Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My tower server is packed with hardware and could possibly overheat. 2 Opteron CPUs, 8 DIMMs, 4 hard drives all in an Antec P182 ATX case (not EATX/SSI/MEB/whatever) and the temperature of the box in spite of all the premium cooling fans (at room temperature) is getting excessive.

I'm looking for some serious cooling solutions. Air conditioning, maybe water cooling. Anything kind of cooling alternatives. Hard drive coolers, ventilation, refridgeration, whatever it takes. I cannot put this server in an HVAC since it's at home. I would prefer something quiet over noisy but at this point, I can't overlook anything.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Definitely look into water cooling. Since you're from the USA as your profile suggests, newegg is your new best friend. You can buy complete kits to make things easier, or a seperate CPU block and hard drive enclosures. Whatever works best and fits in the budget.

share|improve this answer
Are kits specific to cases? Are they specific to CPUs? I've never done water cooling but I've gathered that by water cooling the CPUs, the CPUs maintain (or lessen) their temperature, but by avoiding CPU fans the ambient air within the case is not affected as greatly. Am I right about this? – osij2is Aug 6 '09 at 17:04
yes! and about the kits being specific to CPUs, there are kits that fit a multitude of different chips as well as ones designed specifically for certain CPUs. – John T Aug 6 '09 at 17:08
Well running Socket F Opterons (Barcelona) quad cores I can't imagine many water coolers being compatible. I've always imagined water kits for overclockers and gamers more than anything. – osij2is Aug 6 '09 at 17:14
I'm really looking into water cooling. Are there any good beginner's guide to water cooling online somewhere? I can't find anything that explains all the parts, specifications and what variables/intangibles go into water cooling systems. – osij2is Aug 6 '09 at 22:29

I think water cooling and messing with loud noisy fans are all band-aids to the solution. Also watercooling is a hassle when it leaks. (ask me how i know)

If you have this much hardware that needs proper, reliable cooling, you need to change your case/chassis.

Get the antec 1200. That will have plenty of cooling, plus not sound like a jet engine. I upgraded to this from an antec P182 and this has orders of magnitude more cooling capacity. The massive 200mm fan on top doesn't hurt either!

alt text

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll take a look at it. – osij2is Aug 7 '09 at 17:05

If you want a quiet solution I would recommend water cooling. As far as I know there's no noise, but I've never done it myself. Its supposed to be a very efficient way of cooling.

If you're looking at buying some equipment I would check out Xoxide.

Edit: In one of your comments you said you're using Socket F

Hopefully the Swiftech Apogee GT Water Block can cater for your needs then.. Unfortunately no compatibility info but it does say it supports Socket F

share|improve this answer
Thanks for pointing out the Swiftech Water Block. I've never done water cooling so this is going to be an interesting adventure. – osij2is Aug 6 '09 at 19:59

Probably the easiest thing you can do to increase the cooling capacity right away is to increase airflow. I would recommend using an external fan and piping the airflow to your CPU in the same way you vent a clothes dryer in the house. In my particular case I modified the front of of the cpu case so that there were more places for air to pass through. I drilled holes in front cover in an inconspicuous manner and then placed the grille over the front to minimize the visibility of my modifications.

For the CPU I took the standard dryer duct and connected it to the back of my computer enclosure. I oriented the fan so it is blowing air the same direction as the fan in the power supply. Since you are using a duct, you can locate the fan somewhere where the noise will not bother you. In my case I built a customized duct port that was the exact width of my open window. Once you close the window on the output duct, all of the heat goes outside and the duct will pull sufficient air supply through the case to keep everything cool.

share|improve this answer

On top of what has been said,

  • Make sure to keep the server clean. Keep dust from building up inside and outside the case. Buildup can get bad if you do not maintain it and even more on a server than runs all the time. Make sure to keep a can of compressed air handy.

  • Make sure the server is not sitting directly on carpet. This can increase the amount of dust and carpet particles it "inhales".

  • Get it on a solid surface. A solid surface can help keep air flow at maximum.

  • Consider all the alternative case fans available out there. Like these:



share|improve this answer

Since your using the Antec P182, I'm curious to know if you've:

  • Increased the exhaust fan speeds using the rear chassis toggles?
  • Increased the lower chamber fan speed?
  • Installed an intake fan?

UPDATE: Thanks for letting me know you've done all three already. Water-cooling is definitely the next step, and the P182 already has the rubber grommets on the back of the case for it.

share|improve this answer
I've done all 3. I do love the Antec P182. Solid build quality and well thought out design, but it's starting to look like water cooling may be a necessity. – osij2is Aug 6 '09 at 21:27
Thanks for updating on the P182. I definitely want to do water cooling now. I've read up on the subject but I'm unfamiliar with vendors, solutions. Any suggestions? – osij2is Aug 19 '09 at 15:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .