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Underestimation of tiny fans in ITX PC builds

Something I see a lot of when people build small ITX PC's and cram really high end hardware in them, they only utilise the fan locations the manufacturer put but ignore the possibility of installing smaller fans such as 40mm or 80mm in places the manufacturer only intended as air intakes and outlets.

Big issue with small ITX desktop builds is getting the hot air out quick enough which accumulates and heats up every component because of the tight space, as an owner of the Silverstone Raven Ridge RVZ03 I decided to experiment and it turns out, yes its genuinely useful to install tiny fans.


Currently I only managed to acquire 3 x 40mm fans and 1 x 80mm for testing purposes.
The fans I use are the following.
40mm - Noctua NF-A4x20 FLX
80mm - AKASA Slimfan AK-FN076 PWM

You might have trouble connecting this many fans to PWM connector on your MOAB but using a cable such as FLEXA FP3S or FLEXA FP5S to connect multiple same type fans to one header and power them off eSATA.

In my current testing I dropped a 10 degree off my Ryzen 7 1700 which runs at 1.375 volts and 3.9GHz but would easily reach 90 degrees without these fans and now sits at 80 degrees will eventually reach 87 because there just not enough fans to pull out the hot air from the 120mm 3000RPM CPU intake fan spinning at full speed.

So while the Raven Ridge RVZ03 can only utilise 3 x 120mm fans it is fully possible to install 4 x 40mm fans which do push air really nicely (No I am not joking its also very quiet at 5000RPM) and there possibility of 3 or 4 x 80mm fans, there some issues with the power cable that might interfere.

All you need to fasten these fans with is simple zip ties, I ran two through my fans and connected them on the other end, they are stuck pretty good and you can get them to line up very accurate, if you have an ITX build and want better air cooling, measure and test it out yourself.


19.10.23 EDIT: Added pictures cause I forgot to.

Edited by SMGJohn
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3 hours ago, Mira Yurizaki said:

I'd like a picture of your setup to get a better understanding of this.


Sure, when I get the rest of my 80mm fans I will take a picture of it. 

I tried looking for pictures of similar setups, could not find any oddly enough, seems to me not a lot of people tries to experiment with airflow in small desktop cases, in the laptop community its commonplace for enthusiasts to modify even add extra fans to the cooling system.

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  • 3 months later...

EDIT: Updated original post by adding pictures I forgot to.

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Nice - don't think the 40mm ones are worth it there though.

Desktop: i7-5960X 4.4GHz, Noctua NH-D14, ASUS Rampage V, 32GB, RTX3080, 2TB SX8200Pro, 2x16TB Ironwolf RAID0, Corsair HX1200, Thermaltake Overseer RX1, Samsung 4K curved 49" TV, 23" secondary, Mountain Everest Max

Mobile SFF rig: i9-9900K, Noctua NH-L9i, Asrock Z390 Phantom ITX-AC, 32GB, GTX1070, 2x1TB SX8200Pro RAID0, 2x5TB 2.5" HDD RAID0, Athena 500W Flex (Noctua fan), Custom 4.7l 3D printed case


Dell XPS 2 in 1 2019, 32GB, 1TB, 4K


GPD Win 2

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1 hour ago, Kilrah said:

Nice - don't think the 40mm ones are worth it there though.

They blow surprising amount of air for their size, you can definitely feel them very well, it also helps on the VRM a bit on the motherboard, noticed a positive temp drop on the VRM with them installed as hot air would accumulate near the CPU heatsink.

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