Question Filtered Panels - Is it still wise to use them as exhausts?

Jul 13, 2019
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So, I've been having this dilemma for a while now. I own an old Fractal Design Arc Mini R2, with both the front and top panels having a metal grill and dust filters underneath. I removed the extra drive cages including the 3.25 drive bays to optimize air flow. For fan configuration, I've currently set this up with two (2) static pressure fans at the front, a 140mm stock fan up top for exhaust, and a Corsair H80i in push-pull at the rear.

I've been planning to replace the 120mm AIO with a 240, and would probably set it up in the traditional way with the rad up top exhausting the hot air. BUT.. I've read somewhere that using exhaust fans against dust filters is pointless as it would just restrict/trap the hot air from exiting the case. Now, the easy solution would be for me to just remove the top filter, right? I would consider it, but with a lot of cases nowadays that include top panels with dust filters, I thought this is a topic worth discussing. I'd test it myself but I do not have the time nor the resources to try this out at the moment.

I found this interesting thread which basically disregards the "hot air rises.." thing in exchange for more intakes than exhaust for positive air pressure.

https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/af-or-sp-fans-for-intake-with-dust-filter.2731899/post-17489317

Knowing all this, should I still keep the traditional setup? Any other thoughts?
 
Jul 13, 2019
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Does a filter restrict airflow? - Yes. Either direction.
Does a radiator restrict airflow? - YES! MUCH more than a filter does.
Yes, I think that's pretty much a given. Would you still use a filtered panel as an exhaust though? Considering that some of the heat might just bounce back into the case.

The H80i is no slouch. Is it not cutting the mustard?
It served me well for I think, maybe 6 years now? The ends of the tubes look like they're drying out and cracked. I'm looking into a more recent model of a 240 or a 280. Maybe even a tower air cooler. Besides, I live in a tropical climate, I'll be needing the most cooling performance I can get.
 
Jul 13, 2019
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Yup. With exhaust fans that have filters in place, you just remove the filters.
Yes. Ultimately, that is what I'd do if I'm mounting my rad up top. Given that a lot of cases have top dust filters, seems such a waste to not use them. But what if I use them as intakes as well? I get to keep the filter and achieve positive air pressure as well, considering the science and math behind this in the thread I linked in my original post is valid and worth noting.
 

AllanGH

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Mar 10, 2019
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I'd wager that you already have intake filters, but they'd be decent for swapping-out the intake filters--if they fit--when you wash them. That way your system isn't running without a filter in place.

When it comes to radiators, my preference is to run them as a sub-assembly completely separate from the chassis, itself; so I really have no socially-acceptable opinion about running a radiator physically attached to a computer case.
 

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