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DJSickWithIt

Aluminum Thickness = Colder (Fact or Myth?)

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I would like to design and build my own case. Now in my mind it only makes sense that the thicker the aluminum, the cooler my case will be. But seeings how I have never made a computer case before I thought I would ask somebody who is a lil more knowledgeable on the subject. So once again I summon the mind skull powers and input of my fellow PC enthusiasts to guide me in my undaunted pursuit of DIY pride. :cool:

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I am just curious why it is "obvious" that this would be so.

 

From my experience the "coolness" of the case is 100% dependent on airflow and how many heat sources are inside, not the material the case is created from.

 

Aluminum has appealed to me in the past due to its weight, and nothing else.

 

Weight being something that my current case has in spades.

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Thicker aluminum is only going to make the structure more durable. I'd go as thin as you can while keeping the case solid.

 

Keep in mind that no matter what material you use it can only hold so much energy (heat) so as soon as it reaches it's limit it's only going to be able to take in more heat from the inside of the case as it can radiate from the outside. Ideally the whole case would have fins on it (much like a heatsink, the Thermaltake Tai-Chi sort of does this). If you have the means to do this and don't mind the appearance technically it'll help....but not much. Probably not even by 1 degree.

 

When building your own case it's a much better move to just ignore the heat transfer capabilities of the material you make it out of and concentrate on optimum fan placement to get better airflow - removing the hot air before the case has a chance to absorb it is a much better move than relying on the case itself.

 

This is why people can make cases out of Lexan (which won't really absorb much heat at all) without having temperature problems. If you want to use aluminum, just do it because it's easier to work with (except welding I suppose..) or because it's lighter. Note that denser materials (such as steel) will absorb sound better, so if thats a consideration you might want to make the frame itself out of steel to absorb more vibrations, then perhaps use aluminum for large removable panels.

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Exactly, case material has virtually no impact on the system temps.

 

Just concentrate on making it sturdy and getting adequate airflow through the system; especially around the chipset, CPU, PWMIC, and GFX.

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Yep.....

 

I think it was Maximum PC magazine who did a full range of thermal testing to see if an aluminum case was actually cooler than a steel one.

 

It wasn't. :)

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Yep.....

 

I think it was Maximum PC magazine who did a full range of thermal testing to see if an aluminum case was actually cooler than a steel one.

 

It wasn't. :)

 

my experiance has showed me the same.

with my aluminum case i was always trying to make it colder,

with my steal case(wich is way sturdier) i dont have to try:D thx to the layout of the fans

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all i can say?

 

make the layout have fans on all four sides of the case. top back front bottom.

 

the top is good for a exhaust. pwm cooling, ram cooling

back... exhaust . pwm cooling, ram cooling.

front. watercooling, hdds,

bottom. wideo cards. southbridges watercooling.

 

alot of ideas!

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the reason aluminum cases are slightly cooler has to do with the thermal conductivity of aluminum, which is about 200 MK/W better than steel, i would choose aluminum, but get good quality aluminum such as 7075 plate aluminum would do very nicely, aprox. 2mm- 4 mm thick. will be a beautiful gleaming white flawless BEAST if you can weld and polish. However,i would choose aluminum because aluminum is light and nice looking, not because it make a much cooler (temperature wise, aluminum is AWESOME) case. Airflow and heat sinks make a nice case, not to mention looks. DO NOT use steel for something like this, i doubt u have the metalworking skill to make pleated reinforced steel that big companies use (no offense, but it takes LONG time to make stuff like that) if you made it out of steel it would either be very flimsy, or around 75 lbs... GOOD LUCK, hope it turns out well

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thermal conductivity of aluminum, which is about 200 MK/W better than steel

Thermal conductivity is not measured in Meters x Kelvins per Watt, as you have it. It is the other way around.

 

As long as you have the machinery, a steel case wouldn't be that difficult to manufacture. Higher melting point means you can weld without worry of ruining the appearance of the material on the opposite side of your weld (as you would with Aluminum).

 

Besides that, it takes A LOT of time and math to get a sturdy Aluminum structure. Think of your Coke can. It doesn't have the curves on the top and bottom for nothing.

 

Anyway, steel bro. And good luck!

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yeah... my bad, typo, havent taken chem in awhile. But, did u even read the rest my post man? 2-4 mm of 7075 plate, thats stuff needs NO reinforcing, also, i can weld that with an oxy torch and it would look nice. The problem with steel, is the fact that maneuvering that on a spot welder would be impossible and take a lot of bending and planning, he wouldn't make the case out of 14g steel if he didn't want it to weigh an outrageous amount.

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the reason aluminum cases are slightly cooler has to do with the thermal conductivity of aluminum, which is about 200 MK/W better than steel, i would choose aluminum, but get good quality aluminum such as 7075 plate aluminum would do very nicely, aprox. 2mm- 4 mm thick. will be a beautiful gleaming white flawless BEAST if you can weld and polish. However,i would choose aluminum because aluminum is light and nice looking, not because it make a much cooler (temperature wise, aluminum is AWESOME) case. Airflow and heat sinks make a nice case, not to mention looks. DO NOT use steel for something like this, i doubt u have the metalworking skill to make pleated reinforced steel that big companies use (no offense, but it takes LONG time to make stuff like that) if you made it out of steel it would either be very flimsy, or around 75 lbs... GOOD LUCK, hope it turns out well

 

While the thermal conductivity of aluminum (W/m-K) is higher for aluminum (the reason it's often used for heatsinks); for PC case cooling the critical factor is airflow. With proper airflow the case material has no effect on internal temperatures (only in a poorly environment would it have an impact); the only considerations to be made when selecting case materials are: looks, strength/rigidity, and weight.

 

Aluminum is lightweight but not very rigid, which is why steel (rigid but heavier) is often used for the framing (to improve the structural strength and material cost) in a PC case and aluminum for the panels (to reduce the weight).

 

Also, Steel is A Lot easier to weld than aluminum. Steel can be welded with an Oxygen/Acetylene torch, MIG welder, TIG Welder, or Electrode welder; but you need a TIG to weld aluminum.

 

No matter what material is used; if it's not properly assembled it won't be sturdy. Mind you, with steel you can use thinner material than with aluminum and still have the same rigidity; but the steel case will still be heavier.

 

The OP has definitely made a good choice in using aluminum angle brackets for the framing as that is more rigid than flat stock.

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