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Fan Configuration Questions


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Hello to all, I hope you're doing well.

I recently purchased some QL fans and a H115i RGB platinum AIO for my new build, and after years with AMD's FX8350 with H55 cooler (where things were simpler), now I have some questions about proper fan configuration.

My build is:

Lian Li O11 Dynamic XL ROG Certified

ASUS ROG Strix X570-E

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X

G.Skill Trident Z RGB 32GB


H115i platinum RGB AIO

2 x QL140mm RGB fans

1 x QL120mm RGB fan

plus 2 x M.2 NVMe and some SSD's.

I plan to setup the 2 140mm at the bottom as intake, blowing directly to the gpu, the 120mm at the back as intake also, and the AIO on top, blowing air out. Corsair suggests that the AIO should be installed as intake, but after doing some research online, even inside this forum, opinions seem to differ..

So, what would be the proper setup for the particular case and config?

Bottom intake, back intake and AIO top outtake?

Or AIO intake and back outtake? That seems the best scenario (and closer to instructions), but in that case there would be 4 140mm fans as intake and only 1 120mm as outtake and the heat produced by the radiator and the monstrous gpu could make things worse. And where to put AIO fans in this case? Above the radiator, pushing air in (that would hide them and cancel every RGB purpose), or below pulling air?

And what about fan speed control? How should I control the fans? (except AIO's that will probably be controlled by ICUE). RGB's will be controlled by the Node Core which is included with the fans, but how should I setup Q-FAN in my BIOS for proper curves? In this board I have the option to choose the temp reference for each fan header between CPU, Motherboard, T-Sensor (which is a header with a little cable sensor that I can stick anywhere to get temp, even in a GPU's crevice), and Multiple Sources.

So, what is the best reference temp for controlling the chassis fans (in any scenario about the back fan, intake or outtake), for a balanced cool and quiet setup?

Thanks in advance, any help would be appreciated.


(also, a lot of questions about RGB and ICUE and Aura and how all these will play along but that's the story of another thread..)

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Setting up the radiator "as intake" is general advice for the coolest temperatures, without regard for any other factors except intake air temperature vs cooling. As there are a massive number of configurations, it's impossible to make a blanket universal statement. There is a relationship between intake air vs cooling, but also the environment the radiator sits in will determine the minimum possible temperature. If you put the radiator in the top the case where the ambient air temp is 29C, the coolant will also be 29C with a zero watt load. On the other hand, you put it in the front rail were it is 2C cooler, you have lowered the baseline temp by 2C and theoretically all CPU temps by 2C. Most of the time these are the gains you are playing for or the difference in temperature between various zones of the case (the bottom is going to a few degrees cooler than the top even at idle).


However, GPU waste heat often overrides what would be valid configurations. If all your GPU exhaust is directed into the cooler (like a 120mm radiator in the rear slot), you will feel the heat on the CPU end as the radiator gets heated from this secondary source. Keeping the radiator away from the GPU is likely more important than intake or exhaust and finding a logical total case airflow matters.


The funny thing is you have 2 difficult things going on. 1) The O11D and XL are not standard cases by any stretch and have unique air patterns. 2) Neither case is very friendly toward 140mm fan sizes or 280mm radiators. The XL is better, but both set up for the 120mm size natively.


I just built a new XL this week. The only native place for the 280mm radiator is in the top. I think you can take out the radiator/fan try at the bottom and drill holes for the 280mm, but this seems really hard to recommend for a new case and I don't think for much gain. Also, the QL will look great down there as 3x120mm. I am looking at the side/vertical mount now and the manual says no. There are some side slots and I think it can be modded to work, but you would right against the glass. It's hard to recommend that either.


I think the best option for the hardware listed is to top mount the H115i as exhaust and slide it toward the front. Use an active 120mm fan in the rear exhaust to try and pull the GPU heat out that way. Bottom tray as intake. Side/vertical row as intake will give the radiator above a cool air intake source and also further push the airflow from front to back keeping the GPU heat out of that zone.


The T-sensor can be a good tool to make BIOS fan control more appealing vs the standard CPU temp roller coaster. Somewhere above the GPU is likely the best control source. Option 2 would be to get a Commander Pro to take on the rest of the case fans. It will have 4 temp probes and can also run from a huge list of other system sources like GPU or cooler temp.

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Thanks c-attack for your reply..


You had me thinking.. I was also leaning towards the setup you mentioned, but it seems that I didn't do my homework right about the 140mm fans and the 011-XL.


Maybe I should aim for the 360mm AIO?

I could swap it in the local store I bought it, I have it less than a week and didn't even unpack it yet. I see they have only the H150I PRO RGB not the XT, (can't say exactly which is better), and it will cost me 40€ more and some days to arrive, but what can I say..

The 140mm QL's are a little difficult to swap, because I just purchased them from the Corsair official site, (they're have not even arrived yet), so I have to use them one way or another.


Also you had me thinking to add another 120mm fan in the side/vertical row in the uppermost position, so it could blow fresh air to the rad above it. I was thinking to put some ssd's in that space in the first place, but I can install 2 of them below the fan instead, and the rest of them in the hidden chamber.


I will surely make use of the T-sensor and see how it goes, maybe tape it in GPU's hard backplate (or that would spike the fans whenever there is gpu load?)


Thanks again and stay healthy..

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In an O11 I would prefer a 360mm radiator and it is the natural fit. However, there isn't a lot of cooling potential difference between a 280mm and 360mm for a relatively power efficient Ryzen. You need to get into GPU 300W+ loads to start showing a difference. If you need to keep the QL140, then on the AIO is one place to put them. The H115i Platinum will also have its own RGB ML140 fans, so perhaps you find some balance by using the QL opposite from the ML140. I have seen some O11D pictures where the owner put a 280mm on the side vertical panel and I thought it looked really good. There likely are others who have already encountered these problems. In light of that, I wouldn't necessarily send the H115i back until you are sure. Also, the H150i XT is delayed and I have not heard any ETA. The H150i is an excellent cooler. Neither one have RGB fans included, so that is another consideration.


Don't let the T-senor probe end touch the GPU, but that is general idea. I might tape it to the rear exhaust or just a little above. You want it to resister a consistent and meaningful change so you can make a curve that is not over-reactive to each 1C of change. Too close to the GPU and you will pick up the inherent heat of the device and not really what it is doing to the rest of the case.


You will be able to put more SSDs in that case that you can imagine. There are an absurd number of placements. You will have 4 possible hot swap bays in back. You can secure it to the fold out strap. You can stick them on the bottom of the case. Almost anywhere. Unless you have one of those new RGB SSDs, I wouldn't feel like you need to put in a fan slot.

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