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Case cooling or may be modding advice needed

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HerbieSpot

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Joined
Mar 27, 2022
I'm wanting to build a system to mainly do emulation and a little gaming. I've decided to use my old HTPC case. It's a monster of a case for storage but a little lacking in space in certain areas

Anyway, I'm not so much after help in which components to get, I'm more after advice on improving cooling.

Take a look at the pictures I've posted and I'll explain my plan, parts and possible ideas... Any feedback would be most appreciated!
The case I'm using is the OrigenAE S21T

Below are the parts I have with the exception of the PCI fan

(1) 120mm rear exhaust fans - Noctua NF-A12x25
(2) CPU Cooler - Noctua NH-U12A (Cooling a Ryzen 5 5600G)
(3) PCI Exhuast Fan - YET TO PURCHASE
(4) x2 92mm intake fans - Noctua NF-A9

The 92mm intake fans blow are in from the front of the case upwards, the air is then exhausted out of the back of the case by the 120mm fan. There are no other exhaust fans, and when the PSU and CPU cooler are fitted the centre and right hand side of the case will be quite cramped. So essentially the basic air flow is front to back.

I will have my hard drives on the right hand side of the case and more than likely, have a long GPU which will run into the hard drive area on the left. So you'll have the fans from the GPU blowing air towards the lefthand side of the case.

I wonder if the current 120mm exhaust will deal with the excess heat, but my thought is that a big GPU will kind of divide the case and cooling will not be optimal.

My first thought was to buy one of those cheap PCI exhaust fans and some vented pci brackets pictured below and that would exhaust some of the heat created by the GPU. I've then toyed with the idea of cutting a fan hole or two in either the left hand side of the case or in the lid (See A & B marked in yellow). (A) If two fan holes are cut then the second fan would be in the hard drive area near the front 92mm fan.

This is where my PC cooling knowledge is lacking... With the current fans installed from my list and the GPU, where is it best to locate a fan, or will my cheap PCI exhaust idea be enough?

*One thing that I wanted to ask is if I did mount two fans on the left hand side of the case, would that cancel out any air being blown by the 92mm intake? Presumably the air coming in would be sucked out before reaching the rest of the case. Following that train of thought would it not be better to have one or two fans at the back of the case so the 92mm fan can blow air along unhindered? I not sure I understand the airflow pressure and how fan orientations effect that so hence my cry for help

OrigenAE did have a GPU cooler accessory for this very issue but the case is old and try as I might, I can't find one

http://www.origenae.co.uk/en/accessory_xds21.htm

Hope you guys can help B6C8738B-988A-49BE-8B0A-7BCFC2E9E0D4.jpeg CEFE17ED-21B9-47F4-9811-F1083319B4B1.jpeg F26B1FB3-2653-4230-9355-A0F207D1FF6E.jpeg 5BE58F46-141E-410E-8394-CD0C930D5F7B.jpeg 21B5F0C3-DBB6-4930-B62E-18CB80A10C23.jpeg 57380A38-E86B-4720-A23A-FC5923DF3BB5.jpeg 692C9767-C26F-4BD8-8248-65A1633D16B8.jpeg
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
Cool little case. Is that an lcd on the front? Those little PCI exhaust fans can get pretty loud for the little movement they do so I tend to stay away from them.

If that were my case I would remove the hdd cages and cut two 120mm fan holes on each side of the case to give it max air flow and even room for water cooling if you opted for it in the future. Another 120mm cut on the side where the PSU sits wouldn't hurt either so it can intake from the outside. Assuming you have a PSU with a 120mm fan on the bottom and there is room. I would put the fans so they were blowing in from the side by the top of the motherboard and exhaust below the GPU location. I bet a 2x120mm AIO would cool the CPU nicely in that case and provide the intake fans. I'd also use that back 120mm as exhaust like you planned.

This is kind of what I'm thinking:

57380A38-E86B-4720-A23A-FC5923DF3BB5.jpeg
 
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OP
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HerbieSpot

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Joined
Mar 27, 2022
Cool little case. Is that an lcd on the front? Those little PCI exhaust fans can get pretty loud for the little movement they do so I tend to stay away from them.

