Build Advice Modding a Pre-built Sleeper for Airflow

Dec 27, 2019
Hello there,

My current project is working on my 6 year old HP Pavilion which I'm trying to turn into a sleeper gaming machine within the original case. I'd like to make some mods to it to improve airflow. Airflow isn't really a huge issue right now as I rarely see temperatures get super high, but I thought it couldn't hurt and would be a fun little project to spend time on rather than spending $1200 on a completely new build.

So what do you think I should do to this case to get better airflow?

Here are my current specs:

  • Motherboard: Pegatron Memphis-S LGA 1150 (came stock with the pre-built computer, one of the only original parts)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4790 CPU @3.60GHz (the best cpu i can have in my current motherboard to my knowledge)
  • RAM: Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB Kit (2x8GB) 1600MHz DDR3 CL10 DIMM
  • Graphics Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 3GB (I chose this based on price, but probably should have gone with the 6GB Vram one. Almost time to upgrade anyway)
  • Storage: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD (but thinking about adding a larger HDD soon)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Here are my thoughts as of right now:

1. Add an intake fan. There are holes in the front of the case at the bottom where I could possibly put an intake fan which it currently doesn't have, but the front panel is pretty much sealed off and I would have to drill holes in the plastic so the intake fan could get air which I'm totally fine with doing.

2. Upgrade cpu heatsink and fan. The current heatsink/fan is the original fan for the i3 that came with the pc. I was thinking of replacing it with a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO if it will fit. and face the fan toward the back so the intake fan, cpu fan, and exhaust fan have a clear path for air in that bottom chamber.

3. What to do about the graphics card? The GPU in this thing does actually get pretty toasty when running stress tests. (84°C max temp last time I tested). Right now I have the power supply fan facing downward and the graphics card facing upward which I'm pretty sure is not good for either, so I'm thinking that maybe I flip the power supply to face up and make a cutout or drill some holes in the top of the case so the power supply can suck air (or does it blow?) safely and vent out the back. I'm also not sure if the gpu fan blows or sucks, but I can't really do anything about it's orientation unless I get a different gpu which I might be willing to do since it feels slightly underpowered with modern games. Especially if I want to upgrade my monitor soon to 144hz.

4. Actually now that I look at it, I could possibly install two intake fans on the front. One on the bottom by the SSD and one in the middle where the nest of wires is.

5. The nest of wires. stock ketchup and mustard wires from the power supply. There are a lot of extra adapters and things I don't really need for my current setup, so maybe I should get a modular power supply and only plug in the things I need?

6. I realize it would probably be easier to just take all the parts out of my computer and put them in a new case with better airflow design, but I'm trying to make this a fun project like a teenager would do to a Honda Civic. Not only will it be fun, but it should save me some money too.

7. I could replace the rear exhaust fan, but it is quiet and from what I have researched it pushes out 45 cfm which is higher than most. If I upgraded to something higher, it would no doubt be pretty noisy.

8. Speaking of noisy, My whole system right now is whisper quiet except for the graphics card fan. When the fans are at 100% it is super loud. It's not much of a problem during normal gaming, I have my curve set so it doesn't go full throttle unless the temps get super high, but just making a note.

9. Other Upgrades: I took out the original 1TB hard drive because I thought the 500gb SSD would be enough, but as I game hop quite a bit I'm finding myself having to uninstall games I'm not currently playing only to reinstall them later, so maybe I should put it back in (if I can find what I did with it). Or maybe I can just buy a new one. Are some hard drives better than others i assume? Maybe I add another SSD or just have windows on my ssd and get a large hard drive for games.

Well, those are my ideas. Anybody else have any? attached is a picture of my computer's guts as I have it right now and the bare motherboard. I feel like with a few improvements it could be something special. What do you think?

Here's a link to pics of my system:



May 18, 2013
Ok, let me try to answer everything I can here, organized by your points:

1. Adding more intake is never a bad idea.

2. Also consider using liquid cooling for the cpu. Even without a designated pump header, you can get an adapter. You have room for the radiator on an all in one system.

3. Don't flip your power supply. The fan blows in and it would fight the gpu for air. If you liquid cooled the cpu there would be much less heat overall in the case, keeping the other parts cooler too. The extra intake would help even more.

4. Again, more intake can't hurt but try my other suggestions first.

5. A modular PSU would be helpful, not just for looks but also for airflow. Less clutter = better air.

6. The idea of a sleeper is definitely a fun project. The key is keeping the outside looking stock until you "pop the hood" or hear it roar.

7. 45 cfm is good. No need to replace it unless you want a radiator there.

8. Better airflow will keep the gpu fans quiet all the time, even under load.

9. Only certain games have any benefit loading from a ssd. Online games are typically limited to the host/server speed of loading. It's fun to see yourself loading fastest on LoL, but in the end you're still waiting for the guy on a 5400 rpm drive. Local games like skyrim and fallout benefit the most from a ssd. Save yourself a few bucks and dig out your 1tb hard drive and you can keep movies, older games, etc on there.
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