The airflow management of a Gaming PC is an often overlooked aspect of system configuration. And with proper planning and implementation of said airflow management, you can significantly improve your PC’s thermal performance!
As that time of the year approaches when the sun is at its deadliest, negatively impacting that PC Gamer lifestyle through the dreaded increase in system temperatures. Well, do not fear, for I am here to help you manage your Gaming PC’s airflow & temps through these times, ensuring you can keep your cool during those summer-time gaming sessions!
Optimise Airflow with Case Configuration
Some of the most popular cases at the moment come with a mesh front panel rather than the standard metal plate. If you’re looking to purchase a new gaming pc and are keen to have a system that runs as cool as possible, then a mesh-panelled case is the way forward. As obvious as it may sound, air flows more efficiently through mesh than that of a solid plate and is an aspect of PC building gamers often overlook.
(Credit KitGuru – Corsair 4000D vs 4000D Airflow (mesh panel))
If you’re looking for an instant, highly effective method of keeping your gaming pc running cool, you could try removing the front panel of your case entirely. This will allow your fans to pull through air with next to no resistance at all! Keep in mind that not all front panels are removable, and you should always look to your specific case manual to ensure this is safe / doesn’t void your warranty!
You may think that if taking off the front panel improves temperatures, doing so with the side panel would do the same. This, however, could negatively impact the thermal performance of your system, as opening up the side will disrupt the airflow within the case. Taking off the side panel will disrupt the process of cool air being pulled in from the front and hot air being exhausted out the back.
The size and layout of your case will also make a difference, as a larger case with more room will allow for more effective airflow. Tucking your wires away neatly & removing the front hard drive bays are all ways of improving the airflow within your case.
Fan Configuration for Optimal Airflow
Fan orientation is an important aspect of airflow management you need to get right. Are your fans pushing/pulling in the correct configuration? Generally speaking, you want your intake fans at the front of the case, ensuring that cool air is being pulled into the system. And for your exhaust fans, you generally want these placed at the back of the case, ensuring that hot air is being exhausted out of the system.
When it comes to airflow within a gaming pc, how your fans are configured will determine what state of pressure will be the most prevalent within the case. There are three states of pressure that you should be made aware of; Positive pressure, Negative pressure & Neutral pressure.
Positive pressure: This is where more air is being brought into the case than being exhausted. A setup like this will often reduce the amount of dust built up but will struggle to exhaust the hot air within the system.
Negative pressure: This is where more air is being exhausted than being brought into the case. This setup will be effective at dispersing the hot air within the system but will also increase dust build-up within the case.
Neutral pressure: When configuring the airflow within your system, neutral pressure is generally what you should be looking for. This is where you have an equal amount of air intake as you do exhaust. This allows for a balanced flow of air within your system, which is optimal for the best thermal performance for your gaming pc.
In reference to gaming pcs, there are two main fan types you should be made aware of, Airflow fans and Static pressure fans. Airflow fans will be distinguished by having a high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), which refers to the rate at which the fan can move a given volume of air. Essentially a higher CFM means more airflow. In contrast, static pressure fans are specifically designed to push air through obstacles. An example of this would be the fans on a stock radiator. So, if you are looking to get the most out of your system’s airflow, carefully choosing the right fan type for the proper application is the way to go.
Fan size is another thing you should definitely be considering, especially if you’re after effective airflow coupled with low noise. This is because larger fans will have the potential to move more air, all while keeping quiet at the same time. How is this possible, you ask? A larger 140mm fan can move the same/more air than a smaller 120mm fan whilst operating at a lower RPM (Revolutions Per Minute). What is RPM? RPM is essentially how fast the fan is spinning. And because a larger fan has an increased surface area, it can move more air at a lower RPM, thus generating less noise (the higher the RPM, the louder the noise generated).
If you leave your gaming pc unattended for some time, dust will inevitably build up within the system. This will have a serious negative impact on airflow, so make sure you’re deep cleaning the system every few months at the least!
Now you should be equipped with all the information you need in order to get the most out of your system’s airflow. Ensuring you can keep your gaming pc cool during the inevitable summer heatwave!