Question Need advice on cooling a computer built in drawer

fish21

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Jul 10, 2016
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Hi,

I have my eyes set on the RTX 3080 and therefore have to say goodbye to my mini ITX case.

This gives me the oportunity to start a project which has been in the back of my mind for some time now. I would really like to skip buying a new case and build the system in a large drawer I have available. All the wiring is already in place since my current computer is located on top of the closet.

See photos of the closet below

I am planning to duplicate the top shelf where I would then cut a hole (or several) and install a grill/vent to allow for airflow.

The problem however, is that the top side is the only element of the closet which I can duplicate (or cut into). I rent the apprtement so I cannot and do not want to cut into the owner's furniture. Duplicating the whole drawer is too complex (especially since we are currently in a lockdown in our country so hardware stores are closed).

I would like some advice about cooling the inside of the drawer knowing that both the intake and exhaust will have to be located on the top. Is there an option for this without creating a short airflow circuit that does not reach the components? How many holes should I make? What dimensions should they be? How far should they be apart?

The inside dimensions of the drawer are:

Depth = 23 cm
Width = 48,5 cm
length = 53 cm

My computer components are:
  • MSI Z370I GAMING PRO CARBON
  • Intel i7 9700
  • D416GB 2400-16 Vengeance LPX
  • Noctua NH-L12S
  • 750W PSU
Case fans I will need to buy. So any advice in this regards is helpful as well.

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Ralston18

Titan
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Cosmetically - appealing.

And the design, construction, could be done.

Overall, I believe that there will be heat and dust problems developing very quickly.

And those particle board cabinets do not hold up to drilling, cutting, etc.. Which you cannot do anyway as I understand your post.

Keep the computer out in the open to ensure it stays cool.

There are other ways to address the cosmetics and manage cables.

Heat is an enemy of electronics so my recommendation is to rethink the project.

Just my thoughts on the matter. There may be other ideas and suggestions.....
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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If the only surface you can cut/modify is the top, then your options are limited.

2x 140mm fans, one at each opposite corner. One intake, one exhaust.
You're just trying to make airflow through that box. Nothing fancy.
 

fish21

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Jul 10, 2016
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Thanks for your responses. The purpose is not only for cosmetic reasons. It is also space efficient as I want to place my small tv on of the cabinet. But it will not block any exhaust or intake. It has two very small feet.

it will also most of the time not be on at the same time as the PC so there would not be any additional heat.

I guess I will have to just try it and monitor temperatures.

What if I would cut a hole in the middle of the top measuring 40cm by 40cm and cover it with a wide grated grill above the PC location (plus add some sort of dust filter)

would that increase feasibility? Or would that just be worse then two smaller holes further apart. Maybe there would be less of a flow and separation of in and out take.
 
What is the make/model of your current ITX case?
A FE version of the 3080 is relatively small and the rear exhaust capability should allow adequate cooling.

I think, that instead of building in a drawer, I would just remove the drawer and use a HTPC type case installed where the drawer used to be.
 

fish21

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Jul 10, 2016
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What is the make/model of your current ITX case?
A FE version of the 3080 is relatively small and the rear exhaust capability should allow adequate cooling.

I think, that instead of building in a drawer, I would just remove the drawer and use a HTPC type case installed where the drawer used to be.
My current case is the 'Lazer 3D LZ7 SFX'.

. There is an extension option they now made available so that it can hold a RTX 3080 FE.

I already thought about going that route, but:

  • would not help creating space on the closet. The contrary actually, since the case would even be bigger.
  • is a very expensive option just for a case extension as I need the shipping + parcel forwarding from UK since the case is not available in my country adn they do not deliver to it. So in total that would come down to about 120 GBP for the delivery and the case extension itself.
  • I am limited to founders edition which I believe is quite expensive and harder to find (could be mistaken).
Removing the drawer is not an option. It is built in with sliders. So while it can open and close, it is fixed to the closet. Plus it would just look bad imo. I like the idea of not seeing the PC at all.
 

jasonf2

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Oct 11, 2015
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You are going to run into two issues. One is simply passing enough cfm to keep ambient at close to room temperature. The second is creating enough air turbulence in the drawer to keep things even. If cutting the top isn't that big of a deal I would put two 140s in on each side. One blowing in (probably left side), one blowing out (right side over the pc). inside of the drawer I would then place a horizontally mounted fan to "stir" the air in the drawer. I would place that fan in near proximity with the fan blowing air in. To power this thing you are either going to need to add a controller or run 120vac fans. Personally I think i would add a controller so that the fans don't run all of the time. I would get a controller with an external temp probe and keep the probe in the drawer. If worse came to worse I would just make sure you have good cable management and pop the drawer open when using it heavily.
 

fish21

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Jul 10, 2016
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You are going to run into two issues. One is simply passing enough cfm to keep ambient at close to room temperature. The second is creating enough air turbulence in the drawer to keep things even. If cutting the top isn't that big of a deal I would put two 140s in on each side. One blowing in (probably left side), one blowing out (right side over the pc). inside of the drawer I would then place a horizontally mounted fan to "stir" the air in the drawer. I would place that fan in near proximity with the fan blowing air in. To power this thing you are either going to need to add a controller or run 120vac fans. Personally I think i would add a controller so that the fans don't run all of the time. I would get a controller with an external temp probe and keep the probe in the drawer. If worse came to worse I would just make sure you have good cable management and pop the drawer open when using it heavily.
That's some great ideas.

About opening the drawer, this is actually something I thought of as well. I have no problem in opening the drawer when I am gaming and keeping it closed when the GPU is idle and processor not on heavy load. That does mean the system is more exposed to dust during that time

About the 'case' fans. What would you recommend? I found the 'Enermax T.B.Silence case fan 140 mm' has some good reviews. Not too loud and still a fair amount of flow. They are also very affordable but this is far less important than silence and airflow. Will two of these do?

And what about the fans inside the case. Any ideas?

And a controller?
 

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