Question Need Additional Cooling - advice please!

Oct 11, 2021
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Alright - I need help!

I want to include additional cooling in my recent computer build. Currently, I am averaging about 70 degrees for my CPU, and 83 degrees for my GPU while playing at 120 FPS. Computer works great, and is not that loud - just a tad hotter than I’d like.

I’ve tried adding fans and putting them in different configurations, but I’m not really an expert on air-flow. And, I do not know any additional hardware options - anything other than adding fans is foreign territory for me. I’ve tried everything I know how (which isn’t very much), and nothing seems to cool down further.

Here are a few pictures that show my base configuration, and then added 3 additional fans in desperation.

This project has the the following parameters:
  1. No liquid cooling
  2. Must use this case
  3. Budget of $1000 or less
  4. Sits in ~43 degrees (~80 Fahrenheit) room
I’m very open for critique of my current build, suggestions for what to add / how to configure my hardware, and any additional help on my BIOS / Settings that you think would help.

My build:
  • NZXT H510 Elite - CA-H510E-W1 - Premium Mid-Tower (Back and Top exhaust fans have been upgraded)
  • GAMEMAX Power Supply 850W Fully Modular 80+ Gold Certified
  • GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS PRO AX ATX Intel Motherboard
  • GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 12GB GDDR6X PCI Express 4.0 ATX Video Card
  • Intel Core i9-11900K - Core i9 11th Gen Rocket Lake 8-Core 3.5 GHz LGA 1200 125W
  • Noctua NH-D15 SSO2 D-Type Premium CPU Cooler, NF-A15 x 2 PWM Fans
  • 4x 16gig (64gigs) G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 4800 Intel XMP 2.0 Desktop Memory
  • 2x Sabrent 1TB Rocket 4 PLUS NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 Internal SSD Extreme Performance Solid State Drive






 

USAFRet

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  1. Other than look semi cool, what are the 3 fans at bottom right doing?
  2. Rotate the CPU cooler 90 degrees counter clockwise....blowing towards the back
  3. What is the PSU fan doing? Does this case have a grill under the PSU area?
  4. Why is the middle fan at the top doing? Why is it there?
 

Phaaze88

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You've crammed 'too much powah!' inside the chassis.
The reason thermals aren't where you'd like them, even though you've added fans is because these:
-the tiny side grille
-the tiny bottom grille at the front
-the single top grille
-the rear grille
Combined, these just don't allow enough air in and out of the PC.
The higher your power consumption is, the more air you need moving in and getting out - but here, intake and exhaust are already choked by design. How do you get around that?
There's an 11900K and 3090 in there - pretty much the pinnacle of high power consumption.

I am averaging about 70 degrees for my CPU, and 83 degrees for my GPU
The 11900K has the Thermal Velocity Boost feature, which basically gives it an extra 100mhz across the board, if it's at 70C or lower, so you're really not going to get much lower than that.
The 3080Ti is hitting it's thermal limit - 83C is the default, with a maximum of 91C.


Probably the next best thing you can do is undervolt both.
 
Oct 11, 2021
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  1. Other than look semi cool, what are the 3 fans at bottom right doing?
  2. Rotate the CPU cooler 90 degrees counter clockwise....blowing towards the back
  3. What is the PSU fan doing? Does this case have a grill under the PSU area?
  4. Why is the middle fan at the top doing? Why is it there?
  1. Just hoping they'll blow additional air into the GPU, not sure if it's working or worth it though!
  2. When I tried this, the metal was right up against the back fan and it was making noise. I'm very open to doing this as an option, and if others also agree this is the most effective change. (?)
  3. It's just a standard PSU, it pushes downward into the PSU. Yes, it does have a grill under.
  4. It's the extra CPU cooling fan. Simply just wants to push more air faster toward the CPU / back exhaust - because I (unfortunately) couldn't fit it on the PSU cooler. Again, not sure if it's working / worth it.
Thanks!
 

Zerk2012

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  1. Just hoping they'll blow additional air into the GPU, not sure if it's working or worth it though!
  2. When I tried this, the metal was right up against the back fan and it was making noise. I'm very open to doing this as an option, and if others also agree this is the most effective change. (?)
  3. It's just a standard PSU, it pushes downward into the PSU. Yes, it does have a grill under.
  4. It's the extra CPU cooling fan. Simply just wants to push more air faster toward the CPU / back exhaust - because I (unfortunately) couldn't fit it on the PSU cooler. Again, not sure if it's working / worth it.
Thanks!
Buy a better case.
 
Oct 11, 2021
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It sounds like that because of the amount of the case’s limited air intake ability, it may be a detrimental ratio between the heat generated by the extra power for the fans/LEDs and so outweighs the benefits of the fans. If this this truly the case, would the Base Configuration (image 1) be the recommendation?

