Question Top-mounted 280mm or a front-mounted 240mm?

Sep 22, 2020
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Hello there folks!

I'm planning a build with a Corsair 280x crystal-case, and an i7 10700k+ a RTX 3080.

Obviously i realize that this will be quite hot, and will require some substantial cooling. Since i dont have either money or competence to build a custom loop, i'm gonna go the AIO-route. And since this case is so small, i only have two alternatives: A 280m or a 240mm.
And the 280 should seem like a clear-cut choice perhaps, but for me it isn't.

See from my understanding, it's impossible to fit a 280mm radiator in the front on this case (optimal placement). So if i pick a 280mm, then i'm gonna have to mount it in the top of the case (with the dissipating heat from the 3080 coming through it).

So i'm wondering, which route should i go?

If i pick a 240mm and place it in the front then it will push fresh, cold air through the radiator, but still, it's only a 240mm! It just feels so small for a CPU with such a high TDP and LP2 you know?
I mean, would a front-mounted 240mm even be enough for such a beast of a cpu? From my understanding the PL2 on this bad boy is like 225w... :/

It seems like a 280mm would dop a better job. BUT, if i have a 3080 spewing out a massive amount of heat inside this teeny-tiny case, wouldn't that heat up the radiator more with all that hot air coming through, and thusly, play out the size-advantage it has?

On the other hand, i've seen benchmarks where 280 aio's are almost 10 degrees celsius cooler then its 240 counterparts! So obviously, this makes my head spin lol.

I mean i know that the optimal is to have the radiator in the front, but since i'm limited by size, i dunno what to do.

I would love to have some feedback =),

Best regards!
 
Last edited:

dimtodim

Respectable
Sep 4, 2018
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Hello there folks!

I'm planning a build with a Corsair 280x crystal-case, and an i7 10700k+ a RTX 3080.

Obviously i realize that this will be quite hot, and will require some substantial cooling. Since i dont have either money or competence to build a custom loop, i'm gonna go the AIO-route. And since this case is so small, i only have two alternatives: A 280m or a 240mm.
And the 280 should seem like a clear-cut choice perhaps, but for me it isn't.

See from my understanding, it's impossible to fit a 280mm radiator in the front on this case (optimal placement). So if i pick a 280mm, then i'm gonna have to mount it in the top of the case (with the dissipating heat from the 3080 coming through it).

So i'm wondering, which route should i go?

If i pick a 240mm and place it in the front then it will push fresh, cold air through the radiator, but still, it's only a 240mm! It just feels so small for a CPU with such a high TDP and LP2 you know?
I mean, would a front-mounted 240mm even be enough for such a beast of a cpu? From my understanding the PL2 on this bad boy is like 225w... :/

It seems like a 280mm would dop a better job. BUT, if i have a 3080 spewing out a massive amount of heat inside this teeny-tiny case, wouldn't that heat up the radiator more with all that hot air coming through, and thusly, play out the size-advantage it has?

On the other hand, i've seen benchmarks where 280 aio's are almost 10 degrees celsius cooler then its 240 counterparts! So obviously, this makes my head spin lol.

I mean i know that the optimal is to have the radiator in the front, but since i'm limited by size, i dunno what to do.

I would love to have some feedback =),

Best regards!
hello, front fans is more important then top...from front u intake fresh air...on top u push hot air from cpu...and lasty i have ryzen 9 and front and top 2 x 120mm and i am very happy with temp results :) some fan 120mm is better then bigger fan
 
Sep 22, 2020
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hello, front fans is more important then top...from front u intake fresh air...on top u push hot air from cpu...and lasty i have ryzen 9 and front and top 2 x 120mm and i am very happy with temp results :) some fan 120mm is better then bigger fan
yeah, but if i have a 300w graphics card, isn't that gonna heat up the CPU a lot, since all the hot-air gets pushed through the radiator? I've seen reviews on youtube where they placed the radiator in the front of the case instead and it lowered the cpu temp with about 10c!

