PC Case advice for better cooling (budget @£60-£80)

By detrunks
Sep 6, 2013
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  1. Hi all,

    I'm quite stuck on getting a PC case which will help with cooling. I'm looking for the best case at cooling in the £70 range. The case has to be big enough for graphic card upgrades (I currently have 5850 XFX Black Editions in crossfire). Examples of cases I've looked at are the Carbide 300R, HAF 912 Plus and Fractal Design R4. Please can anyone advise of the best case (in this class?) in the UK. I'm happy to add additional case fans to get better cooling!
    MB is ATX, BTW.
  2. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder TechSpot Guru Posts: 1,828   +392

    Well since im going to assume air cooling I have a couple of options that I personally like for those types of systems:

    NZXT Phantom Mid Tower

    Corsair 400R or the 300R are both great options

    There are many more but those are a few near your price point I recommend. I like the NZXT Phantom cases the most because of their room, expandability, and overall sleek look.
    slh28 likes this.
  3. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Very good suggestions above, I would say go for the NZXT Phantom 410 because it looks better IMO but Corsair's Carbide series cases also have great airflow. The HAF series do have very good airflow but are a bit noisy and aren't exactly lookers but again that's just my opinion.

    If your cards are getting hot in CF do what I do and mount a fan somewhere inside the case to blow between then 2 cards (mine is attached to the HDD cage with zipties). Lowered the top card's load temp by 10C.

    I wouldn't bother with additional case fans, at £10-15 or so each for decent 120mm fans (e.g. Scythe GT) you're better off investing the money in a better case.
  4. detrunks

    detrunks TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 202

    Thanks for the suggestions
    I went with the HAF XB purely because it looks a bit different. It is noisy with stock fans so will have to switch them. Out of interest, would you suggest the top 200mm fan to be intake or exhaust?
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,067   +1,180

    Thats an excellent case in my opinion.
    Exhaust to pull the hot air from the center of the motherboard. You wouldn't want to blow hot air further into the case across other components.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,004   +710

    Believe it or not, the original Antec 800 case is a good cooler, and nice, (if slightly "machiney"), looking. I don't care for the look of the "Mark xx" later models though. One of these new or used would be a decent option, at least if you're not planning on quad X-fire, in which case you won't get away without a full tower.
    C'mon dude, "hot air rises". You know that!:p
  7. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Hehe. This is especially true with the way the HAF XB is designed.

    Aftermarket fans will probably result in better airflow but won't be much quieter. You need to invest in a fan controller.
  8. detrunks

    detrunks TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 202

    I thought I should do a quick test on the whole intake/exhaust theory of the top 200mm. Whilst I thought that hot air does indeed rise and therefore exhaust seems sensible, the set-up of most cases means a side fan is parallel to the MB and is usually intake? In the HAF XB, the equivalent would make the 'top' an intake, as the MB lies horizontal not vertical. My rather unscientific tests (using MSI Kombuster) shows the GPU being 6c warmer and the CPU 5c warmer when using the top fan as exhaust!
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,004   +710

    How do you figure, "parallel" in a standard case layout? Don't you mean "perpendicular"? (The fan is parallel, its flow is perpendicular).

    In any event, with a vertical mobo, a problem arises with hot air trapped under the VGA. This is why the Antec 800, (among other performance cases, I assume), use vented PCI slot covers. Forcing, (or forced), air from the front of the case, turns the slots into a secondary exhaust outlet

    And hot air always rises. Unless of course, it meets hotter air, which rises faster.

    The lone exception here would be, if the case fans below, create a vacuum under the top fan strong enough to nullify its effect. In which case, the hot air would travel horizontally. (actually probably more like diagonally toward the upper back corner of the case. Even at that, most times the top fan is situated as close as practical to that corner of the case anyway.

    You know the only way to settle this to your satisfaction, is to sit there, blow smoke into the case, and adjust all the relative fan velocities with a controller. Or as Bob Dylan once said, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"....;)
  10. detrunks

    detrunks TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 202

    I'll get my cigar....
  11. hood6558

    hood6558 TechSpot Booster Posts: 288   +43

    I also thought that the top fan should blow inward on the XB, especially if you water cool, because that's the only direct airflow for the motherboard components. Maybe a 240 rad blowing inward from the side would also do the trick. I like the case but I want to see extensive airflow testing on it to determine the best config.
  12. detrunks

    detrunks TechSpot Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 202

    I think (as you allude) that the best config will be to do with your other cooling options. For example, I'm just using a stock Phenom II 965 cooler, which is top down and therefore some additional airflow intake from the top may well be better than exhaust. My graphics cards are 'enclosed' so most of the heat is being exhausted through their integral cooling, so further cooling is perhaps best served through providing airflow rather than extracting it.
  13. hood6558

    hood6558 TechSpot Booster Posts: 288   +43

    I am a cooling fanatic, and I think it's important to have good airflow across the VRMs, chipset, and DIMMs if you want your board to live long when overclocking. I've had boards that would overheat the chipset and freeze the system up when gaming unless I pointed a high-CFM fan at directly at the chipset heatsink. Excess heat on the board will also bring an early death to capacitors and chokes. My graphics card is also a reference design with rear exhaust and it has 2 Corsair AF 140 QEs blowing on it and the motherboard. A simple manual fan controller keeps everything very quiet until I need more airflow.
     


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