What's the best entire set up for an air cooled system? Like the balance between intake and exhaust. Should I have intake over the GPU/CPU and exhaust out the back? What are your cooling set-ups. Where do you have intake fans and where do you have exhaust fans in your set-up?
This is my first desktop build and I don't exactly know how to set up a decent cooling system
Well, for dust managment you'd want positive pressure (more intake than exhaust) and generally you'd want intake in the bottom and front and exhaust out the back and top. Remember heat rises so exhaust it out of the top.
What case do you have?
Typically the front has one or two fans blowing air in and the back has one blowing out. If you have a fan on the top it should blow air out in this case. Some cases have a fan in the bottom too, it draws air in like the front. Two case fans is enough even for some overclocking but in my experience three good fans coupled with an aftermarket CPU cooler and a non-reference GPU cooler is fantastic.
Nowadays the PSU is usually placed on the bottom and draws cool air through (filter) from under the case. This way it has it's own cool air flow without affecting/getting affected by the rest of the components.
edit: I might aswell also add that fan control is important. Many motherboards have some options in the BIOS and the defaults are often loud. That goes for GPUs aswell, even for the ones with a great cooler. For an example my MSI 7850 Power Edition has a fantastic Twin Frozr IV cooler but it's too agressive by default (30% in idle and noisy in load); I used Afterburner to create a custom fan profile so it idles at 25% (silent) and stays quiet in load. The temperature increase while gaming was insignificant.
+1 Really comes down to which case as some work better then others with certain airflow / ratio of fans.
Generally speaking, I have always had better results running positive pressure. Less dust is also a positive (no pun) outcome with this setup.
Now when you start talking about front Vs rear Vs top for intakes, etc. that is where the lines blur as it depends on case placement and also what type of cooler.
Try to not get too bogged down in the "hot air rises" debate; although it is a fair point and does apply to some extent, in the context of a PC case, fans push air where you want it to go. If you provide an unrestricted path and use fans to direct the flow, air isn't going to magically fight against it ...
From your OP, I take you haven't built anything yet, you are looking for pre-sales suggestions?
edit: Example. Case positive Vs negative air pressure.
Yeah. I'm waiting until black friday/cyber monday to see if I can get any specific deals. I was just wondering too because i'm sort of trying to skimp out on some money on the case, and just buy a few green LED fans to get decent air cooling within it.
If you have any suggestions i'd happily take them. I have ideas as for hardware, but if there's a specific deal/etc. I would willingly change my plans