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Would removing the side panel of my PC help with airflow/cooling?

  1. Jan 20, 2010 #1
    Would removing the side panel of my PC case help with cooling at all? Every component in my computer is running on it's factory clock speeds. My Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB) tops off at almost 110 *C when playing graphically intensive games like Crysis. I've been told that my Gateway FX 6710-01 computer case has extremely little, to no airflow. My guess is that my computer is being suffocated of air, and the burning hot air inside the case is not ventilated out, and the cool air in the room is not ventilated in. If I were to remove the side panel of my computer case, would that help at all with cooling? I've examined my PC case from top to bottom, and I only see a single, small fan located on the back panel.

    My Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66 GHz @2.66 GHz operates at normal temperatures (34 *C idle 45 *C load) My GPU is a toaster!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2010 #2
    Should work (I used to do it all the time with a microatx case), but it'll also leave your machine more susceptible to dust. You may want to add a fan or two if you have space to mount it, a graphics card fan, or switch out your parts to a better case (which you can find for about $20-$50 bucks)
  4. Jan 20, 2010 #3
    I have a Coolermaster HAF 932 full tower case in my closet, I have not had it installed yet because I do not have enough money to pay the "Fry's Electronics" electronics store to perform the installation, and I do not know how to do the installation myself, and a self-installation would void the store warranty.

    I also have a GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P ATX motherboard to go with my new case.
  5. Jan 20, 2010 #4


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    I run a pair of mid-towers with both side panels removed. Because of the lower temperatures, the video card fan runs slower and it ends up being quieter overall.
  6. Jan 20, 2010 #5
    Is it possible that there could be something wrong with my GPU such as the heatsink not being properly seated or something?
  7. Jan 20, 2010 #6
    It almost takes talent to break stuff when doing installs/swaps, as it's really just screwing stuff down properly (use spacers between the motherboard and its tray/mounting holes) and plugging everything in properly. Do you have a techie type friend who'd be willing to help you out?

    Probably not. You've got a decently powerful GPU stuck in a case with bad airflow. My microatx machine used to overheat and shut down all the time, but soon as I switched the parts to an ATX case, replaced the CPU fan, and added another fan, my system was quite happy.
  8. Jan 21, 2010 #7


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    I had a problem with the CPU cooling fan cycling on much more than usual this past summer, which I at first put down to the hotter than normal summer we had here in the US Northwest. It turned out that the CPU heat sink/fan unit had come loose. Cleaning off the heat conducting gel, reapplying the gel, and reattaching the heat sink/fan fixed the problem.
  9. Feb 5, 2010 #8


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    Opening up the case will decrease the efficiency of the fans. A more efficient cooling system is a better solution than opening up the case and increasing the amount of dust the system takes in.
  10. Feb 5, 2010 #9


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    Maybe, but with an open case, the temperature of the air inside the case will never be significantly higher than the ambient air in the room as long as the fans are providing reasonable circulation of air. I haven't noticed a significant difference in the amount of dust that accumulates with an open or closed case.
  11. Feb 5, 2010 #10


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    It may decrease the efficiency of the fans, but that does not mean it decreases the amount of cooling.
  12. Feb 6, 2010 #11
    Definitely! I can't even count the number of times that I just completely removed the side panels. If you want really good cooling, stick a box fan next to it. You'll have significantly more dust buildup, but if you don't mind having to clean it more often, the airflow increase is second to none.
  13. Feb 7, 2010 #12
    I've seen many people who live without a side panel...there are 2 reason basically...they infringe the insides too frequent, or/and they complain it gets too hot.

    Your processor temperature is ok, but the graphs card's is off the walls... Are the sure it's fan is running?...clean it a bit and see.
  14. Feb 9, 2010 #13
    It has to be due to a lack of sufficient airflow through the case. The 4850's run hot as it is (80C's), so if one is in a case that can't get rid if the heat, it will just build up.

    The_Absolute, if it wont void your warranty, just remove the side cover and see what it does to the temps.
  15. Feb 14, 2010 #14


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    I had an AMD cpu years back and a mediocre case. I took the side panel off because it ran too hot closed. Ran it that way for 5 years.
  16. Mar 16, 2010 #15
    Look. Removing your side panel for additional cooling is not a good idea.
    If you need to do this then you need another case with appropriate cooling fans.

    Computers were not meant to have their guts exposed to the world.
    Same reason I don't take the hood off my car to keep the engine cooler.
  17. Feb 9, 2012 #16
    Do a clean up off you PCs guts and install a extractor fan on the case. You get better Cooling that way. and dust accumulates and as it does speed descreases and heat increases. Always keep you PC(insides too) and PC Enviroment cool and clean.

    I once seen someone modify a small freezer to accomodate a PC at -4°C he could overclock it far beyond what it was ment to do without any other Form of cooling.
  18. Feb 22, 2012 #17
    I have a "super case" that was full of fans and it sounded like a hair dryer.

    I unplugged all but the cpu fan and made sure the case only allowed flow in from the opposite corner as where it exits (power supply).

    This ensured flow across the motherboard as it was drawn out by the power supply.

    My temps went down.
  19. Feb 22, 2012 #18
    Maybe yes, maybe no. With your stock system, it was designed for an airflow path by engineers to achieve the needed cooling. Many cases only have one removable side, with the other side being the motherboard mount. Removing one side may cool the inside of the case in a general way, but without adequate circulation around components, it may leave the "local" temps high in specific areas that need more cooling. The fact that your CPU temps are fine leads me to believe the general case design is fine.

    The card you have looks like it should be running high 80’s C, so at 110C you may well do serious damage to the card. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-4850,1957-22.html However, the article from one of the engineers says 105C is the max, either way, you are out of bounds http://www.rage3d.com/interviews/atichats/undertheihs/

    As far as air "ventilated out" or "ventilated in", the general design uses a fan in the rear that draws air out the back, pulling it into the case via the front grill. Additionally, you have a power supply fan pulling air in from the bottom of the PS, through the PS and out the back. Both of these fans act to pull air through the front grill. Having your PC in an area with good airflow will help. e.g. don't back your PC up to a wall or put things (cabinet door) toward the front of the case, such that free air flow would be affected.

    Lastly, unless it's designed as a gaming PC, they probably didn't have hammering the GPU for hours in mind. As such you may need to enhance cooling. If your PC allows active case fan speed control, disable it and set it to max. Also, you may be able to find a comparable size fan with a higher CFM. If all that fails, I would modify the case side to accept a cooling fan, which you can get from local and mail order sources.
  20. Feb 23, 2012 #19
    The 4850 is a hot card......both in performance and heat generation as are most of the ATI cards with 8 as the second digit.
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