[SOLVED] Airflow setup for Phanteks Luxe 2 + NH-D15?

vukhanhtrung

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Most setups I found online uses some sort of water cooler for CPU, so I have no idea how having a NH-D15 as CPU cooler changes things.
I assumed something like this:

Intake:
2-3x 140mm front fan
1x 140mm bottom fan (my case is on the desk)

Exhaust fan:
1x 140x back fan

Normally I would put more exhaust fans on the top but with how NH-D15 push air to the back I have no idea how that would interact with the top fans.

Any help on how the case fan system should be here?

http://www.phanteks.com/Enthoo-Luxe-2.html
https://noctua.at/en/nh-d15
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
Phew! Finally finished! The configuration testing took awhile.
Before(traditional setup):
View: https://i.imgur.com/4xl66ty.jpg

View: https://i.imgur.com/W3Fo9De.jpg


After(chimney... not really, I'll explain below):
View: https://i.imgur.com/K4F0y6i.jpg

View: https://i.imgur.com/An7EAIF.jpg



Anyways, I got slightly better temps from the vertical placement of the cpu cooler over the traditional method, so I'll be keeping it like that at least until I get around to slapping a waterblock + pump/reservoir combo on this gpu. Combinations I tried below...
Trial 1:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm [I did try 3, but soon found it to be pointless. I only felt cool air from it - temps were slightly worse because of it.]
Result: The base template.

Trial 2:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm
-Rear: 140mm
Result: No real change here. Temps within margin of error, although gpu was 1-2C lower, likely due to the rear fan.

Trial 3:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm
-Rear: 140mm
-Front: 3x 140mm
Result: This one surprised me. Within margin of error, very little change.

Trial 4:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm
-Rear: 140mm
-Side: 4x 120mm
Result: 2nd best overall cooling. The intake from the side is stronger than the front. Looks like the design of the front panel is a little restrictive - that didn't stop me from getting this case. Besides, there are far worse front panel designs out there.

Trial 5:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm
-Rear 140mm
-Side: 4x 120mm
-Front: 3x 140mm
Result: Best overall cooling. 2C cooler over the template[How that result fares depends on perspective] The front panel fans have the added benefit of further directing the air coming from the side panel.
Of course, with all these fans comes more noise... but with the kind of fans I run with, I'm clearly not as sensitive to it as some others! 🤣

@vukhanhtrung Since the side panel is blocked off, the best setup for you is going to revolve around #s 1 and 2.
The front fans don't really come into play unless you add side fans, but that does mean more noise.
Once you start installing AIOs or custom loop, I imagine things will be a little different.
 
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Phaaze88

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Herald
I have the same case and slightly different cooler - D15S, but using 2 fans. I do plan to liquid cool later, that's why I got this case.
I have a butt-ton of Noctua 140mm and 120mm fans, so I played around with different fan setups, so here's what I found with my testing:
-Top Panel: It will be most effective for a 240 or 360mm top radiator exhaust setup. With fans only, only one fan is needed here as an exhaust; position it right above the D15's finstacks. Any more than that doesn't help temps - adds needless noise.

-Rear: Exhaust, obviously.

-Front Panel: Intake, up to 3x 140mm or 4x 120mm.

-Side Panel: Intake, up to 4x 120mm.

-Bottom: It's entirely optional, I think, save for maybe a 240 or 360mm rad intake, but for fans only, the front fan position doesn't do a whole lot of good here, and I believe it's actually detrimental to airflow, so leave it out.
So, middle and rear fan intake. Do to the design of the case, avoid obstructing the glass panel side, as that's where the bottom intake will pull most of it's air from. The other side, as you will notice, is mostly blocked off.

Yeah... not much for exhaust on fan only setups. While this case is very flexible - that's why I picked it over the O11 Dynamic XL - air cooling is not the focus of this case.
Whenever you do decide to install a rad - if ever - look to do a top exhaust first. That should balance out all the intakes better... at least, that's my plan.
 
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Karadjgne

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Herald
3x 140mm front, 1x 140mm rear, 1x 120mm top-rear. That's all you'll need.

