Cooling

The biggest challenge in building this PC was figuring out the plan for the cooling system. Going in I knew that the small case would make things difficult, but I had every intention of going with water cooling for the CPU and using hard lines with a pastel orange coolant. After using the pastel red in our D-Frame Mini build I really wanted to check out the orange. But once the case came in, that plan started to fall apart. Fitting everything in at best would mean having a thick radiator and fans directly above the CPU and the hard lines and orange coolant would end up being hardly visible. So I put that idea aside, though I am still considering ways to make it work. From there I had to find something that would fit with our orange and black theme, fit in the Bullet BH7 with its low CPU cooler height, keep the 6900K cool, and run quiet. That’s a big list of things to have to keep in mind.

So I started off by digging through my box of coolers and I came across the Noctua NH-C14S. It had the cooling and noise covered but the looks didn’t really fit so I ordered in two of Noctua’s black IndustrialPPC fans and went with that plan for the initial build. When I got it installed it all looked good as far as the height goes but when I installed a video card the cooler ended up running into the back of the card.

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So I switched over to NH-U9S from Noctua. Being a tower cooler I knew the clearance wouldn’t be an issue on the ram or around the video card and the smaller fan size helped with the height. I was concerned with the cooling capabilities but Noctua had it listed as being capable. The new cooler fits much better but I was still stuck with that brown that didn’t fit the build at all. The NH-U9S uses 92mm fans and let me tell you, there aren’t any good options for fans in that size in black. I ended up asking Noctua to send over a 92mm Redux fan with the gray theme. It’s not the black I wanted, but it is at least an improvement. The cooler looks good in the build and it’s a Noctua so I know it's going to run quietly.

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The CPU cooler doesn’t matter at all if I can’t get any cool air into the case, especially with those two GTX 1080’s in there. I wasn’t worried at all about the bottom of the case, the power supply has its own cooling and the hard drive should be okay but I will be checking on it when everything is up and running. I mostly just needed to get two fans up in the top half. The Bullet is designed with a dual fan mount on the front and one up top. The top mount wouldn’t fit fans with the heatsink installed so I removed it altogether, but the front mount still hard room, well kind of. With the two video cards right there, there is only a little room. I pulled the mounting plate out and installed two Noctua NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM fans. The black color fits the theme obviously, but I have had good experiences with the iPPC fans and their heavy duty construction. I also removed the brown dampener pads and replaced them with black Chromax pads to complete the all blacked out look and they do look amazing.

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That was going to be it for my cooling but after getting the build up and running I did end up making one last change. The Corsair Link software and OCZs software for their RD400 drive warned me that the RD400 when sitting up under the two video cards was running a lot warmer than it should. When I say that I mean it was running up in the 70-degree range in Celsius. This was well above anything else in the entire PC. This happened in December and I had put tiny stick on heatsinks on my wishlist and my LanOC Secret Santa actually included them along with my main gift. So when I pulled apart the Crush build for a few changes I took the time to get them installed on the drive.

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I had to pull off the drive information sticker, I may have been able to stick them onto the sticker but it wouldn’t be the move efficient way to do this. I made sure to line the fins up to match the airflow coming from the two Noctua fans and I placed three larger heatsinks on the two NAND and controller and a smaller heatsink on the tiny DDR3 cache. It will never be visible to anyone looking at the computer, but I think they came out alright. More importantly, this dropped the idle temps down to 59 degrees Celsius. That’s still warm, but an improvement over the previous numbers.

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