot easier.

Author:  preacher [ Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on correct setup

Ok now I'm totally confused on what to do!

Just to get things straight in my head, is the psu fan an intake? If so I guess I could leave the hard drive bay in place as this would shield the psu from its airflow.

I cancelled my order as it hadn't been dispatched yet and ordered the x-660 for an extra £10. Thought the extra juice might make it run cooler as I will be at most on 50% load. Luckily this psu seems to run quite cool so I'm hoping it won't be too much of an issue.

I was thinking of making a duct from my CPU to the top fan as an exhaust but didn't know if this would affect the airflow for the rest of my bits. God I'm getting confused with it all!!

At least with the p180 it was easy, follow the advice on the article and tape up the holes around the psu cage, take the fan out the bottom chamber and block the top fan!

Author:  Das_Saunamies [ Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on correct setup

preacher wrote:
Just to get things straight in my head, is the psu fan an intake? If so I guess I could leave the hard drive bay in place as this would shield the psu from its airflow.

It is meant to exhaust air from the case and the PSU, so it is an exhaust fan by design and function (technically, it is also the PSU's intake fan). The fan still has an intake side and an exhaust side, i.e. input and output, a.k.a. pull and push.

Since the expected load is so small, both PSUs would more than likely run about as hot or cool. It's not the worst investment in the world, but it is serious overkill.

Ducting isn't a bad idea, but it shouldn't be necessary here. Diminishing gains and all that. I think the confusion is the result of the wonky airflow setup... in fact, I don't see any reason not to tell Lian Li to shove it and wire the fans up in the regular pattern. The HDDs would have fresh air, you could put the cooler fan on the right way around and all would be well. Wouldn't even need the top vent for anything.

Tape sounds like a good idea to keep out dust. Hope the case comes with a vent cover for the top too.

PS. SCRATCH THAT. Because of the stupidity that is the Lian Li PSU placement in this case, you would have it blow its hot exhaust straight into the intake at the HDDs. God is this thing dumb. Just go with the standard setup and hope for the best. :D

Author:  preacher [ Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on correct setup

When I was researching a new case this one is supposedly the smallest mid tower case and the best cooling solution when you don't use a graphics card. Part of me is tempted to sell it and go for a different case but spent too much on the upgrade it's going to have to wait a couple of months!

The top fan slot has a cover for when it's not used so that isn't too much of a problem. Will go with standard setup and see what temps are like. So that's psu fan facing downwards, acting as a pull rather than push intake, and going out the vent at the bottom of the case.

I had my p180 since not long after it came out, don't think I will have this as long..

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