I’m not really willing or trying to get a different case, but wonder about alterations.

I kind of want to know if I’m actually making things worse by my airflow - mostly regarding the 3 fans on the below, do they conflict with the intake fans on the front at all?

From my testing the heat with or without those extra 3 fans is very small, nearly unnoticeable. My GPU is 1-2 degrees hotter in Base Configuration (image 1) and the CPU is 1-2 degrees hotter in my Current Build (image 3).

A few other questions and thoughts:

  1. Is my PSU too big/hot?
  2. Would attaching horizontal fans pointing out from my GPU vents toward the case’s thermal glass help?
  3. Is there a variant case-side that has more air intake?
  4. Could I add two 40m exhaust or intake fans on the back, side over the PSU?
  5. I haven’t seen any other cooling hardwares other than fans, but are there any?
Thanks for the input!
 
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Phaaze88

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1)Psu has nothing to do with it. It's just the 'messenger'... you don't want to shoot the messenger, do you?
The biggest power users are the gpu and cpu, by far. Everything else is pretty minor compared to those 2.
The psu just delivers power to those and other parts.

2)No. Glass is an insulator of heat.
3)No. You could dremel your own though.
NZXT has their H700s which was their response to the H500's airflow complaints.
They also recently launched the H510 Flow. It fixes the intake, but the exhaust is still the same... a half-assed solution, IMO.

4)It's not like the psu fan is weak... I don't see the point of this one.
5)I don't understand this question. Someone else might.
 

madmatt30

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Nzxt h510 - one of the worst cases on the market for airflow and temps.

I9-11900k - most power hungry and hottest running cpu on the market.

Rtx 3080ti - one of the most power hungry and hottest running gpu's on the market

43c ambient temps! 20c over what most people would consider average room temps (most coolers /cases/cpu's/gpu's are tested with 21-24c ambient temps.

You're not fighting a losing battle here, you've already lost.

You've got loads of internal fans doing nothing but pushing superheated air around, that psu fan is fighting with the GPU fans (which isn't really getting any airflow anyway), the noctua is pulling superheated air from the GPU backplate in that orientation - the noctua can just about manage an 11900k ideal conditions which is not what you have.

That whole system would completely cook itself were it not for the thermal safety features built in!.

You need a new case plain and simple.
Something mesh fronted with a minimum of 2 x 140mm intakes, and 2 x 120mm/140mm exhausts.

Get rid of all the internal fan frippery, put your psu the right way around to ilosate it from the rest of the system (I dread to think what your psu's internal temps are currently under heavy load) and put the noctua the correct way around so it's running front to back.

You'll still have high temps because of your ambient temps but they're going to at least be safe.
 

avg9956

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Let me share mines, as I also vouch only for pure air cooling solution.


Although not seen clearly, there's 2 intake fans at the bottom. There's dust filter on the bottom part of the case which allows it for it to be an intake. Personally I don't feel those 2 fans do as much good but I added them anyhow.



Left: 3 intake fans at the top. Right: Top view of the case. I prefer a porous top where the air flow will go inside rather than having a top cover that is covered on the top and has its vents on the sides for the air intake. For me, I find it that this helps a lot with cooling, when cold air sinks in.



2 more intake fans in the front

Specs of this build are in my signature.

With this I'm able to get 35-36C on my NVMe SSD on idle, 40-45C while gaming (Never hit 50C anymore)
CPU Temps are also manageable on my Ryzen 9 5900x. 35-40C on Idle, 60-70C on load/gaming
GPU is 45C on Idle, 60-70C on load/gaming

Other notes:
The 2x auxiliary 80mm fans really help push that hot air pocket on top of the NVMe SSD, beneath the CPU area so that it moves all the way to the exhaust.
I have power limited my GPU and under volted it
I plan to replace those remaining Phanteks fans soon, so it can be all Noctua
Cable management can come later... (busy atm)
My PSU is on the back side of the case and its venting air out through another vent.
I am also using 2 fan hubs for this many amount of fans...
I bought this 5 year old case recently due to its design. None of its components is made of glass (so I don't need to worry anything breaking). Not really fond of the glass-show case cases but lack in the air flow department.

For my BIOS Fan settings:
I can ramp up my smaller Noctua 80mm fans at full speed (2200 rpm) without any audible noise, whereas the Noctua 120mm NF-A12 fans start making audible noise past 1200 rpm, so I set the fan speeds for these at or below that rate. The noise level of the case is almost not noticeable even at idle unless you went under the desk to look at it.

