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Cooling a secondary GPU used as PhysX processor


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#1 dragonsdontfly

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:07 PM

So I recently made a massive purchase, reflected below:
NZXT Phantom (+ two of the 200mm LED fans by NZXT for side panel and top front)
MSI GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II
ASUS Xonar DG (for my creative fatal1ty headphones, the in-line amp was most important to me)
Battlefield 3 (downloading now).

I plan to keep my GTS 250, but only as a PhysX processor. But there's a foreseeable issue in this:
My motherboard's design leaves only one slot for my sound card: Right below my GTX 560 Ti and above my GTS 250.

I'm not sure that the 200m case fan blowing onto the cards is honestly going to make much of a difference in this layout. And I'm wondering, would a cheap VGA cooler (slim) work for the GTS 250 since it's only being used as a PhysX processor? Because both cards are dual slot, and if I could remove the cooler from the GTS 250 for something slimmer, my sound card can be placed in the PCI-E slot below the GTS 250: Making for much better cooling of the GTX 560 Ti and preventing the sound card from getting the heat of being stuck in between 2 GPUs.

#2 Speedway

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:18 PM

I really wouldn't think that heat would be an issue using the 2 cards you have! I mean both the GTX 560 and the GTS 250 run pretty cool as it is. I will say, you would be surprised as to how much difference that 200mm fan on the side panel will make, especially with the setup you want to run, 2 GPUs and a sound card. I bet that fan results in a noticeable decrease in temps on each GPU, as well as the sound card! But, again with a GTX 560 and a GTS 250, I probably wouldn't be to concerned about heat problems! But, I would definitely want the 2 GPUs 2 slots away vs right on top of each other!

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#3 dragonsdontfly

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:25 PM

I really wouldn't think that heat would be an issue using the 2 cards you have! I mean both the GTX 560 and the GTS 250 run pretty cool as it is. I will say, you would be surprised as to how much difference that 200mm fan on the side panel will make, especially with the setup you want to run, 2 GPUs and a sound card. I bet that fan results in a noticeable decrease in temps on each GPU, as well as the sound card! But, again with a GTX 560 and a GTS 250, I probably wouldn't be to concerned about heat problems! But, I would definitely want the 2 GPUs 2 slots away vs right on top of each other!


Thank you! I really appreciate the reply, as I've never worked with this kind of a system. I build a LOT of computers, but it's usually low-mid end, aside from my own being a higher middle end. So I truly appreciate the input about the cooling. Puts my worries to rest, I was worried I'd have a problem when this got here. And that's a lot of money in one day to be having problems with lol.

Again, thank you. This was bugging the crap out of me.

Btw this is the layout (doing line breaks to show what goes where)

-Empty x1
-gtx 560 ti (PCI-E x16 slot)
-gtx 560 ti (hanging over PCI slot)
-sound card (PCI slot)
-gts 250 (PCI-E x8 slot)
-gts 250 (Hanging over PCI slot)
about 1" of extra space on the motherboard, and a couple inches until the PSU's 135mm fan (Which i'm debating on direction: Fan on bottom exhausting towards rear, isolating airflow; or on top, pulling air downward from GPU and out of case- Will probably test both for best results.)

The two GPUs cover up the other 2 PCI slots I could put the sound card into, leaving it to be right in between. So you're saying that should be just fine? The sound card is low-profile, I should add. And will only have the front panel line connected on the interior, nothing else.

Edited by dragonsdontfly, 02 April 2012 - 06:30 PM.


#4 Speedway

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:32 PM

No problem :thumbsup: I have ran quite a few TriFire AMD setups (3x4870, 3x5770, and 3x6970) with the cards right on top of each other in all those configs. Aside from OCing being afftected, I never had any real issues when it came to temps and heat. I figure if I could run 3x4870 with only a 120mm fan on the side panel, then you should be fine with a GTX 560, GTS 250, and a sound card, with a 200mm fan ;)

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#5 dragonsdontfly

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:38 PM

No problem :thumbsup: I have ran quite a few TriFire AMD setups (3x4870, 3x5770, and 3x6970) with the cards right on top of each other in all those configs. Aside from OCing being afftected, I never had any real issues when it came to temps and heat. I figure if I could run 3x4870 with only a 120mm fan on the side panel, then you should be fine with a GTX 560, GTS 250, and a sound card, with a 200mm fan ;)


Speaking of: I'm going to have 2 extra 120mm high performance fans left from my Rosewill Challenger.. Was wondering about strapping them in where they're needed most (aka mounting to the side of GPUs for even more airflow). Is that a good/bad idea? I mean I'm planning STRONG adhesive directly mounting two fan brackets to the GPU housings. Otherwise I'm just going to hang onto them in case I ever do water cooling, as the Phantom's supposed to be able to mount a dual 120mm rad on the floor panel.

