Applying heatsink fins to exterior of metal case?

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by bjornb17, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. bjornb17

    bjornb17 [H]ard|Gawd

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    So I have the system in my signature and it is all built inside of a Streacom F12C HTPC style case. I love the case, its great! The temps in my system are actually pretty good with how I have it set up, but I noticed the case itself gets scorching hot. The case is made of really thick aluminum and is quite heavy actually. It seems like the case acts as a giant heatsink and absorbs lots of heat.

    So this got me thinking, could i possibly add low profile heatsink fans to the exterior of the case (maybe underneath and back) to aid in cooling? I have a nice ceiling fan in my room that runs whenever I am in there. I wonder if this could help me cool it just a touch better. What do you think?
     
  2. Bandalo

    Bandalo 2[H]4U

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    You could, and it might help a bit. If your temps are really a concern though, I'd just get a different case. One, the case being hot isn't a problem as long as the components inside are at whatever you personally consider "acceptable" temps. Two, it's not likely to help a lot. Three, it's going to make your case look like a science project instead of a streamlined HTPC case.

    That F12C is a pretty big case, and it looks well-ventilated...how do you have all your fans set up?
     
  3. bjornb17

    bjornb17 [H]ard|Gawd

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    You can see my build in the link below - the pictures towards the end are how the system currently is:

    https://hardforum.com/threads/project-minimalist-looking-pc.1386117/

    The H100iV2 has 2x Noctua iPPC 3000 RPM 120mm fans, they suck air in from the top and blow down onto the ram/cpu/motherboard area. The video cards are blower style - so the video cards and power supply blow the air out of the case. This combined with the vents in the case make for some pretty reasonable temperatures. So I wasn't too concerned about the temps, but I thought if I could dissipate heat slightly better that would be nice. You can see that my case is pretty cramped but it works well. It is pretty small (especially in terms of depth) for an ATX case!

    The case has nice feet that keep it like 1/3 an inch or so off of the stand. I was thinking about adding some fins underneath where they can't be seen and would be closest to the motherboard where most of the heat is coming from - kind of like how a back plate on a motherboard would work. The back of the case has a nice big blank area also where another heatsink would fit.
     
  4. darrpara

    darrpara Gawd

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    Actually, provided your component temps are good then.. your case already IS a heatsink and is working well! However, without heatpipes actively going to the chassis itself I would question how effective heatsinking would be. Honestly my first inclination would be that you need more exhausting airflow as the current cooling setup maybe keeps it at reasonable temps (60 or so C?) but is having problems exhausting the air. Remember that 60c is like 140F so yeah if the case is absorbing heat near that temperature I can bet it would be fairly hot to the touch.

    If it bothers you then my suggestion would be to up the RPM of the exhaust (are those exhaust fans by the motherboard? hard to tell) and see if that helps.

    :edit to expand Where I work we do almost all conductive cooling in small envelopes for our customers. Typically we fin the cases and it is also cold/conductive plate mounted. We use heatpiping for major components and Wedge locks for boards to get the heat transferred to the base and walls. One of the reasons to do heatpiping is that in closed setups you can get static air hotspots above the components which make them go beyond thermal limits. In setups where we can use active cooling we don't see much improvement to adding fins, etc to the case. The efficiency of targeting airflow and effectively exhausting the hot air is usually what we focus on in those setups. Probably more of a post than required but oh well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  5. bjornb17

    bjornb17 [H]ard|Gawd

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    The only fans doing exhaust work are the video cards and power supply, and the AIO fans are the intake. No other fans in the PC. Pretty efficient system actually. I have all fans running at idle with steep fan curves so they all spool up to 100% when I'm gaming (except video cards only go to 85% so its not too loud). PC noise levels are pretty good with all those fans running.

    So I don't actually have a problem other than I'm trying to find something to tinker with. Maybe I should just leave it alone since I got everything running nice and happy :)
     
  6. darrpara

    darrpara Gawd

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    So you may have some hot points somewhere in the system that is causing that transfer to the case. No biggie if it doesn't bug you too much and the system temp doesn't change at load.

    Here is some pics of some heatsink side plates I designed for a project that went nowhere. The ridge and "plate" on the inside is for wedgelocks and heatpiping to attach to :)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Bandalo

    Bandalo 2[H]4U

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    I'd probably try reversing the fans based on what I can see in that picture. See what that does for your temps on both the components and the case. You're blowing all the hot air from your rad right onto the MB, and there's not much in the way of exhaust space for it. The video cards look like they're getting fresh air from the side vents. It's a very crowded case though and the flow paths are not straight and clear, so you're going to have some temp issues no matter what.
     
  8. thesmokingman

    thesmokingman [H]ardness Supreme

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    Pics no longer work. I would not bother with adding heatsinks when your problem is from too much heat stuck inside the case. Exhaust the hot air out better especially considering your only exhaust is no exhaust. You're hotboxing that case.
     
  9. bjornb17

    bjornb17 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Go to bottom of thread- the top non-working pics are really old.
     
  10. You are talking about removing heat by convection/conduction/convection, when the case has room for another fan on the PSU side and two more fans on the GPU side and just removing the hot air to start with. Most PSUs don't move much air, and the GPUs don't either, in relation to the heat they also dump into the case, and the CPU cooler is dumping straight into the case. Add an intake fan or two on the GPU side, and an exhaust on the PSU side, your GPU temps will probably drop a good bit and the case should cool off. Get some low rpm fans 1000rpm or lower etc, you should not gain any noise levels.
     
  11. Add a 120mm exhaust fan, it will do alot more heat removing than adding stuff to your case will.
     
  12. dfedders

    dfedders Limp Gawd

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    Then you have no exhaust. That is your problem and the sole reason your case is so hot. All that heat is still in the case.
     
  13. Ocellaris

    Ocellaris Ginger @le, an alcoholic's best friend.

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    If only there was some sort of spinning apparatus that could move air out of a case instead of trying to put heat sinks on the outside...
     
    michalrz likes this.
  14. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

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    I tried something similar. It works great for HDDs, but doesn't seem to do much for the whole case. YMMV :) could be fun.