You can always get fancy. Go with 3x 120mm bottom, 3x 120mm top, chimney style, and mount the Noctua backwards, blowing towards the front of the case where there's more area for the bottom fans to blow the exhaust upwards into the top fans exhaust. Could even set 4x rgb 120mm as side exhaust.

With as many fan mounts and various sizes capable in that case, conventional front-low to rear high doesn't apply. It's very versatile and has no real optimum layout as airflow isn't an issue as long as air goes in-comes out smoothly.

There's no need for a rear exhaust at all, unless the D15 is mounted conventionally, as there's far too many top ports for it to be effective for anything else.
 
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Phaaze88

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Herald
3x 140mm front, 1x 140mm rear, 1x 120mm top-rear. That's all you'll need.

You can always get fancy. Go with 3x 120mm bottom, 3x 120mm top, chimney style, and mount the Noctua backwards, blowing towards the front of the case where there's more area for the bottom fans to blow the exhaust upwards into the top fans exhaust. Could even set 4x rgb 120mm as side exhaust.

With as many fan mounts and various sizes capable in that case, conventional front-low to rear high doesn't apply. It's very versatile and has no real optimum layout as airflow isn't an issue as long as air goes in-comes out smoothly.

There's no need for a rear exhaust at all, unless the D15 is mounted conventionally, as there's far too many top ports for it to be effective for anything else.
I will definitely give that chimney setup a spin. It never crossed my mind...
 

vukhanhtrung

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From both advices, it seems that the common things are the 3x140mm front intake , 1x120mm Top-Rear and the 140mm rear

@Phaaze88 My side panel is against the wall (around 8cm/3.2inches away from the wall) so installing the side fans is not really an option (well unless I want to put the glass panel against the wall).
@Karadjgne Thank you for the advice. The chimney style sounds interesting . Wouldn't there be a problem with the Noctua backwards since there is no dust filter in the back? And the bottom-rear 120mm slot is taken by the HDD stack though.

I assume it would be something like this?
View: https://imgur.com/ITTtNF8
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
The best airflow case on the market that I know about currently is the Silverstone Raven series. It's got 3x 180mm fans in the bottom. That's it. It has a dedicated 120mm for its aio (mounted top front exhaust) , but other than that, just 3x intakes. Total chimney, everything goes straight up and out. Its basically like the fractal design meshify C, but turned 90° so the intakes are on the bottom. While the Luxe is a little shorter on the intakes, it'll have considerably more draw from 3x exhausts, so a chimney+.

With the backwards cpu, if you look at that picture (ignore all the arrows) the front fan will be closest to the rear, center fan pushing exhaust towards the front of the case. A 180° turn. If you look directly above that area is 2x 140mm top exhaust fans, free and clear of any obstruction, being fed directly from the fans below.

So the cpu exhaust will be headed directly towards the front of the case, yet get turned 90° upwards before it really even gets there. Whether you center/rear or front/center the fans is up to you. But most of the air fed to the cpu will be coming from below it, not from the rear exhaust port, because above the cpu cooler is the third, top-rear, exhaust fan pulling air from below.

I think it's another Herald, Paladin, who has a similar setup. Because of pc location, he uses a top-rear intake and front exhaust. It's not ideal, but does workout better than a conventional setup for him.
 

vukhanhtrung

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@Phaaze88: would love to hear the result from your test !
@Karadjgne: so for my setup, the chimney would be something like this:

CPU fan blow rear to front
Intake:
  • 1x 140mm bot-front
  • 1x 120mm bot-mid
  • Bot-rear is taken by the HDD stack (or would you suggest moving it else where?)
  • Not what you suggested but maybe 1x140mm intake from the bottom of the front panel?
Exhaust:
3x 140mm top

Or did I misunderstand what you suggested?
 
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Phaaze88

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Herald
@Phaaze88: would love to hear the result from your test !
@Karadjgne: so for my setup, the chimney would be something like this:

CPU fan blow rear to front
Intake:
1x 140mm bot-front
1x 120mm bot-mid
Bot-rear is taken by the HDD stack (or would you suggest moving it else where?)

