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Advice for Fans - For an H100i GTX & Fractal Define R5


50 months ago

Dear fellow PCPartPickers,

I am currently on the journey to my dream build. Been planning this build for a long time and I've finally started ordering parts.

Please stick to the topic, I've made my research and I know my build could be improved. However, I want and love it like it is and thus already ordered most parts.

Most likly the last bit of advice I could really need is what fans to get. Planned is to get 2x 120mm to exchange the current fans of the H100i GTX AIO WC. In addition, since I'll be mounting the AIO to the front, I'll have 2x 140mm in front of the radiator. Otherwise I plan to have 1x 140mm in the rear, same brand as the others, because that's how it needs to be.

I aimed for Corsairs Quiet Edition Fans - either with LED or without, just because I have a Corsair AIO WC & PSU.... and I somehow dislike having another brand for each and almost every part... please help me one last time (hopefully)


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i7-5820K 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor $379.99 @ B&H
CPU Cooler Corsair H100i GTX 70.7 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler $119.99 @ Amazon
Motherboard MSI X99A SLI PLUS ATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard $199.99 @ Amazon
Memory Kingston Savage 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory $116.99 @ Newegg
Memory Kingston Savage 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400 Memory $116.99 @ Newegg
Storage Samsung 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $147.99 @ Amazon
Storage Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $83.89 @ OutletPC
Video Card MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB Video Card $659.99 @ Amazon
Case Fractal Design Define R5 w/Window (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case $118.99 @ SuperBiiz
Optical Drive Asus DRW-24F1ST DVD/CD Writer Purchased For $0.00
Headphones Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250 Headphones $135.00
Other IB-865 / ICY BOX, Multicard Reader, 3.5" $30.00
Other Red/Black Sleeved Cables $80.00
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $2189.81
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-11-23 04:37 EST-0500

Thanks for all the help in advance!

  • Raz


  • 50 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm sorry this is long, but I wanted to give you the info you need to make good fan choices that won't compromise the reliability or potential of your build.

Putting the radiator in front may mean there isn't room for the rad, its fans, AND the 140 mm fans at the same time. You could end up only having room for the rad and one set of fans up there.

The H100iGTX needs high static pressure to push air through the radiator. Static pressure is a measure of how strongly the fan can push (or pull) air through restrictions like grilles, filters, and radiators and is measured in mm H2O. This is a good quality for intake and CPU cooler fans. A fan that can develop over 1.5 mm H2O is considered a static pressure fan. Over 3 mm H2O is a high performance static pressure fan.

Fans with less than 1 mm H2O are either super slow silent fans or airflow-optimized fans meant to move air when there are few restrictions, such as exhaust or directing air within the case at hotspots.

More powerful fans can produce over 5 mm H2O, but often at high RPM and therefore noise. The fans that come with the H100i GTX are variants of the Corsair SP120 high performance, which develop 3.1 mm H20. The quiet edition spins much slower so it only develops 1.29 mm H2O. If you put in the quiet edition fans, your radiator performance will be crippled and you may have cooling issues when you crank up that 6 core monster CPU.

I know you don't like mixing brands, but corsair fans with good performance are LOUD. Something like the Noctua NF-F12 PWM (2.61 mm H2O) would have a more acceptable drop in performance compared with the stock radiator fans, but will be just as quiet as the corsair SP120 quiet edition.

If you must have super high performance, something like the Noctua NF-F12 industrialPPC-2000 PWM fans can make more pressure (3.94 mm H2O) but are quieter than the SP120 high performance.

Shop around and compare noise levels for similarly performing fans. You may need to go to the brand website to get all the details. PCPP doesn't have all specs for all fans yet. If the pressure is above 3.1mm H2O, you won't lose cooling performance. PWM fans with 4 pin connectors are best because they offer the best speed control.

I hope this helps and feel free to ask any questions about stuff you didn't understand.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

First of all. A huge "Thank you". This is exactly what makes me come back to this site and check if someone posted in my topic.

Okay, so if I understand correctly..

