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Apologies if this is the wrong place for hardware questions. I did look through the list of stack sites and this site seemed to be the best (Computer enthusiasts).

diagram of airflow within computer case

Key: Yellow arrow: fan airflow direction, Orange arrow: GPU exhaust, Blue square: fan.

I have a Geforce 580 gtx graphics card in my computer. A few months back I installed a fan on the front of my PC to improve airflow generally as the hard disks were getting too hot. This worked a treat: From my attached diagram you can see the airflow this creates in the case. Hdds run around 30°C

The problem I have is that when my graphics card starts working hard, the way it is designed destroys this airflow. It brings in air from the bottom and blows it out the front and back. The air blown out of the back fights directly against the air blown in by the new fan. The red exclamation mark represents the problem area. This area gets very warm during heavy GPU workload. My hard disk temps creep up to between 40°C and 50°C.

My temporary solution is to keep the side off the case. I have heard that this is not recommended but I assure you that it works in my case. With the case side on my graphics card fan runs at full speed and temps are around 90°C and hard disks near 50°C. With the case side off the graphics card is between 80°C and 86°C (still too high for my liking but below the 97°C maximum safe temperature rating for the card) and the hard disks around 40°C.

Finally, my question: Do you think I should have the front fan pointing in the opposite direction? I think this will vent the hot air created by the graphcis card, but It probably eliminates the airflow through the entire case when the graphics card isn't working hard.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I see no problem with harddisks reaching 50°C, but if you are worried about it you can try:

  1. Moving the drives to a different location. (outside the 580's hot air flow)
    This assumes you have other mounting brackets, but with only three drives in use I assume there are still a half a dozen spaces left to mount drives.
  2. Move the 580 to a different PCIe slot, thus letting it vent the air elsewhere.
    This assumes a motherboard with multiple PCIe slots. While the availability of these is a big selecting point when you choose the motherboard it they might not be available if you went though all the work of creating a diagram and posting it here.

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  1. Build a shroud to channel the hot air to the back of the case.

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Depending on how you can build the shroud this might heat up the back of your 580 card.

One thing I would not do it reverse the flow of only the front fan.

If you go that way consider reversing the flow of all fans (rear case fan, CPU fan and front case fan). And then you have a air intake near the hot air outlet of the geforce 580. Depending on your setup that might feed the hot air back into the case.

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Thanks for the reply. If you think 50C is ok I won't worry about it as much. I could move the drives up but I'd need to buy housings for 3.5 inch drives to fit in 5.25 inch bays. I think I'll just accept things for now. my fans are all quite quiet so I don't mind having the case cover off. – MrVimes Dec 29 '12 at 14:21

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