Exhaust:
3x 140mm top

Or did I misunderstand what you suggested?
I will be sure to update later tomorrow - might even go ahead and include pics.

So you currently only have 6x 140mm fans?
 

vukhanhtrung

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I will be sure to update later tomorrow - might even go ahead and include pics.

So you currently only have 6x 140mm fans?
Currently I have no case fan, so yeah, just asking for guidances before heading out to buy the needed amount of fans, so of course the less fan I need the better. Pictures would be amazing !
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
Since you can't use the side...
Typical layout:
Front: 4x 120mm/3x 140mm
Rear: 120mm/140mm
Top: 120mm/140mm

Chimney approach:
Bottom: 2x 120mm + 1x 140mm [If you want the uniform look, then do 3x 120mm]
Top: 3x 120mm [3x 140mm probably won't be great here, as the top-front fan will just pull out cool air...]
Rear(optional): 120mm/140mm. [I'm going to test this later today to see whether a fan here will be effective at all.]
Front: 4x 120mm/3x 140mm


The reason I sometimes listed '/', either or, is because depending on the quality of the fans you end up getting, some 120mm can move more air than 140mm.
But I have Noctua IPPC 3000s, so 140mm wins most of the time.
 

vukhanhtrung

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Since you can't use the side...
Typical layout:
Front: 4x 120mm/3x 140mm
Rear: 120mm/140mm
Top: 120mm/140mm

Chimney approach:
Bottom: 2x 120mm + 1x 140mm [If you want the uniform look, then do 3x 120mm]
Top: 3x 120mm [3x 140mm probably won't be great here, as the top-front fan will just pull out cool air...]
Rear(optional): 120mm/140mm. [I'm going to test this later today to see whether a fan here will be effective at all.]
Front: 4x 120mm/3x 140mm


The reason I sometimes listed '/', either or, is because depending on the quality of the fans you end up getting, some 120mm can move more air than 140mm.
But I have Noctua IPPC 3000s, so 140mm wins most of the time.
I assume you would put the HDDs stack on the side panel to use the bot-rear fan slot?

With the typical setup using 5 fans, unless there is a big difference in temperature, I would try to limit the amount of fans on chimney setup to 5-6 fans at most.
I'm looking forward to your test results!
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Chimney approach is air in bottom, air out the top, no sideways flow, so no front intakes. A typical setup is exactly the same, except it's front to back. So in effect you do the same thing except now you use heat convection from cpu and especially gpu to your advantage. The warmer air gets, the less dense it is, so is lighter and rises. The result is that heat goes up. Typical cases, especially with rear exhaust, are trying to turn that natural upwards flow 90° sideways. That works if the top is solid because it's an outlet for now stagnant warmer air. With fan ports on top, that's where air naturally wants to go, up, so rear exhausts are fighting natural airflow. The only time a rear exhaust is beneficial is with tower aircoolers as the cpu exhaust is directed at the rear fan. By turning the cpu cooler backwards, you dump its exhaust into the dead space where optical bays used to be, but now there's a top fan sucking it right out, helped by natural heat convection and the upwards movement of air from the bottom intakes.
 

vukhanhtrung

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Chimney approach is air in bottom, air out the top, no sideways flow, so no front intakes. A typical setup is exactly the same, except it's front to back. So in effect you do the same thing except now you use heat convection from cpu and especially gpu to your advantage. The warmer air gets, the less dense it is, so is lighter and rises. The result is that heat goes up. Typical cases, especially with rear exhaust, are trying to turn that natural upwards flow 90° sideways. That works if the top is solid because it's an outlet for now stagnant warmer air. With fan ports on top, that's where air naturally wants to go, up, so rear exhausts are fighting natural airflow. The only time a rear exhaust is beneficial is with tower aircoolers as the cpu exhaust is directed at the rear fan. By turning the cpu cooler backwards, you dump its exhaust into the dead space where optical bays used to be, but now there's a top fan sucking it right out, helped by natural heat convection and the upwards movement of air from the bottom intakes.
Thank you for the clear explanation, I understood how it works now.

