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Deciding on how to cool a Fractal Design Define Nano S and i7-9700K

Aeyix

3 months ago

Building my first desktop. I'm really interested in ITX. Currently at the stalemate of how best to cool the case and cpu for at least some mild overclocking (still trying to decide on either bumping up to mATX or going with an SFX PSU to not choke the GPU as much, but that's another discussion).

I have a few ideas in mind but I'm not certain of what would be best or compatible in the SFF layout. Part of me wants to go air cooling due to less parts to fail and likely quieter overall, not to mention cheaper. The simplest plan I have is to throw an extra FD X2 GP-14 (matching) fan in the front for dual 140 intake. For better overclocking, I have my eye on the Noctua NH-U12A due to the performance and thicker heatsink. However, I worry I won't be able to fit/use the pull fan on the heatsink as it would interfere with the rear exhaust fan. If the heatsink with one fan still outperforms a 240mm rad or the NH-U12S then I'm okay with taking the pull fan off and using it as the rear exhaust instead.

Which segues into my next idea. Upgrade all the case fans now with my eye on the beautifully ugly Noctua NF-A14 and NF-A12x25 fans. Whether it is dual 140 intake, 120 exhaust, and dual 120 on the heatsink or if the heatsink pull fan is of interference then technically save money and move the pull fan to the exhaust. As much as I'd like to add top exhaust, I think that'd require adding a bottom intake in order to not have negative pressure, so I think I'll stick to 3 case fans and keep the moduvent cover on top and only do that if I find it necessary.

Another idea is to forgo a heatsink and instead go with a 240 radiator. Specifically looking at the Fractal Design S24. I like the no software needed aspect and the cable management layout of it. It's currently $120 as compared to the $100 Noctua heatsink so this does bring up costs and I don't know which will be better at cooling. I would prefer to top mount the radiator which I don't think would be an issue given the choice of Corsair LPX RAM and motherboard but all the SFF Builds I looked up showed it mounted to the front. I just prefer the idea of exhausting the hot air out of the case while still being able to intake cool air from the front. I'd assume with the radiator blocking air flow to an extent I'd still have positive pressure overall with that layout. With the AIO I have two frames of thought, either still with the FD fans for both the AIO and Case as well as add that additional FD front intake fan for now, or replace both AIO fans and 3 case fans with the Noctuas mentioned above which I presume will greatly improve the AIO performance.

Side Question: The motherboard I'm planning on is the ASRock Z390 Phatom Gaming ITX/ac so it only has 3 fan headers. One thing I wonder, is how many fans can I daisy chain via splitters instead of using a separately powered hub? The max I see is 0.14 amps draw from one fan so I'm assuming that means I could safely attach 3 fans to one header if I wanted? Also, if I use an AIO Cooler, is it better that I connect it to the water pump header instead of the cpu header? Will it still run fan speed based on CPU temperature or require further tweaking?

1 x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin) 1 x CPU/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control) 1 x Chassis Fan Connector (4-pin)* The CPU Fan Connector supports the CPU fan of maximum 1A (12W) fan power. *The CPU/Water Pump Fan supports the water cooler fan of maximum 2A (24W) fan power. CPU_OPT/W_PUMP can auto detect if 3-pin or 4-pin fan is in use. **The Chassis Fan Connector supports the chassis fan of maximum 1A (12W) fan power.

Thank you for reading the conundrum in my mind, any recommendations, clarifications, explanations, alternatives would be appreciated!

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