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Thread: Corsair 800D, Air Cooling, and Fan Configuration Explored with Results

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Lightbulb Corsair 800D, Air Cooling, and Fan Configuration Explored with Results

    The Obsidian 800D is a full-featured full-tower PC case that is very popular amongst us. The case has many advanced features, but one of the most advertised (by Corsair) is the three isolated cooling zones . The aim of this post is to share with you some theory and my results with the 800D as it relates to air cooling and positive/negative pressure configurations.

    Every time I walk into MicroCenter I seem to buy something my wife thinks I do not need, little does she know (keep separate credit cards gentlemen). I am a sucker for large cases and so rather expectedly a Corsair 800D magically made it into my office to replace a relatively “smaller” Coolermaster Stacker 832.

    Once the rebuild was complete my new rig had emerged. An overclocked 4.2 Ghz Intel Core i7 with two GTX 480s SLI in tow, I was quiet pleased, until the stress testing began.
    After several moments of denial I eventually came to accept the simple truth that my new $280 enclosure sucked (my wife seemed pleased with my suffering). My Coolermaster Stacker sat laughing in the corner, it was a venerable air cooling god compared to the 800D. Not to be defeated, I began down this path and figured I would share my findings.

    Motherboard: Asus P6X58D Premium @ stock chipset voltages.
    CPU: Intel Core i7 930 Overclocked @ 4.2 Ghz @ 1.35/1.35V
    Cooler: Corsair H50 on rear exhaust using a 120-140mm adapter
    Memory: Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 Mhz (7-7-7-18) @ 1.75V
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 480 SLI Overclocked: 850 / 2100 @ 1.125 V (Fan 100% @ 80C)
    Hard Drive: Intel X25-G2 SSD and WD RE2 500 GB x 3 RAID 0
    Power Supply: Coolermaster UCP 1100
    Fans: Stock Corsair 140mm, Yate Loon140mm, Panaflo 120x38mm and 92x25mm.

    Everest Ultimate Edition (5.00.1650)
    MSI Afterburner 2.1.0
    BOINC (6.10.58)

    Cheap Oregon digital thermometer
    Elijah Craig 18 year bourbon

    Idle measurements were recorded after 30 minutes. Load measurements were recorded after 60 minutes of CPU/GPU/RAM abuse using BOINC. All equipment was verified stable in prior Coolermaster Stacker enclosure using multiple protocols including Prime 95, LinX, and OCCT.

    STOCK: Epic Air Cool Fail!
    The stock Corsair 800D is a neutralish pressure design that favors a quiet computing experience over performance.

    There are low rpm 140mm fans at the base, over the hard drive cage, and at the rear. The overall air path is simple and elegant. The stock fans are stupid quiet, almost inaudible. They are also stupid slow; spinning at around ~1000rpm they move very little air. Fine for some, but hardly for the average enthusiast, bent on overclocking their hardware.

    The stock case performed so badly that I terminated the load test early when my CPU passed 80+ C and my GPUs were past 100 C. Hard drives seemed happy though .

    Room: 22 / 22 C
    Board: 35 / 45 C
    CPU: 48 / 85 C - FAIL
    GPU 1: 65 / 105 C - FAIL
    GPU 2: 58 / 100 C
    HDD: 33 / 40 C

    REPLACE STOCK FANS: Replace fans, maintain air path and neutral pressure.
    I replaced the stock intake and exhaust fans with Yate Loon D14SH-12 140mm fans. They spin at around 1800 rpm and supposedly push ~100 cfm. The website says they do 2800 rpm, maybe there is a new model or I got robbed , $8 - who cares. The stock Corsair drive cage fan remained in place.

    There was an immediate and substantial improvement. The CPU temps came back into range and would stabilize. However, the GPU remained an issue . The GTX 480 is a notoriously hot card, exponentially worse when overclocked, and nearly demonic when in an adjacent SLI configuration. This was going to be a challenge.

    This configuration would run indefinitely when the CPU was loaded. It would quickly fail when the GPUs were loaded.

    Room: 22 / 22 C
    Board: 30 / 35 C
    CPU: 44 / 75 C
    GPU 1: 60 / 105 C - FAIL
    GPU 2: 52 / 100 C
    HDD: 33 / 36 C

    EXHAUST FANS: Added exhaust fans, changed air path, slight negative pressure bias.

    I left the Yate Loon 140mm bottom intake fan and stock Corsair drive cage fan in place. I reversed the rear Yate Loon 140 mm exhaust fan to intake (Corsair H50) and added three Panaflow 120x38mm exhaust fans to the roof. The Panaflo spin at around 1700 rpm and push at least 70 cfm at 30 dB. That makes ~200 cfm of intake and ~210 cfm of exhaust, at least by the numbers, not taking into account the GTX 480 exhaust.

    There was another incremental improvement over simply replacing the stock fans. The tremendous exhaust out of the top of the case was impressive and no hot spots could be found inside the case. The reversal of the rear fan resulted in lower CPU temps. The GPUs were happy at stock clocks, and even when mildly overclocked to 800 Mhz, but that wasn’t the point. I would not be satisfied until I at least matched what was a trivial accomplishment in the Stacker.

    Room: 22 / 22 C
    Board: 28 / 34 C
    CPU: 40 / 69 C
    GPU 1: 55 / 105 C - FAIL
    GPU 2: 48 / 100 C
    HDD: 33 / 35 C

    Frustrated, I stayed with this configuration for several weeks. Eventually the negative pressure bias resulted in a bit of dust accumulation around the bottom of the case and on the H50 radiator. I grudgingly cleaned the case out but did not have the motivation to change the fan configuration again.

    Then I was reading an article about the Silverstone Raven series .

    The vertical orientation was lauded for its ability to keep the GPU cool. But I also noted that there is a large positive pressure bias, helping force air both through and around the stock GPU heatsinks. If it s good enough for Falcon Northwest, why not me? I cleaned the case out one more time and decided to try something “crazy”.

    INTAKE, INTAKE, INTAKE: Going positive pressure, physics be damned!

    I reversed the three 120x38mm Panaflo on top to intakes. I rereversed the rear 140mm Yate Loon to exhaust. I left the bottom 140mm Yate Loon and stock 140mm Corsair drive cage fan as intakes. I removed the PCI slot covers in all the unused slots. Holy positive pressure bat man! This results in 310+ cfm intake and 100 cfm + gpu output as exhaust. I knew I was on to something as the air coming out of the back of the video cards and through the unused slots was significant to say the least.

    Room: 24 / 24 C
    Board: 25 / 26 C
    CPU: 39 / 69 C
    GPU 1: 45 / 95 C
    GPU 2: 41 / 90 C
    HDD: 33 / 34 C

    Now that’s progress. This configuration nearly matched my Coolermaster Stacker. It allows for full stable overclocks on both the CPU and GPUs. I ran this setup through several days of gaming and encoding, no problem. This was a preliminary setup as the noise was a bit more than I wanted and there would eventually be piles of dust in the case due to unfiltered intakes at the top. I proceeded to refine the configuration.

    FINAL CONFIGURATION: Less is more!

    The new setup was a bit loud for my taste so I gutted some old 120mm fans and used them as spacers on the top Panaflo intakes to help decrease intake turbulence (works). I removed the bottom 140mm Yate Loon fan intake completely. I placed a 92mm Panaflo fan (50 cfm @ 2800 rpm) on the front of the video cards. I temporarily removed the stock panel filter from the bottom of the case and placed it on top to filter the intake air (Free). I got some Silverstone vented slot covers for the empty card spaces($7). I then purchased some acoustic pyramid foam and lined the bottom of the case ($10). I also blocked the top rear perforations with closed cell foam to help force air through the video cards and rear/bottom perforations (Free).

    Final results:
    Room: 24 / 24 C
    Board: 25 / 26 C
    CPU: 39 / 69 C
    GPU 1: 44 / 90 C
    GPU 2: 40 / 82 C
    HDD: 33 / 34 C

    Been using this setup for a few days now, I am quite pleased. Let me know what you think. I hope this is helpful to those out there who are air cooling in an 800D.

  2. #2
    Xtreme Mentor
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Nice work, good temps for an aircooled rig with your components
    Ci7 990X::Rampage III Extreme::12GB Corsair Dominator 1866C7GT::2 x EVGA SC Titans in SLI::Corsair AX1200::TJ07::Watercooled
    Ci7 920 3849B018::Rampage II Extreme::6GB GSKILL Trident 2000C9 BBSE::EVGA GTX580::Antec Signature SG850::TJ09::Aircooled w/TRUE 120X

  3. #3
    Xtreme Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Why don't you mount your H50/70 on the upper positions and let it pull in from the outside and blow thru the radiator? I heard that gives the best results for the H50/70 and it would bascially not change your airflow.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    That is definitely something that I should do. I tried to move the radiator when I was rearranging things this time but the way I mounted the block to the CPU did not really allow it, there was too much torque on tubes and block. Also I have some nice Shin Etsu compound on there that was a PITA to apply correctly. I was hesitant to change an apparent nice mount and compound application that has resulting in some great temps for an H50.

    When I placed the H50 as rear intake I peaked 69/70C on load, its about the same peak I get now. I suppose there is so much air coming in from the top that the intake air to the H50 is near ambient temperature. Also, like I mentioned earlier that overclock temps are about as good as I can ever imagine getting from an H50, don't think it can get much better. At best I figure a 1-2 C difference, at worst no difference. Either way the temps are more than satisfactory to me with no load instability present at current overclocks.

    If I ever upgrade CPUs (990X) I will likely move the radiator since it would necessitate reapplication anyway, and with 6 cores cranking away it may prove necessary.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Very interesting idea and walkthrough! the same problem have been killing me gonna try smth like that !
    /my station

    Ci7 930 @ 4.2Ghz
    EVGA X58 FTW3
    EVGA GTX 570 SC
    Kingston 3 GB 1600 Mhz CL8
    WD 1500 GB sys/storage
    Corsair HX 1000
    Corsair 800D + H70

  6. #6
    Xtreme Cruncher
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    How'd you mount that panaflo fan to the GFX cards? :o

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    The video card fan mod is just a 92mm and 2 PCI slot covers. You take the slot covers and bend the motherboard side to a 90 degree angle, then cut off the card attachment side to make it flat and as short as your want it. Then just screw it to the fan with fan screws and attach it with something non conductive, like velcro or double sided tape, to the video card.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Interesting, i should test. Thanks
    Asus P8P67 PRO B3 | Intel Core i5 2500K @ 4.6GHz | 4GB G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3-2133MHz | OCZ Vertex 3 120GB Max IOPS | 2x 1.5TB WD Green
    1GB Asus Radeon HD 5850 | Thermalright Venomous X Push/Pull | Corsair HX750w | Corsair Obsidian 800D | Dell U2311H | Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Brisbane, Australia
    I too face the dilemma of running a heated SLI setup on an 800D. Being big and spacious I thought it would have better air cooling properties. Fortunately my 4GB GPU's are 2 slot design but even the DirectCU II fails to adequately cool the first GPU which swellters under load, running stock speed mind you, and hits ~85 degrees Celsius. I can't have that, my GPU is consequently throttling down!

    Here's my 800D setup including air flow direction, fans and what not;

    Click to view full-sized image!
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    24/7 Q6600 B3 @3.0GHz (8x375) 1.35625vcore w/ CoolerMaster GeminII & 2x Scythe S-FLEX 120mm fans Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R F2 BIOS w/ Scythe Mini Kaze 40mm fan on NB HS 1GB kit Micron D9GCT & 2GB kit Crucial Ballistix Tracer PC2-8000 1:1 @375MHz 4-4-4-12 2.2vdimm 8800GTX Ultra @ 612/1512/2000 w/ Thermalright HR-03 Plus & Scythe S-FLEX 120mm fan 2x 74GB 16MB Raptor's Matrix RAID0 w/ 3x Samsung 500GB 16MB SATA2 Pioneer DVR-212BK SATA DVD burner Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Logitech Z-2300 THX 2.1's & SteelSound 3H Professional Gaming Headset CoolerMaster Centurion 5 (stock case fans) ENERMAX Liberty 620watt PSU 20" LG L2012P LCD G15 & black G7 w/ Razer eXactMat Dual Boot 32bit OS: WinXP Pro & Vista Ultimate Corsair 4GB Flash Voyager GT

  11. #11
    Xtreme Legend
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Plymouth (UK)
    I noticed that on the 840 atcs there used to be an accessory that is now also used by some manufacturers of workstations. The purpose of this is to increase airflow through the GPU's

    Aesthetically I am not so sure but I have used this method to cool a pair of GX2's when they were folding (albeit with a loud fan)

    Just a thought that you might want to explore

    (Video showing it more clearly) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8_1cQkYTO4
    Last edited by OldChap; 01-05-2013 at 04:09 AM.

    My Biggest Fear Is When I die, My Wife Sells All My Stuff For What I Told Her I Paid For It.
    79 SB threads and 32 IB Threads across 4 rigs 111 threads Crunching!!

  12. #12
    Thanks, ill try this set up

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