Define Mini front fans (w/ full cages)

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Define Mini front fans (w/ full cages)

Post by VECCTOR » Wed May 15, 2013 1:16 pm

I'm trying to choose some new front fans for a Fractal Define Mini (acting as NAS and HTPC, among other things).

I'm filling up all 6 slots with hard drives and so keeping air going over them with the two front fans is a concern (as is noise). The things that I think are particular to this situation are the fan filters and the proximity of the fans to the drive cages.

The cages are oriented sideways and only have some thin holes for air to pass above the hard drives. They are located directly next to the front fans, with just a few cm between the fans and the cage. Also, the filters on the front are a pretty fine metal mesh, so that is in the mix as well.

What would be the best type of 120mm fans to push air through this area? I think case fans are usually recommended assuming a more open environment, which I am not sure this is. Is it restricted enough that I need to take it into account? I have been looking at various fan reviews, but I am not sure which parameters are most important in this situation.

Pictures of the filters and front area (air is pulled in from the sides of the front panel):

Pictures of the drive cage and it's location (with cage vent size and spacing easy to see):

Other parameters: I won't be adjusting the fan speed; this will be sitting in a corner so I just want to set it and forget it. There is no "high load" situation I would want to turn them up for, but the drives will see a decent amount of use, there are a lot of them, and these fans are also the intakes for the whole case. I have the fan controller that came with the case, but I'd rather not use it because its position is awkward.

In case it matters, the box has a Noctua NH-C14 heatsink (with only the top fan on), a passive Seasonic PSU, and a passive AMD HD 6450 vid card. The hard drives are all WD Red 3TB. I was planning on using one of the Fractal stock fans for the rear fan slot, but I guess I am open for suggestions for a replacement there too if it makes sense.

Thanks for any suggestion you might have!

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Re: Define Mini front fans (w/ full cages)

Post by HellDiverUK » Thu May 16, 2013 4:44 am

I ran a Define Mini as my NAS/server for a while. Used the two supplied fans in the front, controlled by FanXpertII on my Asus board. No other fans were fitted, leaving the rear fan hole empty and top fan holes plugged. Drives never went over 40C (20C ambient air temp). The fans rarely went past 1200rpm.

It's a very nice case for a server, I still have my case, and I keep toying with going back to it for that use.
Workstation: i5-4690K@4.7GHz, Asus Z97I-Plus, 8GB Kingston DDR3-1600, Crucial M500 480GB, WD1003FZEX, Win7
Server: i3-4350, AsRock E3C224D2I, 16GB ECC, Intel 520 180GB, 2x Toshiba 5TB, 2xWD50EFRX, Server 2012R2, Stablebit Drivepool
HTPC1: TranquilPC ABEL H2, i3, 4GB DDR3L-12800, Crucial M4 128GB mSATA, Win7
HTPC2: Akasa Euler, DH61AG, Pentium G620, 4GB DDR3L-10666, Crucial M4 64GB mSATA, Win7

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Re: Define Mini front fans (w/ full cages)

Post by QUIET! » Mon May 20, 2013 7:36 pm

In my opinion, if you have the fan headers low rpm pmw fans are the way to go. You can set the speed in bios or a fan utility depending on your motherboard.

Don't get too hung up on cfms, WD reds run cool and you only need enough air going in to keep the interior temp reasonable and that's not much (air can still cool a heatsink on the second and third pass...).

If you want to worry about something: cable routing.

Give your air flow a nice easy path through the case, not a maze of spaghetti.

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Re: Define Mini front fans (w/ full cages)

Post by Abula » Mon May 20, 2013 7:50 pm

If you are searching for good case 120mm fans for your mini, i would recommend to check SPCR Fan Roundup #6: Scythe, Noiseblocker, Antec, Nexus, Thermalright, from the review the top two were,

Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe M12-S1 120mmx25mm Ultra Silent Fan - 850 RPM - Atm my favorite 120mm fan, but its expensive.
Scythe GentleTyphoon GT12 800rpm D1225C12B2AP-12 - This fan is very hard to get in US now as scythe close their US office so there is no supply atm

Other good options that are cheaper,
Nexus BASIC D12SL-12 120mm Case Fan - 1000rpm - Is one of the standards of spcr although some swear the orange are better.
Scythe Slip Stream 120mm x 25mm Fan - 800 RPM (SY1225SL12L) - This imo is a very decent fan for what it costs, slipstreams make really good case fans overall, you can still undervolt them.
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StreaMi - Intel i9 7940X + AsRock X299 Taichi + Asus GTX1080Ti Strix | WorkMi - AMD 1950X + AsRock X399 Taichi + MSI GTX1080
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Re: Define Mini front fans (w/ full cages)

Post by VECCTOR » Tue May 21, 2013 1:20 pm

Yeah, maybe I am over-thinking it. I just thought the tight space between the fans and cages might need require something different than the usual open-air case fans. Most of the reviews are either testing the fans in open air or testing them directly attached to a heatsink, with differing optimum choices for each. It seems like this is sort of in between, which is why I asked.

Thanks for your input!

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