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Recommendations on fan settings for a 4090


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My Current set up, I've never actually owned a half decent PC in all my life and treated myself when I landed a new job and this is going to need to last me a while.

 Case: Corsair 700D - CC-9011218-WW  

PSU:  1200 w Corsair - CP-9020254-AU  


CPU: Intel Core i9 13900K

GPU: Nvidia 4090 ( ASUS TUF-RTX4090-24G-GAMING )  

RAM : 2 x 32 gb DDR 5  (Corsair  CMH64GX5M2B6000C40)  

Primary Partition: 2 TB SSD ( WD - WDS200T2XHE )

OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Home




CPU Cooling:

CPU Corsair iCUE H170i ELITE CAPELLIX XT Liquid CPU Cooler- This is ceiling mounted. ( in ICUE is denoted as first 3 fans and guessing also the pump)

Case fans:

Front : 3 x Noctua 140mm NF-A14 PWM chromax all on same controller/grouped as intake on the front.

Rear: 1 x Noctua 140mm NF-A14 PWM chromax in the rear as outtake.

Side: In the side panel 4 x Noctua 120mm NF-A14 PWM Chromax all on same controller/grouped



So originally I did not have the side fans in the build. Everything was great thing ran quiet was super cold though like a fridge and possibly not optimal was all on default.  I live in Australia and I’m kind of expecting a hot summer around the bend. I removed the front drive bay to allow for better airflow on the front 3 fans and thought Ill  add some additional side fans. 4x 120 ml fans. My thoughts were to have the side fans kick in only when needed.


I went in to the ICUE which I’ve never used to manage fans before and stopped each fan to identify and label it.

 Now in doing so I inadvertently lost whatever the default configs were. In hindsight should have taken a screen grab.

There are some default options. Quiet, balanced, extreme. None of which seem great.

I was able to configure some alerts and a custom curve for the side fans to kick in.


Before the PC didn’t even break a sweat playing FPS games on high settings and now it pants like a dog, have tried on all settings including extreme.

Its also rather noisy now.  I’m getting coil whine just flicking through menu options even when idle in game.

Also every so often I hear something winding up. It almost sounds like an old style drive when it kicks into action for a read write but a lot louder and I cant identify where its coming from.

There’s no rhyme or reason to it that I can sleuth.


I feel like I have the right cooling options I just need some help and advice recommendations for settings and config of the fans.

This machine is a work PC by week day and doesn’t need high end specs most of the time but some evenings and weekends it really needs them.


Appreciate any input and guidance. I'm out of my depth here and sincerest apologies for the essay.


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I am assuming you are using powered PWM hubs for the front 140x3 and side 140x4.  If you used unpowered "spliters", you are going to cause the controller issues and likely get some erratic behavior in return.  


Before you installed CUE it was likely running it's original 'suppressed mode'.  It is rather quiet, but then it's not doing much cooling either.  Fortunately, you have full control over each fan or fan group now.


First step is get off the presets -- or at least the preset setting.  For whatever reason, Corsair does not like to show you the RPM vs Temp control points in the preset, which makes its behavior a bit mysterious.  However, they are in the program and visible somewhere else.  

1) Go to "Cooling" for the H170i and click on the yellow + tab.  This will create a new fan curve and a graph down below.

2) Go to the "Sensor" choice at the bottom and change it to "H170i Temp".  This is coolant temperature in the AIO.

3) Under the graph in the right corner are several shape tools.  These are copies of the 3 presets plus a free form curve.  They are all adjustable free-form curves, so go ahead and click on the second from the left that represents the Quiet preset.  My shot is from a Commander Pro so it will look slightly different, but now you have a something you can see and start making fine adjustments when needed.



4) You don't have to have the same fan curve for every fan in the case, but using the H170i Temp is a good way to do it.  The coolant temperature is directly affected by internal case ambient temp.  If you raise the internal case temp +5C, then coolant temp also goes up +5C.  It does not require a heavily loaded CPU state to make the fans get going.  If you heat up the case with the GPU, the fans will respond as well because that too will increase coolant temp.  If neither the CPU or GPU is doing anything special, the fans will stay steady.  This is a better method than setting things to CPU or GPU temperature where the fans spike/relax from moment to moment as load level changes.  Additionally, the Commander Core controller can read the coolant temp sensor with or without the software running.  That should prevent max fan bursts when you boot/shutdown.  You likely will want different fans curves for your 140 and 120mm fans.



The basic idea is you want the fans to run at some low level when you are not doing anything and a comfortable medium speed when you are.  Next time you cold boot , look at the H170i Temp.  It will start at room temp the moment you press power, but then generally creep up to +4-6C above that over the next 15 min depending on hardware, case layout, etc.  That temp baseline is your new floor.  Set the bottom of the graph to that temp and then pick a speed you don't mind for quiet desk work.  For 140s that is probably around 500 rpm and 120s just a bit more.  +-100 rpm does not matter here or most any time.  The tricky bit is you will need seasonal curve adjustments.  Your baseline in Winter will not be the same as your Summer one.  


Leave yourself a small buffer zone of 2-3C after the baseline flat section.  Your room temp will vary during the day and from day to day.  Any kind of sustained load will increase the H170i Temp more than 3C within a few minutes.  


Figure out where your normal maximum H170i Temp stops.  This is unlikely to be the result of any kind of pure CPU stress test.  Most users will see the highest value when gaming because of GPU waste heat.  +10C is a common value, but again it depends on case design and hardware.  Once you figure it out, take the 2nd or 3rd to last point and put it at that temp and some fan speed you are willing to tolerate when gaming.  For most people that's going to be around 1300-1500 rpm for 120s and somewhere near 1200 for 140s.  For the very last fan control point, use it as an alarm.  Set it out of reach.  Something like 50 or 55C = 100%.  That will create a clear alarm if you are in unusual territory.  


The shot below is a curve for my Noctua A12s on a 480mm radiator.  It's Summer for me right now and even on a cool morning the temp is 23C and 25C is the lowest possible coolant temp, even in a multi-rad, open bench case.  My peak coolant temp in this specific system is going to be around 32-33C and only when the room gets up to 28C in the evening.  The curve is relatively smooth and covers the range from 23 to my max at 36C.  If it hit that, I want to know.  


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Thank you very much for the detailed response.

I think you are on the money with the unpowered splitters. Something I hadn't considered when adding the side fans.

This exactly what I needed to know on setting up the fan curves, cheers.


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