visually inspect air flow?

By Row1
Oct 26, 2007
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  1. hello - does anyone have suggestions for how to visually inspect air flow?

    i am about to build, and want to use as few fans as possible to keep noise level low.

    there have been a couple posts recently about strategic placement of fans, and it made me realize that you could add a fan to your system, and make things worse by creating a whirlpool - hot air staying in the computer longer than it should because you have made some turbulence or whirlpool or loop happen, -- or have one fan blowing against a current that otherwise would be moving steadily out of the computer, and so raising case temps by adding a fan.

    is there some way to put something smoke-like through the system?

    can i get cheap heat-vision glasses somewhere?

    i plan to monitor cpu temp, vid card temp, mb temp, and ram temp, figure out what is too hot for comfort, then modify somrething, then wait a while and look at temps again, but it seems like if i could have it be like a wind tunnel test where they have that smoke you can see, that would be cool. but i am sure it would be kind of dangerous or bad to assemble the computer next to a big bonfire, and the ash might mess things up. a misting spray thing could make things rust. etc.

    any ideas?
  2. archie123

    archie123 Newcomer, in training Posts: 16

    its a minefield mate its trial and error , im an avid overclocker and cooling is always a problem but everyone has thier own ideas , do you balance the airflow? do you blow in slower than you exaust out? you'll hear differant views from everyone.

    I have 2 120mm fans bringing air in from the front , 1 120mm fan drawing air out from the back (but this fan is a panasonic panaflow and moves alot of air) and i have one side fan , thats coupled with thermalright cooling for my cpu and i use riva tuner to control the fanspeed of my gpu.

    i can turn all my case fans on or off so its a quiet system when im not gaming , buy a good quality case too , Antec , that sort of thing

    unfortunately your just gonna have to try out a few combinations
  3. Row1

    Row1 TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 348   +8

    darn.
    good answer, but darn.
    well, anyway, i will have a good learning experience.
    wouldn't it be cool to just wear some kind of super vision glasses and see the heat moving around?

    you have good advice. i have gotten a case by thermaltake. it supports a front fan, plus has mesh over most of front, for airflow. plus two intakes on side panel - one for cpu air channel.

    i am gonna play around with restricting air flow from front and from side to improve the stream of air through the computer.

    lots of trial and error.
  4. Fragrant Coit

    Fragrant Coit TechSpot Maniac Posts: 579

    The only "Visual" way I can think of is smoke - like stick a cigarette or an incense stick at the front of the case and see where it goes.

    Obviously the side would have to be off!
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,278   +179

    Or the side has to have a window. I think if you remove the side panel to be able to see the smoke, you will not get a true airflow picture. The flow will be disrupted by the missing panel and your test/experiment will be of limited use.
  6. technicalfury42

    technicalfury42 Banned Posts: 109

    Even if you could see the airflow, correlating the movement of the air to thermal-readings from your various sensors would be a crapshoot.

    If you're really interested in getting temperatures down quietly, buy good copper heatsinks with large fans and secure with Arctic silver.
  7. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,582

    fans are cheap
    measure air in ,air out Aahh cheap
    thermal imaging camera very expensive
    I need a cheap FLIR anyone got one
  8. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,067   +13

    simple - use thermal convection to your advantage. In on the bottom/sides. exhaust on the top and back.
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