CoolerMaster TD500 Mesh Case Fan Upgrade

IRLRobinS

Silver Level Poster
Hey all,

Hope this is the correct sub-forum, if not mods please move.

I took delivery of my 5900X build just before Christmas and while overall I was very pleased with my first PCS/Custom PC, one thing did annoy me: the case fans vs cooler fans, in terms of controlling both the RPM and RGB of each set of fans. Being new to RGB and AIOs, I had assumed that I could control all fans through a single application. How wrong was I! After fighting with iCUE, Amoury Crate, AI Suite and BIOS I was a bit frustrated, not to mention that the different applications did not play nice with each other so I eventually had to resort to a clean install of Windows and start from scratch.

I got to a somewhat steady equilibrium where AC controlled the case fans (3x 120 Cooler Master Sickleflow ARGBs that came with case) and iCUE controlled the three Corsair ML120s that came with the H150i Capellix AIO. But I still found that every so often AC would not work and the case fans would revert to the default alternating RGB pattern instead of the static blue colour I had set to match the AOI fans. That and AC's inability to set custom curves for fans made me decide quite quickly that the CoolerMaster fans would have to go and be replaced with Corsair fans that I could control via iCUE. The rear exhaust fan was a standard black DC fan, but I plan to replace that with a SilentWings 3 120 PWM version, again to provide more control over fan curve via BIOS. I also felt that the CoolerMaster fans perhaps ran louder than the Corsair fans.

Once I made this decision, I had to decide which Corsair fans to go for. The LL and QL fans certainly offer more RGB, but I felt that consistency of the RGB look was important to me, so I decided to go with ML120 Elites, which also have a higher RPM than say the LLs. It's worth noting that ML Elites have 8 LEDS, while the ML Pros have 4. I'm glad I spotted that or I would have had some very odd looking RGB effects. Originally I had tried to find the triple pack of ML120s on sale, but most retailers available to me were out of stock. I then realized that it would be cheaper to buy three single packs direct from Corsair, and the loss of the lighting node that comes with the triple wouldn't be an issue, as the Commander Core that came with the AOI had three free ports for the new fans.

So fast forward a week or so and the three Corsair ML120 Elites arrived today. And I managed to get them installed between my zoom calls ;)

So to share some details on how I got on installing. Well the first thing I did was to plug them directly into the Commander Core and confirm they all worked. Didn't want to go through the entire process of removing existing fans, etc and then find out one of them was broken. Thankfully all worked out of the box:
IMG_6715.jpg


One minor issue was how the CC was attached to the back of the case with cable ties: the lower cable tie blocked the last port, so had to cut that. It seems to be holding in place with just the top cable tie but I might replace the last tie with velcro backing tape once I've got most of the cable management sorted.
IMG_6714.jpg


So the process of removing the existing fans was probably the most work. The front case cover comes off very easily, but thanks to some really good cable management by PCS, I had to snip a lot of the zip ties (around 14) to free the wires. Each CoolerMaster fan had two wires, once for the ARGB, that connected to a three way splitter than then connected to the ARGB header at the bottom of the mother board, and another wire connected to a three way splitter that connected to the CPU OPT header at the top of the motherboard.

It was at this point that I discovered that the CoolerMaster fans are not PWM as I expected but DC! An example of a manufacturer using cheaper versions of their retail fans in their cases, but probably goes some way to explain the higher noise levels, as there's less control on DC fans vs PWM, based on what I've researched.

The other challenge I faced in removing the fans was undoing all 12 screws attaching them to the case on the inside. Was quite cramped with the AIO and GPU in the way, but with the use of a short screwdriver I had just enough room to undo the screws. Would have been easier to remove GPU and AIO to have more space, but I was trying not to create work for myself.

Case with fans removed:
IMG_6719.jpg
 

Martinr36

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
I know when i did the Berserker I found it quite a satisfying experience, my account on that can be found in this post

 

IRLRobinS

Silver Level Poster
So moving on to installing the new fans. Like I said the hard part was removing the existing ones, and one thing I was nervous of was damaging any cables when cutting the cable ties, so used the smallest wire cutters I could find and took my time.
Installing the new fans on the case was just a case of orientating them the correct way as intake fans, noting the direction of the arrows on the fan cases, and rotating so wires were as close as possible to the feeder holes, and use the supplied screws. Would have been nice if the Corsair fans came with longer screws as well, so you could screw in from the front side, rather from the back.

