FD Node 804 build hiccup

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
359
So I am slowly working a new PC build using a Fractal Design Node 804 mATX case. I like compact cases and thought it would be a good one to try a water cooling project on. Glad I am not dependent on getting this build done ASAP because it is being a bit of a pain.

My goal is to do a custom water loop with the case and Fractal Design advertises several places you can place radiators for such a project. I decided that I would like to cool both the CPU and GPU with this build. As such, I figured I would need to have at least two radiators since the largest you can fit is a 280mm radiator on one side or 240mm radiators everywhere else. The catch with the 280mm is that you lose room for one of the front fans and it cannot be an oversize 280mm due to width constraints. Since I am going the 2 radiator route, I figured lets make them the same size and went with two 240mm Corsair XR7 radiators to go in top. Being 54mm thick and effectively having 480mm of radiator space, this should be plenty for a CPU and GPU that might be mildly overclocked (nothing extreme). I did my first test fit of a radiator in the power supply chamber and it fit nice and had room for the front fan to stay in place. So I then started to install my front fans the other week and get an idea how I will be routing their cables.

Today, I decided to install the motherboard and RAM and do a test fit in the motherboard chamber to make sure there is enough clearance between the radiator and the RAM (one of the well known concerns with this case). I confirmed I have comfortable clearance between the RAM and radiator but...damn...the top front case fan won't fit now with the radiator installed. And here I thought I did my research and confirmed they both will fit. Turns out the radiator on the motherboard side is shifted a little further forward than the power supply chamber side, making a fan not fit. And I don't really see any good reason why they needed to do this.

Well, some may say it isn't the end of the world, you still have the bottom front case fan to assist. Well, yeah...about that. I was originally thinking about squeezing a RTX 3090 into this case, which will fit, but without the bottom front case fan. So if I were to do that, then I would have no front case fans on the motherboard chamber side at all. So now I am toying with the following ideas:

  • Dropping down to a 3080 just so I can have one front case fan.
  • Dropping down to just one radiator, which should be ample for the CPU, and forgoing watercooling the GPU (Besides, the Nvidia FE models look to have a pretty sweet cooling setup...one that custom liquid cooling manufacturers don't seem to want to touch at the moment).
  • Keep the two radiators and go for the 3090 and let the fans of the GPU, rear case fan, and radiator fans, do the work of pulling fresh air in.
  • Keep the two radiators and go for the 3090 and find a way to mount fans to the bottom of the case to pull air in from the underside of the case. It's got a filter and it's grated on the bottom, just no screw holes for fans.
I am open to suggestions.

While I am trying to figure this one out: I am still waiting for my CPU waterblock arrive, I need to pick out a pump and reservoir and figure out where to mount it, and order a video card when they go on sale/pre-order.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
359
You can double 240 at the top, and still get your front mounts? Or one 240 and one 280?
I'm a little confused as to what you are asking. Are you suggesting double stacking two radiators on top of each other?

If so, while I do have the room to possibly make that happen in the right chamber (power supply side), then it would leave no room for where I planned to install the pump and reservoir. I guess those could be moved to the left chamber (motherboard side) to where the one radiator was planned to go. But then the other issue that would cause, along with possible lack of heat transfer efficiency, is no way to access the ports on the radiator that would be stacked above. These radiators only have 2 ports on one side (an inlet and an outlet). There are no other ports to use or pass through.

I already have two 240mmx54mm radiators that I bought for the case. My plan was to put them in the top, one in the left chamber (motherboard side) and one in the right (power supply side). The right chamber CAN fit a 280mm radiator, but the choices were slim because quite a few 280mm radiators are too wide to properly fit, and were usually the thinner varieties too. Plus, a 280mm radiator would prevent you from using one of the front panel intake fans due to lack of space. To keep the system consistent, I opted to stick with two 240mm fans and go thicker to offset some of the loss of not going 280mm on one side. But the way Fractal Design designed the case, the left chamber has the location for the top radiator slightly offset versus the right side, being placed more forward. As such, even a 240mm radiator in the left chamber prevents the use of one of the front panel case fans.

I'm thinking of leaning towards keeping both 240mm radiators, forego the one case fan on the left side and then get an RTX 3080 instead of an RTX 3090. This will allow me to keep the bottom intake fan which will blow directly into the graphics card, helping to feed it cooler air. Then when the time comes that there is a mid-cycle refresh and they release Super or Ti model of the same physical size but with more memory, then I may spring on that and sell the 3080.
 
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