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  #1  
Old 11-06-2017, 07:31 AM
Charlbotha Charlbotha is offline
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Default 3 x 120mm ML or 2 x 140mm ML Corsair fans

Hi Guys,

Just a quick question about fan configurations. I am looking at getting a new case that has better front ventilation for GPU and CPU cooling. The case I want is the Cougar Panzer (link below) which has space for 3 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans on the front panel. My GPU is a EVGA 1070 SC which has open style cooler. My question is which fan config would be best when taking into account cooling performance and noise generated as well. On a side note: I am going to buy a Corsair commander pro so I have the capacity to control up to 6 fans at the same time. My CPU cooler is a H100i GTX which has 2 x 120mm Corsair ML fans.

Thank you

https://cougargaming.com/us/products/cases/panzer/

Last edited by Charlbotha; 11-06-2017 at 07:32 AM. Reason: Added link
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Old 11-06-2017, 08:30 AM
c-attack c-attack is online now
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It likely depends on what you are looking for. In terms of sheer volume of air, 3x120 of most anything beats 2x140 of something else -- as long as you are willing to run the fans in the higher part of the RPM band. However, that is not necessary and in that case with a standard top radiator/rear exhaust configuration, your intake volume will always exceed what you can move out of the case. In short, you don't need nor should run the front fans flat out. It just won't help much.

So the next common question is which will move more air at a comfortable volume level. That is a very subjective term and you get into a quandary about which is louder, 2x140@800 rpm or 3x120@1100. Based on my use of them, it's more or less a tie with the advantage always going to using the fewer number of fans (2x140). That would be more or less equivalent airflow by the way.

So if it is all the same for normal use, how do you decide? I would make the decision based on the case fit and general aesthetics. This was a popular question on the Air 540 series case and my initial preference was for 2x140 to match my all 140mm fan case. It was fine and quiet, but as Summer rolled around for the first time, I thought my SLI set up was getting things a bit warm. I went to 3x120 and it made a big difference, not necessarily for specification volume, but because the 3x120 were more focused in exactly the right spots. A 120mm fan will generally be better at direct cooling on a near object. In that case, it was the middle fan shooting air straight between the two GPUs, something the 2x140 did not do nearly as well. Additionally, I had a m.2 drive down by the GPU #2 and the 120's knocked 5C+ off it in all states because the fan hit just right.

Some of that kind of stuff you can't know until you build and try things out. In a single 1070 case, I don't think it makes any difference what you do with the front. You cannot directly cool the GPU with front fans. They are too far away to hit the top backplate, but the overall airflow is necessary to exchange the air. If you have an m.2 drive that might bear some consideration. But looking at the schematics and pictures, it appears to me it was designed for 3x120 with very specific three slots in the front. That mesh also looks like it might be partially restrictive and the 120's may do better at moderate speed compared to a low speed 140. Also, this is not an instance where the rest of the case is going to 140mm and set for maximum quiet. You have 120's top and it looks like only a 120mm option rear. Might as well stick with 120's in the front. It gives you some utility in swapping fans into different positions, moving radiators to new spots, and if you did an upgrade to cooling, this case appears to like a 360 up top or in the front. So again, 120mm bias. That totals 6 fans, still within your C-Pro limit and of course 2 of them can stay on the H100i GTX and still be Link controlled.
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:42 AM
Charlbotha Charlbotha is offline
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Thank you for the reply.

I was leaning towards the 3 x 120mm option in front. That way I can adjust the middle fan to run a bit higher speed to feed the gpu with more air. I don't mind bit of extra noise if it gives me better thermal performance. I game with headphones on most of the time. I am also waiting for corsair to launch a 360mm AIO so I decided to buy it then I can use the ML120's on the rad as well.
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:47 AM
Charlbotha Charlbotha is offline
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I don't currently have a M.2 SSD, all my stuff is saved on a 1TB crucial 2.5" SSD. A am planning on getting a Samsung 960 (or newer) 250GB m.2 SSD somewhere in next year.
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Old 11-07-2017, 08:58 AM
c-attack c-attack is online now
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If you are not completely focused on the lowest noise possible, I would lean toward 3x120 for that case. It seems the natural fit and as mentioned it gives you a lot of versatility in swapping or moving fans around.

Direct cooling should be a non-issue on the Sam 960. Mine is often cooler than my SSDs and runs from 27-35C. The first generation m.2 drives are a lot more temperature sensitive. My Samsung 950 Pro would idle at 47C with 2x140. Any kind of sustained drive activity would take it up to the low 60's and close to the throttle point. 3x120 kept the warmest baseline around 40-42 and gave me that little extra margin needed. A lot of that is case and build specific. If you cover your m.2 drive with a GPU, no surprise it gets warmer. Some cases or boards have good or bad placements, but you don't need to be concerned until (or if) an issue arises.
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  #6  
Old 11-08-2017, 05:03 AM
Charlbotha Charlbotha is offline
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I see on my board (MSI Z97 Gaming 7) the m.2 slot sits beneath the the 2nd PCI-E x 16 slot so it should be an issue since I am not looking to SLI my 1070 anytime soon. Would just buy a newer more powerful single GPU
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