If that were my case I would remove the hdd cages and cut two 120mm fan holes on each side of the case to give it max air flow and even room for water cooling if you opted for it in the future. Another 120mm cut on the side where the PSU sits wouldn't hurt either so it can intake from the outside. Assuming you have a PSU with a 120mm fan on the bottom and there is room. I would put the fans so they were blowing in from the side by the top of the motherboard and exhaust below the GPU location. I bet a 2x120mm AIO would cool the CPU nicely in that case and provide the intake fans. I'd also use that back 120mm as exhaust like you planned.

This is kind of what I'm thinking:

View attachment 215965
Yes it is a screen, 12.1” res up to 1080p 😀

Thank you for the suggestions…

As you look at the above picture, I’m pretty sure I’ll be removing the right hand hard drive cage, because the GPU will be running up into that area. There will definitely be room to cut two holes where you suggest and mount 2 fans internalI will however need to keep the left hand hard drive bay because I’ll be installing 3 to 4 hard drives.

Cutting holes in the right side can also be done but with the hard drive bay in use and the PSU being a snug fit there is no room internally. The middle section at the front of the case is for an optical drive. So does this change your suggestions?

I would love to have a water cooled system but I’m a bit worried about setting it up and if anything goes wrong. I find air cooled systems much easier. Slap a few fans in and you are done.

Steiger Dynamics in the USA use the same case but modified and with no big screen at the front. They have a mesh cutout on the gpu side of the case, but there systems are fully water cooled. The following pictures illustrate the lack of space in the case when fully loaded along with height restrictions.

If I’m going full air cooling based on what I’ve said do you have any revised suggestions? As, I’ve said I’d love water cooling but I’m not sure I’ll have the time to dedicate to the build

Cheers
 

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OP
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HerbieSpot

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Mar 27, 2022
Are you planning on using it laying down like in the pics or standing up?
The pictures I posted last show a top view, it’s not orientated another way. You can only have the case one way and that’s shown in the first picture at the top of this thread..

It would be cool if you could, cut the screen doesn’t flip and the hard drive bay fully loaded couldn’t take the weight turned on there side.

I know because when I ordered the PC the shipping company decided to store it that way and with 9 HDD in it when it arrived the internals had bent and needed straightening
 
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Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
I believe you have the airflow backwards for the GPU. The fans for a GPU blow from the "Bottom Up" in a traditional case. If you follow Bugfreak's suggestion you will want to reverse the airflow. Otherwise, this seems to be the best layout for a chassis that is not designed very well for airflow.

For the 5600G, the original current set-up should be adequate as the Noctua Cooler is good and the CPU is not a high TDP model. You did not mention what GPU you are using but if this were my case and I needed to mod it I would install everything and check my temps at full load for several hours before making any mods.

I would guess the most likely place to improve airflow would be to cut a hole to the side with the GPU. Adding a fan would help but might not be necessary as the GPU will pull the air that it needs through the opening (See the Steiger Dynamics design). Naturally, I would make the hole so that a fan could be added if needed though.

Be sure to start a build log so we can follow along with your progress. This looks to be a fun project. Oh, WELCOME to the FORUMS!!


EDIT: I agree with Bug about the PCI fan. I avoid them as they usually make more noise than airflow.
 
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HerbieSpot

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Mar 27, 2022
I believe you have the airflow backwards for the GPU. The fans for a GPU blow from the "Bottom Up" in a traditional case. If you follow Bugfreak's suggestion you will want to reverse the airflow. Otherwise, this seems to be the best layout for a chassis that is not designed very well for airflow.

For the 5600G, the original current set-up should be adequate as the Noctua Cooler is good and the CPU is not a high TDP model. You did not mention what GPU you are using but if this were my case and I needed to mod it I would install everything and check my temps at full load for several hours before making any mods.

I would guess the most likely place to improve airflow would be to cut a hole to the side with the GPU. Adding a fan would help but might not be necessary as the GPU will pull the air that it needs through the opening (See the Steiger Dynamics design). Naturally, I would make the hole so that a fan could be added if needed though.

Be sure to start a build log so we can follow along with your progress. This looks to be a fun project. Oh, WELCOME to the FORUMS!!


EDIT: I agree with Bug about the PCI fan. I avoid them as they usually make more noise than airflow.
Thank you for the comments!

I usually buy a prebuilt system and I’ve been out of the PC loop for ages, so hence my reaching out to you guys for some guidance. The easy option would be to purchase a Leet case from Steiger Dynamics in the USA but I really want to keep that screen at the front. It may not be the best picture, best touch screen, but it’s able to output a FHD image. Ideal for maybe some music visualisations or the occasional emulation.