To clarify, i'm not talking about fans. i'm talking about an AIO-cooler, the radiator!
 

dimtodim

Respectable
Sep 4, 2018
632
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1,990
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yeah, but if i have a 300w graphics card, isn't that gonna heat up the CPU a lot, since all the hot-air gets pushed through the radiator? I've seen reviews on youtube where they placed the radiator in the front of the case instead and it lowered the cpu temp with about 10c!

To clarify, i'm not talking about fans. i'm talking about an AIO-cooler, the radiator!
if u have front mesh panel install radiator on front in other case on top...no point install radiator behind closed panel
 

MadsModsat

Commendable
Oct 10, 2019
863
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I've experimented a lot with having my 280 AiO mounted as front intake vs top exhaust, and after extensive testing, I arrived at the conclusion, that I got the best overall system performance with a top mounted exhaust - when considering all temperatures and overall system performance.

The reason was, that the hot air from the front intake, affects Nvidia GPU boost clocks, how high they boost and for how long.

My 9900K ran between 2-4'c hotter with a top mounted radiator, but it was still well within safe temps for a 9900K. To me, a 2-4'c difference is pretty much meaningless.

2-4'c difference doesn't change how the 9900K boosts, it is pinned at its maximum all the time (under load).

However the GPU boost clocks were higher, and max boost duration extended significantly when the GPU was not affected by hot intake air comming from the front mounted radiator

With the front intake, my GPU core was maxed out at 1950MHz for long duration. With the top mounted raditator, the GPU boost clocks never dip below 1980MHz, and usually runs 1995MHz for extended periods of time. In short bursts, it peaks a 2040MHz.

But it is the highest constantly maintainable boost clock that counts to me, and there's a 30 - 45 MHz difference minimum between front intake and top mounted exhaust in my case.

I do not overclock my GPU, these are the results of Nvidias GPU boost technology on the RTX cards. The advertised max GPU core clock of my graphics card, is actually just 1870MHz.

And another difference I noticed with the top mounted radiator, was that my NVMe drives ran slightly cooler as well.

However, you'd be hard pressed to actually tell the difference in performance between the two setups, if it wasn't for benchmarks. The actual difference in performance is minimal.

In your case, I wouldn't go as low as a 240mm AiO for a 10700K - in my opinion a 280mm radiator (or bigger) is preferable for that CPU, even if you have to mount it as top exhaust.
 
Last edited:

Phaaze88

Glorious
Ambassador
1)Consider a different chassis? One with more/larger cooling options?
Maybe it would be less of a spinning headache...

2)Hybrid cool the gpu, through vendors like NZXT or Alphacool - if available, and air cool the cpu.
Folks are too quick to liquid cool cpus when the gpu benefits from it more - I blame society and modern media for that one.
-Even with the 10700K's 229w, 56 second long, Power Limit 2, the 3080 is still going to produce more heat.
-Gpu cooling is direct die = most effective cooling method.
-Cpus have that darn IHS in the way = any cooler is a little less effective to what it could be.

3)240mm hybrid cooler on the gpu, and another on the cpu - a 280mm won't fit at the top if there's a 240mm in front.




4)A 240mm cooler is fine on a 10700K at stock settings.
That 229w PL2 is across ALL threads under Intel Turbo Boost. I don't know too many games that can consistently push 16 threads...
If this isn't for games and more along the lines of Blender-type loads, then yeah, the 240mm likely isn't enough.
The loads aren't constant in games, thus the cpu has chances to throttle back and

5)Whether you choose to front or top mount a hybrid cooler shouldn't be a serious issue unless the chassis has poor airflow - and reviews give me the idea that it isn't terrible in that department.
It's still a pick your poison scenairo:
A)On the cpu
-front is slightly better for cpu thermals, but slightly worse for gpu
-top is vice versa

B)On the gpu: same deal as the above, but swap the cpu and gpu words.

6)Does it have to be a 10700K? Consider the 10600K.
 
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