I should get 2x 120mm PWM fans for the radiator, that are facing inside. The Fractal Design R5 Case still has room for the fans out of the door, I've seen it in a setup.

So I'd put 2 PWM fans directly on the radiator (obviously 2x 120mm) and 2x 140mm quiet fans on the front of the case. + 1x 140mm mounted to the rear of the case pulling air out, so I'd have a kinda flow thro.

...or is this again a bad idea? :P

Also... I read somewhere that PWM always run at "full speed", but with the h100i gtx is it possible to control them through corsair link... or? because if they always run at full speed, it'd be a shame... especially since the fractal r5 also has a fan controller (that I'd prefer to use for the 3x 140mm fans)

Thanks alot, your help is much appreciated!

  • 50 months ago
  • 3 points

The fans outside the door on the front will be optional/waste of money, as the radiator will cover most of the opening so any front intake air would have to pass through the radiator. Good fans on the radiator will remove the need for extra front fans. Go ahead with a rear 140 mm exhaust fan. Consider a rear-top exhaust fan and a bottom intake fan because the radiator will be dumping CPU heat inside the case.

PWM fans will only run at full speed if hooked up to a 3-pin (voltage control/non-PWM) fan header. The MSI X99A has 2 x 4 pin PWM CPU fan headers and 3 x 4 pin PWM case fan headers, so PWM fans are the way to go. When hooked up right, PWM gives a gigantic range of speed control down to as low as 20% of maximum. Your motherboard can support the 2 radiator fans, plus the bottom intake, rear exhaust, and top exhaust as mentioned above.

Corsair Link has been hit and miss from what I read (I bought the H100i GTX too). On some systems Link works well, and on others it is buggy and can't recognize its own Corsair components. I highly suggest using it only to change the LED color on the water block if you want, then using the motherboard's built in fan control. Run the pump directly from the PSU so it will always be on when the computer is running.

Motherboard fan control has the big advantage of being very quiet when idle and only revving up when components get hot. Until you put the hammer down with video rendering or similar, you can have the radiator fans idling at only 700 rpm or so and CPU temp will likely never go above the mid 40s (I guess low 30s at idle). Even then you may not need as much fan as you think to keep CPU temps down. It is entirely possible to have an extremely quiet monster that only gets a little louder when under heavy load.

The fan controller on the R5 is just a manual low-medium-high switch, so it can't respond to system temps, and will may only work on 3 pin (non PWM) fans. It would be useful of you have extra fans that you always want running at low speed, such as stirring air in the case to prevent a hot spot.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah okay.. I thought that front mounted fans would push air through the radiator and help the 2 fans mounted on the radiator, but if it's a waste, I'll skip those.

Okay, didn't know that. Thanks alot for the explanation, I'm so happy I asked. Otherwise I most certainly would have gotten the wrong fans! I'll be going for PWM fans only.

I most likly will not be able to have a bottom fan though, since I'll be placing a HD cage there. Similar to this build:

maybe i'll just put 2 exhaust fans on top and one at rear, so i'd still have the 5 pwm fan pins used i also plan to make this build look nice, so first i wanted to have the top closed, but guess ill make an exception on that :)

  • 50 months ago
  • 2 points

The front fans would help some, but only really be effective if you had a good air seal between them - very difficult with fans of different size.

I see your point about the HDD cage. Three exhaust fans will be a useful alternative. The negative pressure will boost the radiator flow a tiny bit, plus pull cool air in through any other openings such as that unused bottom fan grille. Keep an eye on dust buildup, because any air pulled in like that won't go though the filters.

Black fans will blend in with the top grille, while LED fans could add a nice accent if that's what you're going for.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

I currently went through shops to see if I can find any fitting LED fans...

Now I am wondering.. There's 4 different options. What's the difference btw 3pin and 4pin pwm?



4pin Molex

4pin PWM

I've also seen converter for 4pin to 3pin, so I could still get 3pin fans and just use a converter / splitter to run them through the motherboard, right?


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