I made some assumptions about graphics cards and thought the fans sucked air from the heat sink of the card. Having started searching for info on cooling and fans orientation, it would seem that some if not all GPU fan blow air onto the heat sink. A rookie mistake and part of the reason I was going on about situating to exhaust fans opposite the GPU. I see now that they would be fighting against each other. Is that correct?

Anyhoo, I’ve been in contact with Steiger Dynamics asking a few questions and enquiring whether they could provide all the water cooling parts and case lid.

You asked what GPU I was looking at, and I think I’ll be going with a nvidia 3060. I will certainly do a build log when I can devote more time to it. If I go with air cooling I think I’ll add a mesh or fan holes on the GPU side for starters. All I have right now is an old 780ti as a reference for the space a GPU might take up. Maybe by the time I get going on this if I’m modding the case, the 4000 series will be out 😀

I think I may cut the case using one of the items on this sit and when I get some time tonight I’ll do another picture of my proposed plan just to see I am understanding everyone’s advice


Cheers
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
If the case you currently own works for your build, there is no reason to purchase another, especially if a simple mod will extend its life and worth/use to you.

You have it correct now. the GPU fans blow from the fan through the heatsink fins to the PCB. If you were to place exhaust fans next to the GPU they would fight each other. A simple opening like Steiger's case will help supply cool air to the GPU. If the graphics card is located in the top PCIe x16 slot of your motherboard (as it generally should be), then you may want to add fans to assist the GPU in getting the cooler fresh "outside" air. Testing is the only way to know if they are needed or if they are a luxury.


Cheers back at cha! :cheers:
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I say stick with the case you have. The LCD will be neat and fairly unique once you get everything going, plus I like to see how much stuff I can cram into small cases. That case would be a fun build and has a lot of potential.

Since the case lays down I would cut holes in the panel on top. Like Blaylock said, I would cut one right above the GPU so it can intake from the outside. You could even get one of those GPU extenders so you could mount the GPU facing up and out which would look great. The same goes for the CPU, I would cut a hole right above it for the same purpose. I would also still cut 120mm or 92mm fan holes in the sides as intakes. At least one on each side. I like my cases to have positive airflow (more air going in) so there is always air movement in the case and the extra fans would do that. You could easily add fan grills over the fans or get real creative and do something like bondo some metal mesh over all the fans so they look stock if you wanted to. Either way they will add to airflow and look good.
 
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HerbieSpot

Registered
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Mar 27, 2022
I believe you have the airflow backwards for the GPU. The fans for a GPU blow from the "Bottom Up" in a traditional case. If you follow Bugfreak's suggestion you will want to reverse the airflow. Otherwise, this seems to be the best layout for a chassis that is not designed very well for airflow.

For the 5600G, the original current set-up should be adequate as the Noctua Cooler is good and the CPU is not a high TDP model. You did not mention what GPU you are using but if this were my case and I needed to mod it I would install everything and check my temps at full load for several hours before making any mods.

I would guess the most likely place to improve airflow would be to cut a hole to the side with the GPU. Adding a fan would help but might not be necessary as the GPU will pull the air that it needs through the opening (See the Steiger Dynamics design). Naturally, I would make the hole so that a fan could be added if needed though.

Be sure to start a build log so we can follow along with your progress. This looks to be a fun project. Oh, WELCOME to the FORUMS!!


EDIT: I agree with Bug about the PCI fan. I avoid them as they usually make more noise than airflow.
Thank you for the comments!

I usually buy a prebuilt system and I’ve been out of the PC loop for ages, so hence my reaching out to you guys for some guidance. The easy option would be to purchase a Leet case from Steiger Dynamics in the USA but I really want to keep that screen at the front. It may not be the best picture, best touch screen, but it’s able to output a FHD image. Ideal for maybe some music visualisations or the occasional emulation.

I made some assumptions about graphics cards and thought the fans sucked air from the heat sink of the card. Having started searching for info on cooling and fans orientation, it would seem that some if not all GPU fan blow air onto the heat sink. A rookie mistake and part of the reason I was going on about situating to exhaust fans opposite the GPU. I see now that they would be fighting against each other. Is that correct?

Anyhoo, I’ve been in contact with Steiger Dynamics asking a few questions and enquiring whether they could provide all the water cooling parts and case lid.

You asked what GPU I was looking at, and I think I’ll be going with a nvidia 3060. I will certainly do a build log when I can devote more time to it.
 