I wouldn't necessarily say a big case provides a lot more air cooling, as it still depends on the design of the case.
Overall still happy with it since my previous temp on my NVMe SSD was 40C on idle and 52C on load/gaming. The air felt hot, and that was on my previous case which was the NZXT H440, without any jury rigged fans.
 
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Phaaze88

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Can you explain what you mean by PSU the right way?
I think there is no wrong way - it depends on the setup.
Some would argue that fan down is the de-facto only/best way to mount the psu; isolating it from the rest of the system.
The Corsair AX850 I'm using has a 0rpm, fan off mode, only spinning up when it's under a decent load.
This feature doesn't work as effectively when the fan is down, so it's fan up in my PC... but my gpu isn't air cooled either, so the psu isn't fighting with the gpu at all for air when it spins up.
 
Oct 11, 2021
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Some would argue that fan down is the de-facto only/best way to mount the psu; isolating it from the rest of the system.
So that is literally 'upside-down' from the way I have it now (glowing fan goes on the bottom)? Do you think my placement of PSU is at all the issue here, because it conflicts with the airflow from my bottom 3 fans?

Although not seen clearly, there's 2 intake fans at the bottom. There's dust filter on the bottom part of the case which allows it for it to be an intake. Personally I don't feel those 2 fans do as much good but I added them anyhow
This has helped for ideas... you have fans pointed upward, that flow from under the case like an intake. I have 3 fans at the bottom, are they accomplishing anything of the same thing?

Also! Are my GPUs fan's pushing air up or down? Yours indicates down, I thought they were pushing air up?
 

avg9956

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Also! Are my GPUs fan's pushing air up or down? Yours indicates down, I thought they were pushing air up?
Downward

But for my case even if I have 2x bottom fans facing upward, their far enough from the GPU fans so as not to contradict the air flow.
I just place those 2x Noctua bottom fans for completeness sake rather than actual utility.

I have 3 fans at the bottom, are they accomplishing anything of the same thing?
It's generally not a good idea to have like 2 fans, each contradicting each other's flow (i.e. blowing against each other). The hot air will be confused where to go.
The 3 fans at the bottom is kind of pointless.

A fan moves air from one place to another but it should also have a source air, and this source air must be cold/low temperature in order to cool your system. The only way to achieve that is if the fan is placed on a vent where air can pass through so that it can intake cold air from your air conditioning.

By placing 3 fans on the bottom on top of your metal shroud, where does the air come from? The end result is just making the air push upwards. It does not introduce cold air, it just makes air move from one place to another.

Nzxt h510 - one of the worst cases on the market for airflow and temps.
I would recommend getting a case instead with better air flow. I second everyone's suggestion in this case. It's simply not possible to increase the intake of cold air further without getting a proper case.
 

Phaaze88

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So that is literally 'upside-down' from the way I have it now (glowing fan goes on the bottom)? Do you think my placement of PSU is at all the issue here, because it conflicts with the airflow from my bottom 3 fans?
I, at least, don't have an issue with how your psu is placed.

What I see as the problem, which I brought up in my first post: Total power consumption is too high for the chassis you want to work with, which wasn't designed to handle large heat loads.
You've got one of the most power hungry cpus in today's market combined with one of the most power hungry gpus in a chassis with both its dedicated intakes and exhausts heavily restricted.
The higher system power consumption is/gets, the more air that needs to be moved in and out... adding fans only does so much when the chassis physically works against that.
 

Phaaze88

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@avg9956
You're creating confusion with that airflow image. Please change that, as that is not what happens.
The gpu fans are intakes. The exhaust comes out the sides - except in models that have the finstack running front to back.
The pattern is the same as a normal chassis fan:


Unless you manually took your gpu apart and flipped its fans somehow, they are intakes.
 
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Oct 11, 2021
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You've got one of the most power hungry cpus in today's market combined with one of the most power hungry gpus in a chassis with both its dedicated intakes and exhausts heavily restricted.
I got it - I'm just trying to make work with what I have, as best I can. I'm not opposed to modifying the actual case, for the record - but understand my case is the root of my problem. (mostly why I'm posting).

Unless you manually took your gpu apart and flipped its fans somehow, they are intakes.
Thanks - with this confirmed, I'm wondering if having fans point directly under the GPU helps with anything? I wanted to try to take the (little) intake air I had from the front and push it directly into the GPU fans...

there's 2 intake fans at the bottom. There's dust filter on the bottom part of the case which allows it for it to be an intake. Personally I don't feel those 2 fans do as much good but I added them anyhow.
Another question, the 3 additional fans - should I use these in the same way and mount them closer to the bottom of the case?
 

