Detale's recent inquiries about watercooling and the subsequent replies- including mine- got me ruminating about air cooling.
Before I fell into the watercooled abyss I had spent quite a bit of time exploring the nuances of airflow and it's implementation in PCs.
Turns out, I still had quite a bit of that stuff mouldering in storage and today spent some quality time rummaging through it all.
Looked there was enough stuff to assemble a working machine, so...
Concurrent with my aircooling experiments I developed a fondness for old style server cases, specifically the highly architectural Gateways.
Beige, bulky and built like brick shithouses, these cases are built to a standard we don't see anymore.
The exterior skin, a clamshell design (sides and top all one piece), is considerably thicker gauge than currently fashionable and once removed, exposes an interior structure strong enough to stand on-literally.
At one time I probably had ten of these but sold off/gave away all but one.
If these cases have a downside (we'll ignore the styling and weight, since neither issue bothers moi) it's the proportions.
This one is a whopping 23" tall but only 17" deep, which makes it difficult to watercool- at least internally.
Furthermore, back in the day, 80mm was the fan size of choice (which is odd given how much room there is), so a bit of hacking is necessary to bring it up to today's snuff.
The front bezel actually has a functional intake setup so there will be two 120mm fans there.
One side of the clamshell is going to be cut and filled with mesh and hopefully, airflow will be sufficient for a semi-modern CPU/motherboard.
I like to apply the airflow as directly as possible to the needful components...we'll start with the hard drives.
Using a 120mm fan, a 120 to 140mm adaptor and some hard drive mounting brackets, we get this...
Such an amalgamation will allow one (of two) drives to be mounted on the front of the case...
The second drive (identically dressed) will have to go up in the optical bay area.
The motherboard (Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe w/ Opteron 148 CPU) gets a Zalman HS...a relatively old design but still quite effective and definitely skewed towards silence...a good thing, IMO.
The southbridge loses the whiny stock fan and gets a Thermalright heatpiped unit to which I've strapped a Zalman low-profile 80mm fan...
I dislike using a small fan like this and we'll see how it sounds in practice...might end up losing it later.
We definitely don't want to plug all these fans into the motherboard, nor do we want them run at a straight +12v off the PSU- too noisy- so a fan controller is needed.
Oh look, just happen to have one.
A very good one actually, a Sunbeam, capable of pulling 20A through each of four channels and variable from 0 to 12v linearally.
Don't really want it mounted up front though...it's not particularly handsome, I need the room in the optical bay for the second hard drive and really, once you've set the fans it's not that often it needs to be accessed.
So in the back it goes...
Above the PSU is a dead space where the original hard drive cage was mounted but since I've otherwise provided for the drives this area will be unused and the fan controller fits nicely...out of sight but accessible when needed.
So now we have this...
More to follow.