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HerbieSpot

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Mar 27, 2022
Thank you BugFreak & Blaylock for the helpful suggestions. So here is my initial plan but I will take Blaylock’s advice and add my components first to check temps.

I also want to address the idea of a balanced airflow if you guys could give me your opinions

79658D5D-7774-43C1-BD69-6EF8C025DA3D.jpeg
A) Opitcal cage will be removed and ssd will be mounted or left open if I go NVM, leaving some free space for something 😀

B) Where I plan to cut a hole for a mesh with provision for fans

C) Noctua NH-U12A CPU cooler setup as push pull

D) Exhaust fan

E) 860w Corsair PSU

F) Right and Left 92mm intake fans blowing upwards

So on to balanced airflow…

If we look at the setup before any modding to the case the two front 92mm fans suck in air from the bottom of the case and the 120mm fan exhausts at the back, with the fan on the cpu cooler doing it’s thing in a push-pull configuration.

On the left as you look at the picture I’ll be installing 4 or 5 3.5” hard drives and that side also has the PSU. This could limit air from the left hand fan. The Origen AE manual does suggest various hard drive configurations using both bays which is possible but in turn that will decrease the space for what GPU I can fit in. So ideally I’d probably stick with this setup. This then leaves the right hand intake clear, with the exception of the GPU footprint.

So, for arguments sake if I remove the GPU from the equation and just use the integrated graphics from the CPU air flow would I assume be not much of a concern with this setup.

Anyway, before I waffle to much, let me get to the point and try to clarify the best setup based on your suggestions.

So we have all of the above including a GPU and I decide to cut a a hole in the side of the case add mesh but also allow for mounting of fans along the side.

1) We established that a vent on the side would really benefit the GPU, but the suggestion is that fans may be needed possibly.
2) If I add two fans they will be intake fans correct?
3) So we now have 4 intakes and the 120mm exhaust out the back. Is this balanced or is it then essential to add another mesh on the lid as Bug Freak suggests above the GPU

I know these are all hypotheticals based on temperatures and the need for extra cooling.

Sorry if I’m covering things that maybe have been answered before, but I’ve got similar threads on other forums and I’m getting mixed up 😜

I really appreciate all the help guys!
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I like the setup with the exception of the 92mm fans blowing up. I think they will end up starved for air compared to something on the side or top. To your questions:

1. A fan might be needed depending on future GPU needs but this is something yet to be determined until you get everything in. Space may get tight so you might look at the thin 120mm fan like Scythe makes. At least the open intake spot will get fresh air in.
2. Yes, I would make all fan intake including the ones under the mesh and the 92mm spot. This is personal preference but with more fans blowing in the air can go out various locations not just the exhaust fan.
3. Up to you. The additional fan can be added down the road easy enough so 4 intakes would be a good start and might be enough.

I design all my builds kind of like a wind tunnel. I want air going in then having basically a straight line to an exhaust. The exhaust can be a fan or an open vent like the pci covers you pictured in your first post. Either way the air is moving with no dead spots. This case is hard to accomplish that which is why I would want as much intake as possible so the air is basically forced out anywhere it can go. This will hopefully cause the air to move around cooling various parts not directly covered by fans.
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
No worries Herbie, you're fine.

I like what you have pictured here. but on to your questions.

1. We established that a vent on the side would really benefit the GPU, but the suggestion is that fans may be needed possibly. Correct. This was exactly what I was imagining and will likely be the best scenario for this case.
2. If I add two fans they will be intake fans correct? Correct again. I would consider 140mm Noctua or 120mm Noctua since you are already using Noctua throughout. They're just great fans.
3. So we now have 4 intakes and the 120mm exhaust out the back. Is this balanced or is it then essential to add another mesh on the lid as Bug Freak suggests above the GPU? As far as Bug's suggestion I think he is saying to either add the fans to the top lid or the side like you are showing. There really is no benefit to adding to both. I normally avoid adding fans to removable panels as it becomes tedious to unplug the fan every time you remove the panel. So this is what would be considered a "positive pressure" set-up, not balanced. There are benefits to each different scenario. Positive pressure is assumed to be more dust resistant with filters added (though debatable), negative pressure is reported to provide the best temperatures, while neutral or balanced is a good all-around in between. Note: You can't just count the number of fans as they each will have different CFM ratings. Also, don't overthink the pressure too much. Cases are not air-tight for a reason and it's not really possible to be that positive or that negative. Cases leak air everywhere.

