[SOLVED] AIO Top or Side mounted?

breaker9320

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Good day,

So I am upgrading my build with a couple of new components and I have decided to get a few extra fans and a 360 AIO for the CPU.
The case that I am building in is a Corsair 5000D Airflow.
Previously I was using just the 2 stock fans as exhaust one on top one on back, and had a 240mm AIO as front intake.
Now I am unsure of how to proceed as I want to get the best airflow I can in it.
Should I have 3x120mm front intake + 360mm radiator as side intake and then have 3x120mm top exhaust and 1x120mm back exhaust?
Or should I get 3x120mm front intake + 3x120mm side intake and then have the 360mm radiator as top exhaust and 1x120mm back exhaust?

I am leaning towards 2nd option as it would get a lot more air in the case but I am just a bit worried that having intake on front and side will mess up the airflow ? Or am I just being paranoid?
 

Phaaze88

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Paranoid. I have PC-OCD, so I'm no stranger to these thoughts.
'Best airflow' does not, and never did mean 'fill every optional fan/radiator slot available', especially in cases like that with so many options.
That's prioritizing airBLOW over airFLOW, with airblow being less efficient, but some folks can't help but fill all those optional slots up ¯\(ツ)

If you're working with dual AIO or custom loop, well that's another story - all those slots could have a proper use.

Front and side intake fight each other, similar to how rear and the closest adjacent top exhaust fight one another too. But folks do it anyway because it doesn't look right, I guess.


You could totally get optimal cooling with:
-2x 140mm fans + a 280mm AIO, for a total of 4 fans
-3x 120mm fans + a 280mm AIO = 5 fans
-2x 140mm fans + a 360mm AIO = 5 fans
-3x 120mm fans + a 360mm AIO = 6 fans
... question is, would you? Or will looks dominate yet again...
 

Phaaze88

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Paranoid. I have PC-OCD, so I'm no stranger to these thoughts.
'Best airflow' does not, and never did mean 'fill every optional fan/radiator slot available', especially in cases like that with so many options.
That's prioritizing airBLOW over airFLOW, with airblow being less efficient, but some folks can't help but fill all those optional slots up ¯\(ツ)

If you're working with dual AIO or custom loop, well that's another story - all those slots could have a proper use.

Front and side intake fight each other, similar to how rear and the closest adjacent top exhaust fight one another too. But folks do it anyway because it doesn't look right, I guess.


You could totally get optimal cooling with:
-2x 140mm fans + a 280mm AIO, for a total of 4 fans
-3x 120mm fans + a 280mm AIO = 5 fans
-2x 140mm fans + a 360mm AIO = 5 fans
-3x 120mm fans + a 360mm AIO = 6 fans
... question is, would you? Or will looks dominate yet again...
 

breaker9320

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Apr 9, 2016
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Paranoid. I have PC-OCD, so I'm no stranger to these thoughts.
'Best airflow' does not, and never did mean 'fill every optional fan/radiator slot available', especially in cases like that with so many options.
That's prioritizing airBLOW over airFLOW, with airblow being less efficient, but some folks can't help but fill all those optional slots up ¯\(ツ)

If you're working with dual AIO or custom loop, well that's another story - all those slots could have a proper use.

Front and side intake fight each other, similar to how rear and the closest adjacent top exhaust fight one another too. But folks do it anyway because it doesn't look right, I guess.


You could totally get optimal cooling with:
-2x 140mm fans + a 280mm AIO, for a total of 4 fans
-3x 120mm fans + a 280mm AIO = 5 fans
-2x 140mm fans + a 360mm AIO = 5 fans
-3x 120mm fans + a 360mm AIO = 6 fans
... question is, would you? Or will looks dominate yet again...
Actually, looks mean nothing to me as my tower is hidden under the desk. To the point I was looking to see if I can get away with not plugging the led for the fans ( they are all just solid white light ).
I do however want to make sure that its got more intake than exhaust( if AIO is exhaust + back exhaust thats a total of 4 exhaust, so need at least 5 intake as I want a positive rather than negative pressure).
 

Phaaze88

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I do however want to make sure that its got more intake than exhaust( if AIO is exhaust + back exhaust thats a total of 4 exhaust, so need at least 5 intake as I want a positive rather than negative pressure).
Oh, that doesn't even apply here - too many open areas. The 5000D Airflow is neutral, or no pressure, by design.
PC cases don't start approaching positive/negative pressure until one starts sealing or restricting them off in certain areas. They don't make 'em like hospital rooms.
Neutral doesn't care about intake > exhaust or intake < exhaust, as they regulate themselves due to all the open gaps. Instead, I feel fan position is more important with them.
If you set your fans up to 'guide' air in a singular direction - such as curving upwards upon entering through the front - it'll be just as effective compared to if you were to fill every slot, thus criss-crossing or T-boning air paths.
There are diminishing returns to cooling once you go past a certain number of case fans, which I believe the number depends on the case itself; with this case, I'd say it's over 6 with conventional air and AIO cooled systems.