Phaaze88

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Thanks - with this confirmed, I'm wondering if having fans point directly under the GPU helps with anything? I wanted to try to take the (little) intake air I had from the front and push it directly into the GPU fans...
Normally, they do, but here, there's just many points of air resistance. From back to front:
1)the rear PCIe slot covers
2)the gpu fans' proximity to the psu shroud
3)the psu shroud. Even though the psu shroud in this chassis is perforated, it's usefulness for gpu air intake is rendered next to useless by:
-the psu
-the holes themselves
-the psu's cables
-the drive cage and drives in it
-the cable management bar
4)the front panel
So the small area where the slot covers are at, the small bottom-front area(it's got a little filter there), and a small section of the side vent... that's the gpu's access to intake air.
 
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Normally, they do, but here, there's just many points of air resistance. From back to front:
Thanks - I intend to remove as much of the resistance you've listed as possible.

  1. Rear PCI slot covers -> Should I replace these with 40mm fans? or just remove them?
  2. Should I remove the shroud if possible?
  3. I could replace the glass with a grate? I've seen some mods like this, worth it? NZXT H1 Custom Vented Front Panel
 

madmatt30

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I, at least, don't have an issue with how your psu is placed.

What I see as the problem, which I brought up in my first post: Total power consumption is too high for the chassis you want to work with, which wasn't designed to handle large heat loads.
You've got one of the most power hungry cpus in today's market combined with one of the most power hungry gpus in a chassis with both its dedicated intakes and exhausts heavily restricted.
The higher system power consumption is/gets, the more air that needs to be moved in and out... adding fans only does so much when the chassis physically works against that.

My issue is with the proximity between the GPU and psu.

You've got a psu pulling air down, and a gpu pulling air up.

Thats a 3 slot card, the h510 is a fairly squat case

I bet there's only about 3 inches between them.

At best they're cancelling each others
airflow out and there's no reason whatsoever not to turn that psu around imo.

Seriously though a new case is what's required, theres no way around that.

Components are packed in there like sardines in a tin, while it may look nice aesthetically it's not made for those type of components.

The GPU is getting no air, neither is the cpu while the cooler is in that orientation.
 
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avg9956

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The gpu fans are intakes. The exhaust comes out the sides - except in models that have the finstack running front to back.
Oh right, forgot about that. I got used to the idea that if you put a NVMe M.2 SSD below a GPU, it would further heat the SSD because the GPU was exhausting heat from its fans.

Another question, the 3 additional fans - should I use these in the same way and mount them closer to the bottom of the case?
Only mount fans at the bottom case if there is a slot to do so. Otherwise, don't even bother.



In my case, the case is really designed to wield 2 bottom fans at the bottom as intakes. The air passes through a small vent at the bottom part of the case with dust filters.

Another thing to note is that you can only set fans as intakes if the vent has a dust filter. If it does not and if you set it as an intake, you will introduce dust inside your build overtime and accumulate it.

As for an ineffective case, I already listed my old NZXT H440 up for sale. I won't get its full value back, but at least I'll be able to salvage some of it.
A good case can last you for years or even possibly a decade or two if there is no need to change it at all and is still useable.
 
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Oct 11, 2021
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Thanks for all the advice, input, and thoughts - very, very helpful.

I've made adjustments based on the thread, right now I get temps while at max gameplay for GPU at stable 81 degrees, and CPU of 68 degrees.

Here are the adjustments I've made, and some updated images:
  • Rotated the CPU Cooler to be horizontal, with the new orientation allowing the fan to push out toward the back exhaust (instead of up). I’m hoping also that this prevents hot air from the GPU top-plate from being sucked onto the CPU unnecessarily.

  • Added a second fan attached to the other heat sink of the CPU Cooler.

  • Flipped the PSU upside-down, so the fan sucks from the bottom air vent as the case was designed. Hopefully now this prevents PSU from competing with the GPUs airflow.

  • Rerouted the GPU’s and Motherboard’s power cables to move them away from any of the GPU’s heat sink / exhaust, and generally to help open more case space.

  • Reconfigured the 3 fans at the bottom. Attempting to push air down below the GPU, and up into it (now not cancelled out by the PSU). I am still questioning their effectiveness...

  • Removed an unused metal chassis located in the bottom area of the case next to PSU, removing metal material and allowing more space down below.

  • General cable tidying, primarily in the hidden area under the case, and more cleanly fitting in-case cables further behind in the side panel.
Still would like advice... anything else I should try?

  1. Could I add 2+ fans 40mm on the back PCI vertical slots with any benefit?
  2. Should I remove the back PCI metal slats, and let it be more open?
  3. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether or not this will help the overall case with better airflow, and should I get it? NZXT H510 Elite Custom Vented Front Panel ??


 
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