AT vs. ATX Cabinet Cooling Airflow Direction

Bob February 1, 2010
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AT cabinets took air in from the front and exhausted it from the PS at the top/rear.

ATX cabinets did the opposite, taking air in from the PS, often cooling the CPU directly, then exhausting it to the front at the bottom.

Which is the superior cooling design? NEXT, take into consideration HDD carriers with the flimsy cooling fans of their own. Do they push against a pressurized cabinet or exhaust from it?

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  1. Anonymous
    February 26, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Your description of air flow does not accord with AT v ATX case design. The major differences AT to ATX are peripheral connectors mounted on the motherboard (rather than just keyboard/mouse connectors), and a new type of power supply with the front power switch going via the motherboard, and different connectors to the motherboard.

    The mounting position of the PSU did not change, neither did the general air flow direction. In at the front, out at the back - both through the PSU and directly via a case exhaust fan.

    In this respect HD carrier fans operate in the same direction, in at the front, and out into the case then out through the back - so they work with the general air flow, not against it.

    There have always been less usual case designs usually from "big name" supplies and usually aimed at cutting parts costs through smarter air-flow ducting.

    BTX cases are a newer development http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/html/itp/IDC_White_Paper_on_BTX.pdf - but they still drag air in through the front and out through the back.

    It would be very poor design to push hot air out of the front of a cabinet, in the general direction of a user.