My problem is my build makes use of 2 HDDs, which took place of the bottom-rear fan. I can move the HDDs to the front but then it will block the chimney somewhat (pictures below).

Given the case's possible HDD locations https://imgur.com/KANJBqG
For my HDD build, there are 2 setups for chimney https://imgur.com/1Rxypae
  • Chimney1 (fans required 4x140, 1x120) : 3x140 top, 1x140 bot-front, 1x120 bot-front
  • Chimney2 (fans required 4x140, 2x120): 3x140 top, 1x140 bot-front, 2x120 bot-mid&rear
If all else fail I guess I would have to go with the typical setup. https://imgur.com/ITTtNF8
  • Typical (fans required 5x140): 3x140 front, 1x140 rear, 1x140 top-rear
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Ok. Personally, I'd do a mixture, get a boost. If you stick the hdd cage bottom right, right in front of the lowest front intake (where you thought of putting a fan, that'll accomplish 2 things while only partially blocking bottom intake. It becomes a windbrake from the front fan. So you'll still get air in, but now it really won't affect the upwards flow, since it gets mostly blocked, and forced upwards, where the bottom fans just help that extra along. Bonus air. It'll also (between the bottom fan and side fan) dump a considerable amount of fresh air on/between the hdds, so even heavy usage won't affect temps there much. If you put the rack high/top, you stick them at the hottest part of the case.
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
Phew! Finally finished! The configuration testing took awhile.
Before(traditional setup):
View: https://i.imgur.com/4xl66ty.jpg

View: https://i.imgur.com/W3Fo9De.jpg


After(chimney... not really, I'll explain below):
View: https://i.imgur.com/K4F0y6i.jpg

View: https://i.imgur.com/An7EAIF.jpg



Anyways, I got slightly better temps from the vertical placement of the cpu cooler over the traditional method, so I'll be keeping it like that at least until I get around to slapping a waterblock + pump/reservoir combo on this gpu. Combinations I tried below...
Trial 1:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm [I did try 3, but soon found it to be pointless. I only felt cool air from it - temps were slightly worse because of it.]
Result: The base template.

Trial 2:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm
-Rear: 140mm
Result: No real change here. Temps within margin of error, although gpu was 1-2C lower, likely due to the rear fan.

Trial 3:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm
-Rear: 140mm
-Front: 3x 140mm
Result: This one surprised me. Within margin of error, very little change.

Trial 4:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm
-Rear: 140mm
-Side: 4x 120mm
Result: 2nd best overall cooling. The intake from the side is stronger than the front. Looks like the design of the front panel is a little restrictive - that didn't stop me from getting this case. Besides, there are far worse front panel designs out there.

Trial 5:
-Bottom: 3x 120mm
-Top: 2x 140mm
-Rear 140mm
-Side: 4x 120mm
-Front: 3x 140mm
Result: Best overall cooling. 2C cooler over the template[How that result fares depends on perspective] The front panel fans have the added benefit of further directing the air coming from the side panel.
Of course, with all these fans comes more noise... but with the kind of fans I run with, I'm clearly not as sensitive to it as some others! 🤣

@vukhanhtrung Since the side panel is blocked off, the best setup for you is going to revolve around #s 1 and 2.
The front fans don't really come into play unless you add side fans, but that does mean more noise.
Once you start installing AIOs or custom loop, I imagine things will be a little different.
 
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Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Woof, that's a ton of fans.

Did you try adjusting fan curves? , lower the sp on the side fans. Cfm will also drop, but not nearly as much, that'll put the front fans as a higher source of pressure, giving more push towards the rear of the case.

And you do realize that by removing the front fan from the D15, you basically turned it into a D15S, which typically runs @ 3-4° warmer than a D15. So an overall 5-6° change. Just with that rotation.

