Has anyone ever created a heat sink that is somewhat attached to the metal computer case thus allowing the case to help disperse the heat?
Zalman's TNN series are the only cases I can think of. They were designed for fully passive cooling and had a ridiculous MSRP of $1000.
I seem to recall seeing someone using copper pipe and running that from the components on the motherboard to parts of the case.. I *think* they might have put something inside the pipes but I do not remember what.
The problem is that it is a very custom build for each case and motherboard and video card. And even then your average case is not really any good at dissipating heat in comparison to a normal heatsink.
Sure, you can reconstruct the case to be crazily finned but at that point you are better off fabricating a custom case.
Besides doing it for posterities sake, there really isn't a good reason to turn a case into a heatsink or even use it as part of one.
Getting an aluminium case would do the job I think. IIRC, aluminium dissipates heat better.
But you still need a high surface area where you are dumping the heat. Almost every case lacks that, the remaining tiny number of cases designed for this purpose are for silent roles such as an HTPC and whatnot... and those have lots of finnage.
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