I recently discovered that my computer has insufficient airflow due to a poor case design. It simply doesn't have much of an intake (and it has no intake fans).

So I popped out one of the 5 1/4" bay covers and the temperature-sensing fans instantly slowed as the computer finally got a breath of fresh air.

So I wonder -- does anyone sell 5 1/4" covers with a black mesh front (preferably with a simple filter)? I figure two of those would do the trick and reduce dust accumulation while I'm at it. But my search has come up empty so far.


Lian Li has this for their cases:

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FrozenCPU sells a black and a silver version for around USD 10 each. Same with Performance-PCs.

Coolermaster sells something similar for their cases - here's one in the US, a different one in Europe - though you'll have to see if they can snap fit your case. Looks kind of proprietary.

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NZXT has a standard looking one for their cases, but I can't find a parts vendor for just that one thing.

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This drive bay fan would do the trick. You could probably take the fans out and put them back in with the flow reversed. I use a similar fan unmodified.

Drive Bay Fan

  • Very cool. I was looking at these as well. After some reading up on this one it seems the fan spins faster than I really need though. And it produces over 30 db.
    – TheSteve
    Sep 14 '09 at 17:18
  • 1
    You should be able to remove the fans and just use the empty frame. If it's like the ones I have (and it looks very close), the fans are just standard 40mm ones that are screwed in. Judging from the picture on Amazon, it includes a filter screen, which sounds like all you really need. Sep 14 '09 at 18:01
  • Kind of expensive to not use the fans. Here's a cheaper model with only two fans: startech.com/item/… Sep 14 '09 at 18:21
  • 30 dB is still pretty quiet compared to the rest of the system - sound isn't additive :)
    – warren
    Sep 22 '09 at 12:09
  • dB isn't additive, it's logarithmic, but sound surely is cumulative. Two sets of these fans is twice as loud as one (30 dB * 2 = 33 dB). Or let's say your existing system is seven times as loud as one of these fan sets. The total sound would be 8 * 30 dB = 39 dB. It's generally considered that a 10 dB difference is noticeable so a person could probably notice that these fans have been added. Sep 22 '09 at 13:09

I've done three things in the past:

  1. Just pop the covers off and leave the hole there and open. Not pretty but it works.

  2. Pop the cover out and take a Dremel tool and fashion one yourself. I used a Dremel, some metal mesh, and some crazy glue gel. The thing held up for years before I finally threw the computer away.

  3. Cut a nice fine hole in the SIDE of your case and put an 80mm x 80mm fan (or whatever size you choose) in there. You can find a ton of places on the internet where people have "modded" their cases like this. You may wish to test mounting the fan blowing both IN and OUT to see what is more effective in your particular case.

I suppose I could also mention "the obvious". If you don't want to wase time "modding" the case and you don't want an ugly "hole" in the front... a few bucks will buy you a new case. Sometimes throwing money at a problem IS the most efficient option.

  • Thanks. You're right -- I don't want to waste a lot of time modding the case. I will eventually replace it with something better. I've been looking at the Lian Li mid-tower cases. But I was just looking for a cheap & easy solution for now.
    – TheSteve
    Sep 14 '09 at 17:12
  • If you're buying new case relatively soon, I would just pop off the cover and forget about it. Sep 14 '09 at 18:51

You might be able to fashion one from stretched pantyhose. I haven't seen anyone marketing one.

  • Not a bad idea. It does seem like such a simple thing to make though. It's a wonder I haven't been able to find one.
    – TheSteve
    Sep 14 '09 at 17:20
  • noise. Case airflow design. Aesthetics. Lots of little reasons that probably boil down to just getting another case if the first one doesn't fit spec. Sep 14 '09 at 17:23
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    I've always been one to look at cases at the same time I upgrade my motherboard. It just seems to make sense to do it that way. But my computer actually has some good stuff in it right now and I can't justify buying and moving everything into a new case just for better airflow. Heh, I'd rather leave a gaping hole in the front of my existing case.
    – TheSteve
    Sep 14 '09 at 17:40

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