#6 Speedway

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:42 PM

I would probably just get everything setup, check the temps, and if you even need spot cooling anywhere....just go from there. But, that 200mm fan should do a nice job of supplying enough cool air onto the GPUs to lower the temps some :thumbsup:

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#7 dragonsdontfly

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:43 PM

Alright, good look. I'll post back once everything's set-up. Oughtta be shipping out tomorrow, 2 day shipping on everything except the case: Which has 3 day shipping. So it'll be a few before I get a response posted. Thanks again Speedway :thumbsup:

Oh and btw, there's going to be three 200mm fans (two on top also), a 140mm in the front intake, two 120mm side intakes, and a rear 120mm. I made sure to get all the fans from the start. With more fans I can always just use the fan controller built it and lower the speeds for more cooling at less volume. So it's not just the 200m I expect to make a difference, I've got the whole thing prepared from the start.

Edited by dragonsdontfly, 02 April 2012 - 06:46 PM.


#8 El_Capitan

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:49 PM

When I included a 200mm side fan on my gf's rig when there was a GTX 560 Ti on there, it cooled it a couple degrees. Definitely worth it if you don't mind the extra sound.

#9 vandreadstriker

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:21 PM

Just a little note, you might need to check clearance between the HS and the side panel. I tried using the Phantom with a D14 and it was so close that you can't fit a side fan without modding.

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#10 dragonsdontfly

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:33 PM

Just a little note, you might need to check clearance between the HS and the side panel. I tried using the Phantom with a D14 and it was so close that you can't fit a side fan without modding.


I have the Hyper 212 Plus. I'm pretty sure it'll fit. I can measure it here in a bit.

The case says it has room for a 180mm tower cooler, but I'm not sure if that includes the fan. My tower is 120mm, plus some spacing for the copper base. I'll check actual dimensions against fan thickness. If I have to mod the fan on a slight tilt, that's fine. I got the case for $99 brand new with free shipping, and each fan for half price.. So if I have to bracket it a little lower, that's alright by me.

#11 dragonsdontfly

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:46 PM

Bump for details:

Found a video review of the Hyper 212 (160mm total height) working with the NZXT 200m (30mm wide) side panel intake.
The Hyper 212 Plus is 158.5mm.
So it'll fit. My motherboard standoffs are also very short (my preference) at under 3mm total length. I specifically grab the smallest ones I can find that don't cause anything to touch the case. This is due to installing the Hyper 212 Plus in my Rosewill challenger, which barely fits it without the fan (about 6mm clearance with perfect tension and no sag.)
So if the 180mm advertised compatibility is WITHOUT side panel fan, they yeah I'm gonna be about 8.5mm short of fitting (although the review I saw suggests otherwise, I remain open to the chance it still won't fit.) But if the standoffs being a few mm shorter than standard count for anything, I might only have to squeeze 2-3mm out, in which case modding it should be a viable option. Here's to hoping.

Edited by dragonsdontfly, 02 April 2012 - 07:54 PM.


#12 vandreadstriker

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:54 PM

Bump for details:

Found a video review of the Hyper 212 (160mm total height) working with the NZXT 200m (30mm wide) side panel intake.
The Hyper 212 Plus is 158.5mm.
So it'll fit. My motherboard standoffs are also very short (my preference) at under 3mm total length. I specifically grab the smallest ones I can find that don't cause anything to touch the case. This is due to installing the Hyper 212 Plus in my Rosewill challenger, which barely fits it without the fan (about 6mm clearance with perfect tension and no sag.)
So if the 180mm advertised compatibility is WITHOUT side panel fan, they yeah I'm gonna be about 8.5mm short of fitting (although the review I saw suggests otherwise, I remain open to the chance it still won't fit.) But if the standoffs being a few mm shorter than standard count for anything, I might only have to squeeze 2-3mm out, in which case modding it should be a viable option. Here's to hoping.


Sorry to tell you but it wouldn't fit. Even with a Noctua NH-U12P, I can't fit the 200mm side fan..

EDIT: If you Google NZXT Phantom and NH-D14, you'll find a guide in mounting a 200x20mm fan. The NZXT 200mm fan is 200x30mm fan, so you'd have to grab a different set.

Edited by vandreadstriker, 02 April 2012 - 11:17 PM.

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