Is there a more efficient layout for my cooler/fans?

Aug 10, 2018
Hey guys,

I upgraded to a Cooler Master ML360R from a 120mm Asetek. I also added 6 fans, for a total of 9. My current layout has 3 fans as exhaust on the radiator (mounted at the top), 3 on the side as intake, and 3 on the bottom as intake. I noticed upon installation that my idle temps are the exact same as they were with my 120mm cooler and only 2 fans (1 on rad as exhaust, and another as intake elsewhere). My temps under max load via AIDA64 top out at the low to mid 60s, which is a major improvement.

But I can't help but feel that I could lower the idle temps by better placement of the fans. And yes, I am open to moving the radiator elsewhere - to the side, for example. All fans are running on Auto, and the pump is always running at max. I am open to the criticism that I didn't apply the thermal paste correctly, used a bad kind (Cooler Master paste that came with the AIO kit) or the cooler itself isn't mounted properly... however, I feel that they are all installed correctly.

Pics attached below (and yes, I quite like RGB):


Do note that regardless how you place your fans, you can't get your idle temps lower than ambient temp since your PC is still cooled by ambient air. Only way to get lower idle temps than ambient temp is using LN2 cooling.

Better CPU cooler doesn't necessarily mean lower idle temps, instead, better cooler's job is to keep your CPU from reaching higher temps during the load, hence the temp diff you see in AIDA64.

Though, for best possible cooling with air, aim towards negative pressure than positive pressure (your current setup). There are pros and cons with positive and negative pressure and here's a short explanation:

Positive pressure (higher air intake than air exhaust)
Less dust enters the system
All case openings contribute to getting heat out

Less cooling than negative or neutral pressure
Can create stagnant air inside the case which causes internal temps to rise

Negative pressure (higher air exhaust than air intake)
Better cooling than positive or neutral pressure
Amplification of natural convection

More dust enters the system
All case openings contribute to the air intake

Neutral pressure is between the two above.

Further reading about setting up airflow: