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If you have the mounting space, install a 12cm exhaust fan and run it at slow speed. If it is to cool well, you need to think about the layout of the components and cables inside, as well as the freedom of air flow around your case.
It's also a good idea to open the case occasionally and clean out the dust that builds up; a layer of dust is a pretty good insulator.
You can power a case fan with a connection to your power supply. If your motherboard has the right connection and controls, it's also possible to run and regulate a case fan that can run at variable speed from the motherboard. Have a look at your motherboard manual.
Note that a case fan isn't the only source of noise to contend with in a operating PC; it's an additional source. You can offset its effect by trying to make the cooling of all the other devices as quiet as possible.
Last edited by thorkelljarl; 02-21-2013 at 10:10 AM.
The fan size will depend on case type and fan mounting. You can purchase quality external fan control that can be mounted within 5 1/4 bay, sometimes you can mount in the same bay as a internal HD if the mount allows sliding to the back without impeding your HSF. That depends on the bay mounts. Be sure to look at PWM control, you can get resistive (cheap) control devices but these will not provide finite control.
Any case I purchase for personal use the case must provide side mounted 80 mm exhaust. 120 mm fan mount either top or rear mounting
Low speed with higher volume (cfm) can provide good exhaust. Be sure to size speed & volume for your fans to the case and that the flow is balanced to exchange air in case.
My servers have sealed filtered cases with good ventilation for PSU, HSF (CPU) and case. Wire, Cable type and layout does effect the internal flow. I do make sure the case provides side fan/vent to allow HSF flows, sometimes modify the bong to have minimal space between HSF & bong . Be sure to have fan blade directions the same direction for both HSF & external side fan.
I recommend a 120mm output fan at the rear of the case. That's all you really need. If you plug it into the mobo, its speed should change automatically, or you may be able to set it manually.
The usual attachment method is to use the screws that come with it. However, I have noticed that it's not always the best method. It screws into plastic and if you accidentally over-tighten them or if the plastic hole is a bit too big for the screws, it won't attach properly and it will vibrate and make noise. As such, I have replaced the screws with bolts. You need to find the right size bolts and run them through both holes in the fan. This works a lot better and you can tighten them until they stop vibrating.