What's the best case to cool HOT [nVidia] components...

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Devonavar

Post Reply
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:27 am
Location: Walton on Thames, Surrey

What's the best case to cool HOT [nVidia] components...

Post by ncomben » Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:10 am


I've been a fan of SPCR for many years and most of my component purchases have been heavily influenced by the various reviews and articles I have found in these pages.

Anyway, I recently gave my PC a complete overhaul and purchased a 790i Ultra motherboard, added another 8800GT, the Q9450, DDR3 and replaced my aging Raptor 36 with the WD 640. I also had to upgrade the PSU to cope with SLI and picked the Enermax.

I know these are hot components - over clocking the processor wont help either although I manage to do it just under 1.5v!

The majority of the time the PC is idle and quiet - not silent but definitely quiet enough to hear the muted access noise of the suspended WD6400 drive. The PC sits beside my desk on a wooden floor elevated on a book to ensure the front panel can intake as much cool air as possible - I tend to hear most noise from the back of the case.

The problem is gaming. The machine just resets itself after a few hours of gaming by which time the PSU fan and two Nexus 92mm fans (temperature controlled by the MB - one for each 8800GT) have ramped up.

I assume it's the motherboard's northbridge overheating because the Kama PWM doesn't ramp up. I think I'm not getting enough airflow through the system - to remedy I found I can increase the Tri Cool exhaust fan to medium speed but the noise is intolerable - definitely not a permanent solution!

Rather than just replacing the Tri Cool I feel I may have just exceeded the cooling ability of the case. I was thinking of upgrading to a P182 - moving the PSU to it's own chamber will stop that fan from ramping and possibly stop the 3 120mm fans around the processor area from fighting each other!

I have also considered replacing the stock GPU heatsinks but I'm limited to two slot cooling.

Any ideas?

Posts: 2131
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:00 am
Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Post by jhhoffma » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:52 am

Yes, let us know your current case and post a pic if you can of your current setup. Helping you with your airflow may keep your from having to buy a new case and having the same problems.

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:27 am
Location: Walton on Thames, Surrey

Post by ncomben » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:54 am

As per my Sig.. it's an Antec P150.

I'll take some Pics tonight.


Patron of SPCR
Posts: 1121
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2003 7:18 am
Location: UK

Post by SebRad » Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:00 am

Hi ncomben, it certainly could be a lack of airflow through the case causing things to overheat.
If you haven't already remove the front plastic filter thingy. You could also try leaving the front door open to see if that helps, if it’s an air restriction or lack of fan power issue.
If you've got a general overheating then the graphics cards will get very hot, do the coolers exhaust out the back of the case and can you monitor the GPU temp(s)? Also the CPU will tend to be getting very hot, have you monitored its temp and also the PSU will tend to ramp up, although the Enermax is quite resistant to this.
Does having the Rear Tri-cool on medium bother when gaming or only when idle? If it only during idle you could connect both Nexus intakes to one motherboard header (unless have spare - they low power fans so be OK for the motherboard) and get a speed controlled rear case fan. Say a Scythe Kaze Jyuni, the SPCR review (of I think the same fan) suggests that it can be slowed right down to 400rpm which will be very quiet, yet full speed is nearly 1800rpm. That wouldn't be quiet but it would provide loads of cooling if/when the motherboard needed.
Hmm, I’ve now looked up your motherboard. (here – 2272x1704) The motherboard cooling no doubt works great with the water-cooling option employed and quite well with the stock Intel cooler that will "spill" air in all directions from the CPU thus cooling all the big copper fins around it. The straight through flow from you TRUE is probably not enough hence your problems. An alternative try would be to remove one of the Nexus intake fans (it’s not really needed anyway) and point it somehow at the Northbridge of the motherboard (where the water cooling barbs are). As a try doesn’t matter how it’s fixed, standing on a stack of CD boxes, hanging from string, wire ties, zip ties what ever!
See how you get on, what helps and what to do for a permanent solution.
Regards, Seb

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:27 am
Location: Walton on Thames, Surrey

Post by ncomben » Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:15 am

I've got plenty of fan headers (7!)- one of the many luxuries of this board.

Three can be temperature controlled so I can add another 120mm and monitor the northbridge temperature.

As far as improvements go, I believe I have these choices:

1 - Replace the Tri Cool with a 3 pin fan and control the speed by the NB temp

2 - Improve the thermal environment by purchasing a P182 placing the PSU at the bottom?

3 - As the 8800GTs don't exhaust the heat, replace the GPU cooling with Accelero or Zalman VF1000 heat sinks

In the case of going for Accelero's would my P150 be pulling enough air through to cool it?

(I'm still planing to get some pictures to help illustrate)

Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:27 am
Location: Walton on Thames, Surrey

Post by ncomben » Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:53 am

Without spending any more cash (for now!) I've done a few things to help resolve the situation...

The first thing was to tape up all little holes and gaps apart from the intake vents on the front and the main exhaust and PSU exhaust. I guess this has increased the air pressure and the airflow from the front to the upper rear.

I've removed the back plates under each graphics card so they get a fresh supply of cool air (does anybody know where to get back plates with holes?)

Finally I've added the Asus NB cooler to the end of the chipset heat pipe (as recommended by Asus when water cooling is used) - I've used this as I believe the air flow isn't high enough to keep the heat pipe's sinks cool enough.

Running 3dMark 2006 in a loop with Prime95 running on two cores, the GPUs now stay under 90 degrees centigrade with stock cooling and the CPU cores stay under 60 degrees! I don't know what the NB temp is but the MB temp is about 45 degrees.

The graphics cards' and NB cooler fans ramp up as soon as heavy graphics are involved but that is acceptable when gaming. At idle the system is inaudible from a few feet away!

I will have to wait for some more hot weather before I know if stability is improved.

What is frightening is feeling the heat coming out the back of the Enermax!

*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1561
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 10:47 am
Location: Bucharest, Romania

Post by Tzupy » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:01 am

My advice, while keeping the current case, is to replace the tricool with Scythe Slipstream 1200 rpm and have it controlled by the motherboard.
At full speed it will move more air than the Tricool on medium, and you probably won't notice the noise over the stock cooling of the 8800GTs.
And like Sebrad said, you don't really need two front fans for one drive, you might be able to use one to cool your overheating motherboard chipset.

Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:34 am
Location: Paris,France

Dear ncomben

Post by cercle » Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:35 am

A few fact :Quad core is warmer than duo,two core are enough to play,I don't know wich game uses Quad core,is there any? .Nvidia chipset are warmer than Intel,an Intel mobo is allways cooler.Then some ideas ,unsure!:The older generation gpu are sometime useless :I own a1900xtx512!,it's obviously warmer/weaker than up-to-date gpu :roll: plus :sli? is it warmer than a single gpu,easier to cool a single gpu than two,after all, you need one or two fan to cool one gpu on both side. :?:

Post Reply