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Question AIO Radiator on front or top?

ShadowRD

Reputable
May 3, 2016
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Have you test both way to see which works better?

all my setups the radiator is on top, but i wanna know for experience if on front is better for airflow and heat dissipation.

My setup is this
 

Phaaze88

Illustrious
Ambassador
It varies mate. You have to do your own personal testing.
For example: even though Fractal's Meshify and Define series are very similar, they don't share the same 'optimal' setups.

As a generalization - it is not absolute:
Top mounted rad: lower cpu, but higher gpu thermals
Front mounted rad: higher cpu, but lower gpu thermals
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Fractal R5 Window, NZXT Kraken X61 280mm AIO. Stock 140mm Fractal fans, all fans 600-900rpm.

I initially ran the aio on top /push, with just the 2x fans as intakes, did all kinds of cpu/gpu stress tests.

Then switched to front mount /push, then changed to front /pull. There's a difference.

With the top mount I got 70 cpu/ 78 gpu.
With front push I got 70 cpu /80+ gpu (capped and throttled).
With front pull I got 67 cpu / 74 gpu.

I attribute this to several reasons. First, with lower than @ 1300rpm fans, pull actually benefits due to the broader area of rad used, push generally has a motor mount blockage, seen easily by the 'dust donut' if you don't clean it often. So I was actually getting better effective airflow and resultant temp drop.

Also, with push, the fans are mounted in front of the rad, which has 2 affects. First is it disperses most of the static pressure as it travels through the rad, you still get the cfm, but it doesn't reach the back of the case or the gpu very well. The second being there's a door in front, so there's little direct room in front of the fans.

By moving the fans behind, I get the second reason. Static pressure. There's now nothing between the fan and gpu, the fans are much closer to the gpu, so the gpu benefits like a bandit from increased airflow. Cpu also benefited from the fan placement as there's much more room behind the door allowing for better vaccum properties, better airflow

Front pull optimizes gpu temps, front push doesn't, top can benefit the cpu in push with high rpm fans or benefit the cpu in pull with low rpm fans, does little to nothing for the gpu as that's at the mercy of the intake fans either way.
 

ShadowRD

Reputable
May 3, 2016
88
6
4,645
1
Fractal R5 Window, NZXT Kraken X61 280mm AIO. Stock 140mm Fractal fans, all fans 600-900rpm.

I initially ran the aio on top /push, with just the 2x fans as intakes, did all kinds of cpu/gpu stress tests.

Then switched to front mount /push, then changed to front /pull. There's a difference.

With the top mount I got 70 cpu/ 78 gpu.
With front push I got 70 cpu /80+ gpu (capped and throttled).
With front pull I got 67 cpu / 74 gpu.

I attribute this to several reasons. First, with lower than @ 1300rpm fans, pull actually benefits due to the broader area of rad used, push generally has a motor mount blockage, seen easily by the 'dust donut' if you don't clean it often. So I was actually getting better effective airflow and resultant temp drop.

Also, with push, the fans are mounted in front of the rad, which has 2 affects. First is it disperses most of the static pressure as it travels through the rad, you still get the cfm, but it doesn't reach the back of the case or the gpu very well. The second being there's a door in front, so there's little direct room in front of the fans.

By moving the fans behind, I get the second reason. Static pressure. There's now nothing between the fan and gpu, the fans are much closer to the gpu, so the gpu benefits like a bandit from increased airflow. Cpu also benefited from the fan placement as there's much more room behind the door allowing for better vaccum properties, better airflow

Front pull optimizes gpu temps, front push doesn't, top can benefit the cpu in push with high rpm fans or benefit the cpu in pull with low rpm fans, does little to nothing for the gpu as that's at the mercy of the intake fans either way.
I'm thinking to try front pull.

Like some of you has said, not in all cases and setup works the same, my case is phanteks evolv mATX but i will try that.

thanks
 
Last edited:

Schlachtwolf

Notable
Jun 22, 2019
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I have a front mounted 360 AIO from Deepcool and have a PUSH and PULL on my radiator, 6 Corsair fans to be exact, 2700x CPU never goes over 65c and RTX 2080 OC GPU max 60c even under heavy gaming (Mordor Shadow of War -Ultra settings etc), case is not the best so I removed the front solid glass panel (that let damn all air in) and a friend of mine who is a metal worker made me a custom front mesh for it. All specs and settings are in my sig.

Just thought some extra info might help
 
Reactions: ShadowRD

Zerk2012

Polypheme
Ambassador
And others don't like sucking prewarmed air through the rad....:bounce:

There is no universal. Cases, AIO, other parts...all different.
That is correct. From what I have seen it only makes a few C difference either way it also depends on the case and the TDP of the PC but in general either way would work. That's why I said personal opinion.

It really don't apply to me anymore droped the AIO's a few years ago and prefer air.

EDIT always wondered why nobody has made a case without top fan slots but a filtered like shroud on top of the case for a top mounted rad with a replaceable top part with padding for the hoses you could take off then reinstall after passing the pump through. That would put the rad completely out of the case so the best of both worlds.
 
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Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Yes, push/pull gets the benefits of both, at any rpm, without the downsides of either. Generally expect cpu temps to be about 2°C ± lower than either push or pull alone.

Which honestly is chump change and not worth the wiring headaches or additional noise. Rads and fan designs in recent years have changed how AIO's/loops respond to airflow in meaningful ways, the old fans were miserable in comparison since airflow and cooling a cpu took a backseat to actual speed. 20 years ago you got 1 fan at rear exhaust and that was it, in a full AT tower.
 

ShadowRD

Reputable
May 3, 2016
88
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I like it. There's too many black and red explosion builds, but the black with a little gray and red accent coloring looks good. Neat too, which is always nice to see.
Thanks. My last two builds were all black and red :LOL:, i really like red color but this time i tried to do little different
 

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