A bit simplified take on the 3 case types:
Neutral pressure cases. There's lots of these. They're basically your 'meshed out' cases, the partially open, or completely open.
Ex: Lian Li Lancool II Mesh, NZXT H7 Flow, Cougar Conquer, Thermaltake Core P3, the open test benches.

Negative pressure cases. Also quite a lot of these. Look for the trending closed off, or almost closed off, front panels - on some models, even the top panel is pretty strained for airflow!
The potential front intake ventilation is lower than what can go through the rear and top combined.
Ex: NZXT has some of the best with their S340, H440, H500, and H700.

Positive pressure cases. The one many seem to want, but are actually the fewest in number compared to the other 2 designs.
Top panel is sealed or partially sealed, which the combined top and rear ventilation is less than the front's. Others may utilize the socially frowned upon top intake.
Ex: Cooler Master H500P Mesh, H500M, Masterbox 5 Mesh, Silverstone PM01, Fractal Design Torrent.
 
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Colif

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What GPU are you installing?

AIO as exhaust is okay if you not using it to exhaust heat out of a 3090. If I had a big card like that I would use AIO as intake as the heat created by CPU won't bother the GPU that much, and CPU would at least get cool air.

how is torrent designed around top input? its the best air cooled case now, no need to add upper intakes.
 

Phaaze88

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how is torrent designed around top input?
I didn't say it was. You misread that part... but I'll try to edit it a bit.
Out of the 5 I listed for positive pressure design, it's the H500P Mesh and H500M that have that top intake style; they both have this acrylic window that was intended for the user to view pretty LED top fans.
But said fans don't look as pretty from the back - unless you use the double sided Corsair QLs or something similar - so they should be used as intakes.
 
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Colif

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just a matter of formatting :)

it beat my last case as best Air cooling case. They don't list my case any more since its 11 years old now. Something finally beat it. I think it was just there to shame the makers... showing them a 11 year old case still beat their fish tanks.
 

Phaaze88

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Nay, the back exhaust isn't a necessity with top mounted AIOs. That's a 2nd cool air intake for the back half of the AIO if you just leave the rear empty and just put a filter over it.
Now, if it were a tower air cooler, sure, throw a rear exhaust back there.
 

Colif

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i still don't like idea of a 3080TI exhausting all its heat through the radiator on roof, but hey... most people think its okay. Seems wrong to me. I seen people argue that front mounted is bad for the radiators. I would like some proof on that one. Unless they missunderstand message of 2 videos made by GN & Jayz.

I was hoping to get the replacement for my FT02 for this PC but it wasn't a good time to be picky in 2020.
it still doesn't seem to exist now - Alta S1
 

Phaaze88

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I don't like the top AIO with a gpu like that either - up to a point. That rear exhaust that's commonly used takes away a cool air source that could be used as an intake. It helps.

Unless they missunderstand message of 2 videos made by GN & Jayz.
At least from what I remember of posts from the last couple months ago, it's to do with, "ahh, the cpu's heat is blowing over the components and warming them up."
My internal argument is, "so the gpu with 2-3x the power draw dumping on everything around and above it is totally fine though..."
When playing games, cpus do not pull that much power - what little bit I play, HWINFO sees peaks around 100-120w. The ol' 1080Ti breaks 200w pretty easily.
You know the gpu is the reason cpus can still get fairly hot in game even though they don't they don't pull much power. With how high gpu power draw is getting, I think different case layouts are needed, like the stack, 90 degree, and inverted.

I had my eye on that Alta F1, but that was a bit more than what I was willing to spend, but I did settle on the Lian Li Dynamic Evo - gonna do a stack effect with that one, but stuck waiting on the upright gpu bracket at the moment.


Well, Jayz is saying that ideally AIO should be top mounted in one of his videos about where to mount AIOs
Screw what he says on that one, it really depends on your hardware and how you use it. I had lots of time to try several fan and cpu cooler + gpu cooler configs in the H500P Mesh(did a custom top window mesh mod)... and his top AIO recommendation is not an absolute.
The times I found that top AIO worked best were:
-that AIO was on the gpu. Too bad they're so niche.
-front panel has some kind of restriction(glass, a door, small side grilles, etc) at the front that would make a cpu AIO more efficient being mounted at the top instead.
If the front panel is open mesh, cpu AIO is more efficient at the front, with its direct access to the coolest air, and one does not need to over-provision on size as should be done up top.
I say over-provision, because the top AIO generally has to deal with everything below it, and not just the cpu. To make up for that, you opt for larger sized units and set up both rear and top intake.
 

Colif

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At least from what I remember of posts from the last couple months ago, it's to do with, "ahh, the cpu's heat is blowing over the components and warming them up."
the heat produced by CPU is minimal and has no effect on GPU temps

that and if you have aio as intake there is no reason not to have more exhaust fans to cool rest of components.
Most cases now have better cooling than that meaning more liklihood of better airflow on front, so even more reason to use front.
Vid shows you can gain 10c cooling on CPU just by having it on front. GPU only goes up 1c.

funny coincidence is the case he is using is what my case is based on, only difference is mesh front.
 
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