Jump to content
Corsair Community

Some Questions Around Fan and Radiator Placement

Recommended Posts

Hello. Long time listener, first time caller.


I'm trying to figure out ideal fan and radiator placement on my first build. I'm building in the Corsair 280X case. I have plenty of room underneath the case for unrestricted airflow out of the bottom.


Assuming I can route all of the tubing, my question focuses on airflow and is a two-parter:


Part 1


My current, very simple setup runs a bit hotter than I'd like, so I'm considering adding more fans (not rads) to the bottom. What is the best configuration considering my top radiator?





Part 2:


I do think I need to add another radiator to the mix, or do a push-pull configuration. It runs warmer than I would like with only the one. Any thoughts on the configurations+airflow below? I've also included a comedy option where I install another radiator+fan in the rear compartment (I've tested it, it does fit!), have it exhaust into the main compartment:




Appreciate any advice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The dual radiator front/top placement, bottom/front intake, top exhaust? I suppose the theoretical argument against that is you are dumping the exhaust heat from one radiator into the other. That puts the top radiator at a disadvantage for cooling. At idle, you might even see an increase in coolant temp as it passes through the top.


However, in any small build there are always compromises and if you could do a perfect build in a mid 280X, no one would need a bigger case. The only way I see to get around that would be to do a 'reverse flow' with the top/front radiators as exhaust and the bottom fans as intake. This only works if that GPU is full liquid and part of the loop. Bottom fans bring in cooler air and give some of the MB components a breeze (like M.2 drives). Top radiator will also draw in outside air from the rear venting. In a full water system, most of the internal heat will be GPU backplate, RAM, and VRM. However, it's not going to heat the case. I ran my Air 740 this way for quite a while until I did something stupid and bought a monstrously large 2080 Ti that ruined it. I have yet to do better in that same case with alternate 2x280 placement limited to top/bottom because of GPU length. And that is my other recommendation. You could do top/bottom 280mm radiator intake, front fan exhaust. I don't like it quite as much as the first suggestion because it leaves the rear in limbo and using top intake sometimes doesn't get you as much as you think. The air above my case is usually 2C warmer than the other air in the room, just from the PC itself throwing it off.


I would stay with what you have done for a few weeks and get your data. Then you can try flipping the front fans around to compare. That seems like the easiest step, although moving anything in small build is not often easy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having another radiator is always a good option.


I would have the fans on the top as *intake*. The glass top of the 280X will be an obstruction in getting heat out and, as a result, you'll have heat build up at the top. This will make cooling more challenging.


Add fans to the bottom as exhaust. Don't get all tied up around the whole "heat rises" ... convection is only a factor when you don't have other, stronger, overriding factors (like fans).


BTW - I have my 280X set up with bottom exhaust, top intake. It's a small case; it'll be a little warm. You can't get around that. But having the bottom as exhaust will help get the heat out of the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...