Crossfire and Water Cooling Configurations
With a full tower case that comes stock with three 200mm fans, I just had to see how the Core V71 would deal with a Crossfire configuration. Obviously, your experience will vary greatly depending on the hardware you choose – most Crossfire configurations run pretty warm, and blower-style GPU fans (that exhaust heated air out the back of the chassis) generally perform better when stacked together.
This time I decided to use two midrange Radeon R9 270X’s. Each of these is currently running at a slight overclock of 1050 MHz (core clock). With a full GPU compute load and the chassis fans on high, the top card hit a peak of 85C (while the bottom stayed at 61C). The ambient temperature at the time was about 14.3C, and the internal case temperature (using the temp sensor on the Samsung HDD, so the temp at the upper right corner in the picture above) was about 22C during the test. The internal case temperatures ranged from 18C to 25C measured at the hard drive sensor during the various tests.
Of course, a 100% load isn’t a very realistic benchmark for gaming configurations, so a few runs of 3DMark benchmarks showed a more manageable temperature; 37.3 C CPU, and 61C/49C (top/bottom) for the GPUs.
While playing a few rounds of Battlefield 4, the temperatures I observed were 61C/48C/44C (top/bottom/CPU) – there was still a pretty sizeable gap, but that’s usually what happens when using open-air cooled graphics cards.
There was enough airflow overall to keep the Silverstone Argon AR03 CPU cooler fed with fresh air, so watercooling wasn’t absolutely necessary to keep CPU temps down. Since the Core V71 offers so much space for liquid cooling systems, I had to try at least one – there was a Cooler Master Nepton 280L sitting close by, so why not?
As I found out, even though the Core V71 is one of the most compatible watercooling cases I’ve worked in so far, there are still a few “gotchas.” The Nepton 280L pictured above doesn’t quite fit in the orientation pictured. While there is room on top of the chassis frame, the rail that holds the dust filter on in the top panel wouldn’t quite clear the side of the 280mm radiator. When I attempted to fit a Swiftech H220 in its place, I found that I couldn’t quite fit the large CPU cooling block through the space provided – the attached hoses and barbs wouldn’t fit through the rectangular spaces up top (although most every other AIO cooling block probably would).
I wanted to show that a radiator and fans DO fit in this space up top though – you’ll just have to stick with 120mm wide radiators and fans if you want to completely fill this space. Otherwise, to avoid compatibility issues whatsoever, just mount them in the space under the chassis frame and above the motherboard (like most cases). Variations on this would allow the Nepton 280L to fit as well (such as mounting just the fans above the chassis frame and the radiator itself below). To be clear, the Nepton 280L would fit just fine in the normal mounting location below the top frame; you’d even have room to add an extra set of fans on top.
Most AIO liquid cooling kits won’t have any problems being installed in the Core V71, and there’s still quite a bit of space in the front of the chassis for custom cooling loop components (reservoirs, dual pumps, etc.). Overall, I’d say the Core V71 would turn out to be a very solid watercooling case based on its ability to accommodate a large amount of cooling hardware.
Finally, I had to include a picture of the illumination from the 200mm fans. The lights can easily be switched off with a button on the top panel, but for those that like LEDs the Core V71 does not disappoint. The color is the typical LED blue, not a bright/light blue as depicted in some of the promotional material (LEDs are pretty hard to photograph, at least for me – for a better representation of the color, look on the backdrop of the photo behind the case). I have to admit, I found myself hoping that Thermaltake discovered some baby blue LEDs to match the drive cages…and while it’s okay that they ended up being the typical blue (better color matching with existing components) it would have been neat to see a new color in a chassis other than the red/green/blue LEDs that are common. Obviously, that’s a purely cosmetic observation and doesn’t impact the performance of the Core V71, I just often wonder if small touches like that would be worth the price to be unique – what do you think?