Improving the Fractal Design R6 with all panels closed (silence focussed)


I currently have a NAS using the Fractal Design R6. It has a Ryzen 3600, no loose GPU (onboard on the IPMI) and a lot of HDDs. The output of heat from this is reasonable and the R6 handles it fine with all panels closed and just the stock fans (I might need to stress test a bit more).

But now I’m considering of using the same case for my new workstation / gaming build, which will have a Ryzen 3900x, Intel 10Gbit LAN card, AMD 5700XT or better) and I’m a bit afraid the R6 might not be able to suck in enough fresh air / blow out enough hot air with all panels closed (see the review on Gamers Nexus).

So I’ve had some thought on how to improve this… :slight_smile: Would love some feedback…

In the GN review, you can see huge improvements from opening / removing the front panel / filter. This makes clear that the 2 front fans have trouble pulling in the air through those holes in the side and then through the filter.

That makes sense. The holes in de side are about 1.2cm wide and 42cm long. As they are on both sides, that’s about 100cm². A single 140mm is about 150cm². So those 2 front 140mm fans (300cm²) are trying to pull fresh air through a filter and 100cm² holes.

Because of this, the area between the fans and front panel has a negative pressure and will suck in air through which ever hole it can. And there are some holes actually leading back to the case (marked yellow in the drawing bellow)! So those front fans will pull in hot air from inside the case, together with cold air from outside.

So I think it would help already to seal off the area between fans and front panel from the inside of the case (with tape or something). This will create even more negative pressure and the fan will have more trouble pulling in air, but at least it will be all fresh air…

But I think I can do even better… The whole bottom of the R6 is a mesh / dust filter without a cover and it is actually “unused” by any fan (except perhaps a little as positive pressure exhaust of the whole case). I think it should be possible to seal of a part of the bottom (green line in the drawing below), so that the 2 front fans (blue) can pull fresh air (instead of hot case air) from the bottom as well…
blue: fans
green: something that blocks the hot case air from being pulled back into the case by the front fans
orange: airflow

This would give the 300cm² front fans about 190cm² fresh air intake surface instead of 100cm²!

Does this make sense to you as well?

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Waste of time and resources.

Add a fan there. It have a filter, the feet are OK, it will such fresh air in. Problem solved.
Also, math doesn’t quite work that way…

Those two 140mm fans can pull let’s say 150cfm of air and that 150cfm of air should have absolutely no issue going through 100 square cm of opening. As long as the fans are good and the openings are well made this shouldn’t matter.
Basically if you are worried you won’t have enough air (spoiler alert, you will be absolutely fine), then just add a fan on the bottom of the case. It will push fresh air from the outside. Issue solved.


I’m still running my fractal design define r4 black pearl with all panels close and sound-dampened. Just switched the front fans out with static pressure intake noctua fans, put a noctua airflow exhaust fan in the back, and another static pressure noctua fan in the bottom dust filter like you did. Works wonders, creates an excellent wind tunnel and collects minimal internal dust. i5 4670k oc’d to 4.5GHz with a noctua dual tower nhd-15 cooler with a push pull config going to the exhaust fan of the case. So the cpu cooler itself aids in the wind tunnel. My oc’d EVGA 980 classified has the aftermarket backplate installed; with the fans set as intake instead of exhaust the way EVGA set it up, the gpu sucks fresh air from the bottom of the case and expels it around which ends up towards the top. My temps never exceed 67c on my CPU under full load. My 980 under full load never goes above 68c.

It’s all about moving the air instead of fighting it.

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Applying some duct tape isn’t that costly or time consuming :wink:
Every little bit can help, especially since these are “free” fixes… It hardly costs time or money and it might mean a slight improvement in both temperature and noise levels (fans will have to work less for achieving the same temperature).
I don’t have clue if it will be anything meaningful, but even 0.1% improvement, is an improvement :stuck_out_tongue:

Please keep in mind the focus of my build: silence with still decent temperatures…
Adding a fan adds noise and is as much a solution as letting the fans run at higher rpm (not really the idea here)
Also I think adding a fan at that location might actually be bad, as it might push the fresh airflow of the lower front fan up, so that it will maybe no longer reach the GPU. Not sure without testing of course, but I’d be careful with placing a fan in that location…

I must admit, I’m no air dynamics specialist (or whatever it’s called), so perhaps you’re right… However, the results from GN do show a large difference (10°C difference for the CPU) between no front or with closed front. So unless I’m misinterpreting those results horribly wrong, I do think it has a large effect.

If I decide to go through with this case / cpu cooler combination, I’ll try to do some testing and report back if it helps…

Again, it is also not just about “having enough fresh air”. It is about “how I can improve things without adding noise”…
I understand that these “inperfections” exists in a case like this though. There are endless possibilities for configuring this case and because of that, it is impossible to make every possible configuration “perfect”. However, after one chooses a specific configuration (like I’m now considering a closed configuration with something like a Noctua for the CPU), it is possible to look for these inperfections and try to fix them…

Nice to see it is working well for you! Any idea how much watts your oc’d CPU consumes?
Once released, I’m also considering replacing all my fans with Noctua NF-A14x25 fans (don’t exist yet, but Noctua confirmed to be working on them).
Also this should give a better airflow without increasing the noise.

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Still a waste, especially considering you can run tests for days and not even noticing a difference.

Not necessarily. My system runs at 19dBa. I have measured it. When I did I had 11 fans in there running 5V or 30% fan speed. Pick your fans well - you won’t hear them. You don’t need high speed. You just add extra fresh air.

If you are that worried about noise I can always recommend adding extra fan and lowering the speed of all of them. That will lower the noise, since 3 fans at 15dBa is not 45dBa. Not at all. So if you add another fan, the noise of the other fans and GPU and PSU and all the rest will drown this one extra fan, that will actually bring cold air from the bottom without fighting with the other fans.
I am not a specialist either. For me that is logical.

Oh, muh friend, oh no, you don’t have a case with endless possibilities. Try the older fractal cases, where you can mount the drive cage on the rear exhaust spot if you wish, because everything had 120mm fan mounting holes, so everything fits everywhere. No, my friend, all you have is more expensive NZXT H440 with glass and removable hard drive cage wall.

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