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AIO radiator placement


FlyingDutchMan
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I am building 3800x system in a Meshify C case. The cases takes a 240mm rad on top or a 240/280 in front. I will be using the H115 Pro XT or the H100 Pro XT. I have the following two possible setups for the radiator and additional fans in mind.

 

1) 280 mm rad as front intake

2x120LL on top and 1x120LL in back as exhaust

(Optional 1x120 fan as bottom intake, avoid is possible)

 

2) 240 mm rad as top exhaust, switching the MLpro fans out for LL fans

2x140 fans as intake and 1x120mm LL fan as exhaust in the back

 

Problems with setup 1:

My main concern, not enough airflow into the case to keep positive pressure, esp when only GPU is under load and CPU stays cool which will cause the AIO rads to keep a low speed (Can I couple the rad fan speed not only to coolant temp but also to the case temp so the rad fans serve a dual function, cooling the CPU and providing enough airflow into the case?)

Can I couple the speed of the exhaust fans to the rad fans to make sure the exhaust flow is lower than intake (without the use of commander pro) so to maintain positive pressure?

Might have to install bottom fan for sufficient airflow, however that will open up my PSU shroud and not look as good.

 

Problems with setup 2:

Might not fit with my dominator platinum memory. And even when it fits, might block part of the RGB on the mem sticks.

Will heat up my AIO coolant temp more.

Will need 2 extra 140 mm fans. I really prefer 2x140 mm fans because the bottom fan will blow air directly under the GPU.

 

I am not familiar with iCUE so i am not sure what kind of fan solutions via fan curves are possible to maintain positive pressure in the case.

 

Any ideas about AIO/fan placement and possible iCUE fan curves are welcome. This issue has been bugging me for some time so I hope to finally figure it out so I can start building the PC.

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Here are some tips. If you are using a front mounted radiator for your AIO, try to position the radiator so that the tubes are at the top. This way your AIO pump can more efficiently move water with gravity. This is because the AIO pump is tiny and needs all the help it can get to move the heat away from the CPU.

 

See Linus for some explanation.

 

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Also another tip. If you use a "open" type GPU (GPU where the heatsink and fans are not enclosed in a housing and are fully open) then you want to have the radiator at the front of the case. This is because an "open" type GPU will make the surrounding air hotter and if you had the radiator set on top of your case, your CPU will increase in temperature due to the GPU.

 

See this video for more information and explanation.

 

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When I was searching the internet I also came to the conclusion that front would be better for cooling, however then I began to wonder if enough air would get into the machine from only the two 140 mm radiator fans which will have dust filter and radiator resistance.

 

Then I found someone (https://www.gamegrin.com/articles/aio-radiator-placement-does-it-matter/) with the same case as mine who tested a 280 mm in front and 240 mm on top and found the top one was better, however I am a bit puzzled by those results. In my case I would change the 120 mm fans with LL120 fans which will be less efficient than the ML140 fans, so I think going with the 280mm front intake would be better, although I cannot run the cooler in zero fan mode and always will have to run the fans at decent speed to keep airflow going into the case. I am thinking of getting some dust filters for the back openings in my case to minimize dust with negative air pressure.

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