But really nice job on the testing and changes.
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
Didn't really need to.
https://noctua.at/en/nf-a14-industrialppc-3000-pwm/specification
The 140mm are stupidly strong over the 120mm counterpart. I've already experienced this when running these in my older cases, the CM H500P Mesh and the Phantom 820.
1000rpm, 2000, 3000(or as close to it as they could)... the 140mm won out every time. I automatically disregarded the front panel 4x 120mm setup because of this.
Now that I think about it, since the airflow on a 140mm is a little more spread out, perhaps I should change that bottom-front fan back to a 140mm... likely won't change much, but I'll do it anyway!


Change of plans, I'll try the 4x 120mm front tomorrow and see if anything changes.
 

vukhanhtrung

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@Phaaze88: Wow, a lot of interesting test results there.
Personally I wouldn't do water cooling (at least for a few years before I can afford playing around with custom loop) because air cooling is easier to maintain for me.

It's unexpected that you would turn the CPU fan upward, that could be the reason why the top front fan is ineffective?
Omg now you confused me even more with the vertical CPU fan setup and don't know what to ask anymore :)).

I guess I will ask how much improvement you get between the traditional front to rear cooling and the chimney one?

@Karadjgne: I like the theory there with how the HDD at front-bottom act as a windbrake.

Btw, I assume I need to remove the top dust filter for top exhaust right?
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Don't know. Some filters are quite detrimental to airflow, so removing the air filter removes the back pressure, allowing better airflow, and consequently temps. Some filters don't do much to hinder airflow, especially on the exhaust side of the fan, so really won't have any affect overall. It'll be a testing thing on your part to see what's better.
 
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Phaaze88

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Herald
@Phaaze88: Wow, a lot of interesting test results there.
Personally I wouldn't do water cooling (at least for a few years before I can afford playing around with custom loop) because air cooling is easier to maintain for me.
While this case is quite flexible with it's options, it's still more biased towards liquid cooling. There are better options out there if you're going to stay with air cooling.

I considered running a full custom loop, but changed that plan to instead only liquid cool the gpu, as that's the part that sees the most benefit from doing so.
I might do the cpu later, but it's REALLY low on the list.


It's unexpected that you would turn the CPU fan upward, that could be the reason why the top front fan is ineffective?
Omg now you confused me even more with the vertical CPU fan setup and don't know what to ask anymore :)).
What's unexpected about it? I did it @Karadjgne 's suggestion.
The chimney approach is bottom intake, and top exhaust. The cpu cooler should also be turned 90 degrees - getting it's air from the bottom, and exhausting out the top.

The top-front fan wasn't effective because it was only drawing cool air. The diameter of 2x 140mm fans was enough to satisfy as the top exhaust.


I guess I will ask how much improvement you get between the traditional front to rear cooling and the chimney one?
2-3 degrees cooler overall. Doesn't sound like much, but for me, every little bit counts.
Now I just need to test the 4x120mm front panel config...


Btw, I assume I need to remove the top dust filter for top exhaust right?
Yep, unless you want to give your fans a harder time getting rid of that heat! XD
 
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vukhanhtrung

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@Phaaze88: afaik @Karadjgne didn't suggest turning it 90 degree, he suggested turning the CPU fan 180 degrees (blow hot air from back to front, which then get sucked up by the top fan). Like in this picture View: https://m.imgur.com/1Rxypae
(ignore the HDD thing). If the CPU fan blow hot air more to the front (instead of straight up) I could see the reason for the top-front fan.

Definely gonna test taking the dust filter off.
 

Phaaze88

Admirable
Herald
Huh...
Oops!

Well, I wasn't going to turn the rear into an intake without a filter... so I guess turning it 90 degrees was my own idea!
Hey, it worked out!
The NH-D15S is such an awesome cooler... I hope Noctua actually launches the 7-heatpipe variant that they showed off at Computex!
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Heh. It's not an uncommon thing to have a cooler tower faced upwards. For years there was some towers on amd boards where that was the only option due to the mounting design. Intel stuck with a perfect square, so the cooler fit any direction, but amd was a rectangle.

Definitely been a very interesting thread, thank you both for that. It's a welcome breath of fresh air (pun) vs the multitude of what cpu or what psu or will it fit posts.
 
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