Ninja'd by Bug LOL.
 
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HerbieSpot

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Mar 27, 2022
Awesome guys! Those pesky 92mm fans Grrr!

My initial setup in this case was very hard drive heavy and those fans sit under the hard drives. When the drives are mounted there is some clearance between the fan and the bottom of the hard drives and maybe 50mm open space above both hard drive bays. You can see from the pictures that I’ve grabbed of an empty case how the vents are situated for the 92mm fans. When you pointed out the possible problems with the airflow from the fans I thought whether it would be possible to mount them on the front of the case.

Any ideas? It looks tricky to me!

You have space either side of the screen but the edges of the case are rounded so that really isn’t an option. I could mount fans on the front panel behind the screen but I’d need the screen tilted while in use and just a quick look at the case and these pictures, it would appear I would have to contend with cutting the case front and an extra ridged section. Maybe either side of the drive slot would be a good place to mount them?

I know a guy who has modded these cases and replaced the screens so he may be able to shed some light on what could be done.

Anyway, take a look at the pictures and see what you think



CEBE4961-E1C0-4294-A733-0E6EEA1D8F8D.jpeg


1B56DDC1-7EDB-4770-8AF9-E0249ABBBF00.jpeg
C326C1B1-B82F-4CE4-B74D-98443E73FC68.jpeg
 
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HerbieSpot

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Mar 27, 2022
Thought I’d share the message I got from Steiger Dynamics which made me laugh… They really want to sell me a case

‘We are using the same OEM but other than that our LEET chassis is different in every part and it’s not cross-compatible. We do sell our custom rads and pump as well as the glad lid option, however only together a LEET Chassis as we don’t have any spare parts available.

Making required modifications to your case is very difficult and very expensive and I would not recommend it.’ 🤣🤣
 
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HerbieSpot

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Mar 27, 2022
Just wanted to double check with you guys, if you thought using this pre made vent would be OK. I’ve looked at one build log where the guy cut two large holes in the side and then used mesh. It looks ok but not as clean as the item linked below


It’s very interesting looking at this guys build log but he is going all out water cooling and I have a feeling he was sponsored by ASUS.

 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
I think that grille will look great, definitely better than some of my hacks, lol. I wish it showed the fan mounting hole spacing but I have to believe it would match the PC standard of 105mm. That build log you referenced should be a great resource for you. They did a fantastic job. Take your time like they did and if it's something you haven't done before, do a practice run on a piece of scrap first.
 
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HerbieSpot

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Mar 27, 2022
I think that grille will look great, definitely better than some of my hacks, lol. I wish it showed the fan mounting hole spacing but I have to believe it would match the PC standard of 105mm. That build log you referenced should be a great resource for you. They did a fantastic job. Take your time like they did and if it's something you haven't done before, do a practice run on a piece of scrap first.
I found out about the grill from this guy


I think the only downside is that there is a gap between the two fans when mounted side by side, which is pointed out in the video. This may be an issue if mounting a rad

Guys you have been Awesome and in fact the most helpful of the 3+ forums I posted in. I’ll be sure to start my build diary once I get the parts I need and if I’m adding that side panel and temperatures are good I may in the long term look at an over clocked system and perhaps water cooling it. However for me overclocking is about as scary as water cooling in my mind 😀 No experience in both.

I guess I’m in the right place for advice being an overclockers forum!

I had an after thought…. What sort of temperatures should I be aiming at for the cpu/GPU idle vs load?

BTW BugFreak… I decided to order 4 of those grills. Your initial suggestion was holes in each side. Even though there is no space on the left because of the PSU it will provide some ventilation.

So, are you guys in agreement that based on my decisions above adding the extra grill on the left next to the PSU and hard drives will be a positive and will not disturb the current airflow?

Now to cutting Scary!!

I actually will have a second case with upgraded screen in a few days, so I may mod that as well and turn it into a full on gaming PC, We will see…
 
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BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
Yes I think you will be fine with the extra grill. A little extra intake, even without a fan can't hurt. I look forward to the build!

Don't worry about cutting, its not that bad once you get in to it. You will make some booboos and you will have some errant grinds and scratches but that comes with learning. One thing that made my life much easier when starting was a nibbling tool like this or this. I think Harbor Freight also has electric ones but I couldn't find it. They don't work all that well when doing circles but work fantastic for straight lines. There are also manual ones but those get really tough to use on thicker metal or larger holes.