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I've got an HP DC7100 and an HP m8530f. The DC7100 is a small form factor desktop while the m8530f has a mATX board with lots of extra features like front I/O and HP Personal Media Drive bay. Both of these have very little space (especially the DC7100) and don't have any other places to mount fans.

What other possible ways of cooling are there, if there isn't much space left inside the case?

Thanks in advance.

EDIT 1: Has anyone tried an expansion slot exhaust fan before?

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I've used expansion slot exhaust fans many times and they have helped me keep my system nice and cool. – James Watt Apr 20 '10 at 21:56
That seems like something I will try, once I have a chance to buy some... – Wesley Apr 20 '10 at 22:38
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have had to migrate systems out of their cases and install them in larger cases due to this situation. We have 20 Dell ultra small form factor systems which were getting so hot, you would literally burn yourself on the hard drives, which sat directly above a heatsync on the motherboard (not the CPU, maybe southbridge or chipset or something) that gets extremely hot and traps the head below the hard drive. About 6 months after these computers were out of warranty, the hard drives all started going bad. We took the guts of each computer and installed them into standard ATX cases with much larger cooling fans. We were even able to upgrade the memory on them without worrying about overheating.

My suggestion is to migrate to a larger case.

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That is something that I've thought about doing, considering I have an extra case. As for my HP DC7100, I thought all the motherboard and power supply dimensions were custom and would not fit an ATX case... – Wesley Apr 20 '10 at 22:36
One problem is: what to do with the original case? The HP case for the m530f has a card reader, custom front panel and Personal Media Drive bay installed. Those required the motherboard to have certain features and also requires certain drivers for the card reader. Swapping in a less powerful mATX board is possible, but it probably wouldn't make the most use of the case's features. – Wesley Apr 21 '10 at 5:59
Is the computer still under warranty? You are unable to actually migrate the personal drive bay? I looked all over the Internet, but HP does not sell them separately. As far as the media card goes, there are good internal readers for as little as $24. – James Watt Apr 21 '10 at 13:09
Another thought - you could try to pull the heat sync and fan off your CPU and apply better thermal compound (such as arctic silver). I really don't think this is going to fix your problem, but is something you can try if you really don't want to migrate to another case. – James Watt Apr 21 '10 at 13:19
That's what I was thinking of doing, though I don't want to be getting really pricey thermal pastes. – Wesley Apr 22 '10 at 20:50

If you're not above case destruction (read: past end of warranty), cut more space for air to flow in your existing vents.

I had a friend who would remove the fan grilles on the back of his case. Since he was running under-voltaged fans (or low-power "quiet" fans) he wasn't afraid of touching them while they were moving. (I have extremely inquisitve cats, so I remove the case grilles and replace with a wire grille.)

You may also want to see about plugging up unnecessary vents as well. This sounds odd but if you can get a clear single path for air to flow through the case you can generally get very effective cooling.

Beyond that, you're starting to look at dryer ventilation hose and other such radical measures to direct air. My friends and I would use that to make the PSU fan pull double duty as the CPU fan (only in lower-heat machines like a Pentium II; I wouldn't do this on a heat monster like the Pentium 4 or Power PC G5.)

We usually optimized for noise not cooling, but you can usually improve both over manufacturer spec.

...or you can just submerge the entire thing in high-grade vegetable oil and run your cooling like that.

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If you're not against too much noise.. You could invest in a leaf blower ;) – Earlz Apr 20 '10 at 22:29
This was the funniest, yet most ridiculous answer ever. =P – Wesley Apr 20 '10 at 22:37
yet, beyond the oil, we've actually done all of this...Aluminum dryer hose tends to scare the uninitiated. – Broam Apr 21 '10 at 16:26

Try a simple approach that is just to have a small regular fan near the PC to pull the warm air away from it.

I myself make use of a large 30cm floor fan to assist in cooling my desktop machine on warm days when it heats up and find putting the fan near the back of the tower helps cool air circulate better into the case.

Desk Fan

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Hmmm... so placing a floor fan BEHIND the case is better? In "emergency" cases (when my GPU goes 80C+) I just open up the side and face the fan to cool everything inside. Still, is there a more permanent solution? – Wesley Apr 17 '10 at 15:35
Opening your case often increases the air temperature because cases are designed to suck air through over your components. By removing the side of the case, air is no longer being sucked through properly. This can sometimes let a build up of head escape quickly, but the heat will start to come back as the components are not being properly cooled. – James Watt Apr 20 '10 at 21:55
Hmmm... I never knew that opening the side of the case was not helpful. – Wesley Apr 20 '10 at 22:34

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