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Air 540 and front mounted radiators


c-attack

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I'm looking to join the 540 owners club, but in researching the case I've noticed the overwhelming majority of single radiator/water set-ups have a 240 mounted at the top (presumably as exhaust). Coming from a case with virtually no front air intake, I am excited to try a fresh air intake water set up and not use the water cooling system as exhaust again. The ability to put a 360 on the front is intriguing. Is there some reason most people are sticking their rads on the roof? Clearance issues with long graphics cards? (I plan to use a 980 and a sealed, non-custom water set up on the CPU) Awkward hose run back to the CPU block? Aesthetics with the front fans?

 

It seems like you could use the back 120/140 fan slot for intake instead with a top exhaust rad to help with air quality. Anyone using ACX style graphics cards in this set-up? Thoughts appreciated.

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Thanks, I noticed you referenced your dual rad 540 build in another post. I do like that potential feature of the case. However, this will be my first complete ground up build, and never having done a custom water job before, I don't think I want to try that at the start.

 

What I was more curious about is on this site, or even looking at a quick google image search, the overwhelming majority of single radiator builds have a 240/280 on the roof of the case, with airflow fans 140x2 or 3x120 bringing air in the front. It seems like far too strong a percentage to be coincidence, so I was hoping any 540 owners could share their thoughts on the matter.

 

Did people calculate the unobstructed front air intake was more valuable to case temps than cooler air passing through the radiator? Coming from a sealed case with poor airflow, I guess that's hard for me to imagine, but certainly possible.

 

It does look like it would take some planning to route the radiator hoses from the bottom of a 360 around the end of the graphics card and then to the block. Possibly too long for some AIO coolers, but without the case it's hard for me to predict the length.

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Yes, I am definitely talking about single radiator, closed-loop AIO set-ups (H100/105/110). Hard to make generalizations about custom loops. I am already sold on the case. The top just isn't where I would have thought to put the rad, but perhaps I am biased by my current set-up. I found some very good pictures for anyone else planning a water cooled 540 build. And now that I've seen more shots half-way through assembly, I feel the top is just begging for something to be up there without having to make a cosmetic sacrifice with fans along the front obscured by the radiator. Perhaps everyone else came to the same conclusion.

 

http://m.hardocp.com/article/2013/07/07/corsair_carbide_series_air_540_computer_case_review/5#.VJCiMyvF98F

 

That starting page mid-article has a nice portfolio of mounting locations with various size coolers. But what is also interesting is what's on the following page. It has a useful thermal measurement of the case at idle and at load, including all the nooks and crannies. Their set-up is standard front 140's, none up top, and an air cooled CPU. The temps around the memory sticks where the top radiator fans would draw air is only 3 deg C higher at load. A testament to how well the case exchanges air. It will be nice not to need additional MB fans this time around.

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c-attack: That's an awesome article! It makes me question whether or not I could do a push/pull with an H100i or H105 from the top though since my mobo has an 8 pin connector at the very top. I might try for the front mounted intake solution that I was originally planning on doing.

 

This is by far the most helpful post I've seen for how to plan my case layout. Thank you for posting this!

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In the Air 540 I'd definitely mount an H100i/H105/H110 to the top of the case. Cool air comes in the front of the case, goes through the radiator and hot air is exhausted out of the top. If you mount in the front, the hot air being exhausted through the radiator will go right back into the main chamber and could heat up your graphics card(s).
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I'm not too worried about that, Gigabyte's 970 windforce is rated to take a lot more heat that it actually produces. Not to mention that the heat coming in is unlikely to be any worse than an air cooler blowing around hot air that can't be entirely disapated with typical exhaust fans right away. In this config with the 540 though, the AF140L's would be mounted as top and rear exhausts creating negative pressure and quickly dipsersing much of the warmer air being brought in.

 

This guy has some charts showing CPU and GPU temps. When the rad was mounted on the top of the system as a push intake without filters the CPU temps were at their lowest, meanwhile, the GPU temps never went up more than 2 degrees between intake and exhaust. IIRC, his case doesn't have nearly the airflow that many Corsairs do.

 

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