Fractal Design Define 7 Airflow Guide: The best fan setup

Fractal Define 7 perfekter Airflow

Foreword

The Define series from Fractal Design is a kind of standard recommendation and also in the now seventh generation the case convinces almost completely. “Almost” because the temperatures are perfectly within limits, but not perfect.

This is where our airflow guide for the Define 7 comes in. With it, you should find the perfect fan setup for the perfect airflow in the Define 7 and is thus a specialized version of the general guide to the “perfect airflow”.

The countless configuration options in the Define 7 with bottom fans, open or closed lid and, and, and of course make it enormously complex to cover every possibility. We therefore limit ourselves to the configurations that make the most sense in our opinion. For example, we didn’t use the third ceiling fan, and we also didn’t use the rear floor fan, since it clashes with the power supply cables and is pretty much blocked anyway. In total, we still came up with 25 different fan configurations

Test setup

We took identical X2 GP-14 fans as additional fans. The fan speed was set to 36 dB(A) for each setup. The sound pressure was measured at a distance of 30 cm from the diagonal front left at the height of the upper corner to include all sides of the case. In the standard configuration, this was about 950 rpm. If the volume increased measurably due to another fan, the speed was minimally reduced to get back to 36 dB(A).

Explanation of the graphics

The standard configuration from the factory is used as a starting point, i.e. with two 140 mm fans in the front and one 140 mm fan in the rear. From this base, the difference of CPU and GPU is given. The specification “+6.0” at the CPU’s height thus means, for example, that the processor will be 6 degrees warmer with the displayed fan configuration than with the initial position. The fans and their orientation are shown with arrows, we did not use different photos.
The upper purple bar symbolizes the closed lid, without the bar the lid has been replaced with the open variant.

Top open or closed?

How strong the acoustic compromises turn out with an open or closed lid depends not only on the computer’s place of installation, but also on the installed hardware and has to be weighed accordingly. We give recommendations for both cases in the end.

Results

This is the initial situation, the 0-point, so to speak. The CPU temperature was 67.5 degrees Celsius, the graphics card was 76 degrees (20 degrees room temperature).

Define 7 Airflow
Base lid closed

To make things clearer, we’ll fumble with the fan count. This way, everyone can choose the number of fans or the best configuration with the available fans. If you don’t want to study the graphics and comparisons, you can jump directly to the conclusion.

Configurations with 3 fans (standard)

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Opening the lid with the factory ventilation improves the CPU temperature, but at the expense of the graphics card. However, building one of the two front fans into the bottom improves temperatures in both cases and should be done that way if possible.

If the lid is open, it is recommended to place one of the two front fans there, since the temperatures drop noticeably. Almost 5 degrees are possible with the CPU!

Configurations with 4 fans

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When the lid is closed, another front fan doesn’t do anything or worsens the temperatures quite significantly, a typical heat buildup occurs. If you add a bottom fan to the two front fans instead, this has a slightly positive effect. However, it is not really worth the effort.

A second ceiling fan is especially useful in combination with a floor fan

Configuration with 5 fans

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Only with 4 intake fans in the front and bottom you can counteract the congestion, but it’s not really worth it. You can still really get something out of it with ceiling fans, whereby a second one only optimizes the graphics card temperature a bit.

Configuration with 6 or more fans

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A lot helps a lot, but only minimally. We crack the 7 degree threshold for the first time, the GPU is still happy about a bottom fan.

Since it is often discussed, we also mounted the right ceiling fan upside down once, so that it conveys fresh air to the CPU cooler. This worsens both temperatures compared to the outward conveying variant: do not imitate!

Conclusion and recommendation

That’s a lot of possibilities and it’s hard to keep track of them, that’s why we now come to concrete recommendations. We don’t focus on the number of fans but on how you want your system to look like

Lid closed + bottom closed

If you prefer a clean, closed system, only the standard variant remains

Define 7 Airflow

Lid closed + base open

The open bottom isn’t quite as clean, but putting one of the front fans there does a lot. With another front fan, the temperatures can be improved a bit, but only in the lower single digits.

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Lid open + base closed

The secret to good temperatures lies in the open lid. If you only value the closed interior, lid fans are perfect for a temperature miracle. Whether one or two depends on how important the GPU is.

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The best temperatures

The uncompromising best temperature is achieved with this setup, which was to be expected.

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Now you have an orientation on how to get the most out of your Fractal Define 7. The bottom line is that it is remarkable how much is possible.
But again, the guide only points you in the right direction and can’t possibly cover all factors.

We wish you a lot of fun while tinkering and of course cool hardware. Feel free to share your results with us in the forum!

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