I routed the fan wires as follows: Top fan along top of case, and then straight down to the CC, following the main power cable. The middle and bottom fans are routed down the side of case, along the bottom and then up to the CC. Should be neat enough, once I pick up some black cable ties from screwfix tomorrow. Here is how it looks in the meantime, RGB wires on the LHS of CC, PWM on the RHS:
IMG_6722.jpg


One thing worth noting is to try and get the fans plugged into the CC in the order they appear in the case, so any RGB effect that moves from one fan to another is displayed in the correct sequence. Although if you get it wrong, iCUE does allow you to reorganise the fans, so it's not a show stopper. Just helps with some people's OCD I guess.

Once everything was screwed in place and wired, it was the moment of truth and see if it all worked and confirm I didn't break anything:
IMG_6721.jpg


And hurrah! All worked. Phew! Just a case of running the setup wizard under lighting setup in iCUE for it to pick up the new fans, and confirm they were in the right order and orientation.

Some pics with the front case cover back on:
IMG_6728.jpg


IMG_6727.jpg


Although I'm not sure the photos do it justice, the mesh seems to throw the iPhone off a bit. But overall, the look is way better than the Coolermaster fans, and even using the stock Quiet cooling profile in iCUE, quieter running. And having a consistent look and everything controlled in one application is big win for me.

Still need to complete the cable management of course, but overall pleased with the result and took less than an hour to complete start to finish.

Hope people find this informative, happy to answer any questions!
 
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BTW, you can change the fan order digitally in iCue, so you don’t have to worry too much about getting them right in the first instance…although the correct order does help knowing which fan is which when you need to troubleshoot.
 

IRLRobinS

Silver Level Poster
BTW, you can change the fan order digitally in iCue, so you don’t have to worry too much about getting them right in the first instance…although the correct order does help knowing which fan is which when you need to troubleshoot.
Correct, as I mentioned above. iCUE can also help you identify each fan by turning on a single LED in a particular colour so you can visually see which fan is which:
1641507256920.png
 

IRLRobinS

Silver Level Poster
Looks good, you just need an RGB one on the back now ;-)
I'm tempted, as it's the one fan that is more in my line of sight than any other. But since all 6 ports on the Commander are now utilised, it would entail having to add a node or something to facilitate the 7th fan. So kept it simple for now and upgraded it to a Silent Wings 3 120 PWM.

I'm trying to decide what to do with the old Cooler Master fans. Don't see myself ever reinstalling them, would they have any value to someone with a Cooler Master case I wonder?
 

RichLan564

Well-known member
I'm tempted, as it's the one fan that is more in my line of sight than any other. But since all 6 ports on the Commander are now utilised, it would entail having to add a node or something to facilitate the 7th fan. So kept it simple for now and upgraded it to a Silent Wings 3 120 PWM.

I'm trying to decide what to do with the old Cooler Master fans. Don't see myself ever reinstalling them, would they have any value to someone with a Cooler Master case I wonder?
Corsair do a version of the ML with static LED's in, think they are 140 though, or there is an AF with static LED's, i don't have the rear in the animated schemes as i find it distracting as its in direct line of sight.
 

IRLRobinS

Silver Level Poster
I don't have the rear in the animated schemes as i find it distracting as its in direct line of sight.
Yes, I'd share this opinion, and generally have the RGB as a static colour when in use. A static RGB is not a bad idea, but I'd say the changes of the static colour actually meeting my approval would be slim. I'll stick with the blank back wall for now.
 

moosEh

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator
So moving on to installing the new fans. Like I said the hard part was removing the existing ones, and one thing I was nervous of was damaging any cables when cutting the cable ties, so used the smallest wire cutters I could find and took my time.
Installing the new fans on the case was just a case of orientating them the correct way as intake fans, noting the direction of the arrows on the fan cases, and rotating so wires were as close as possible to the feeder holes, and use the supplied screws. Would have been nice if the Corsair fans came with longer screws as well, so you could screw in from the front side, rather from the back.

I routed the fan wires as follows: Top fan along top of case, and then straight down to the CC, following the main power cable. The middle and bottom fans are routed down the side of case, along the bottom and then up to the CC. Should be neat enough, once I pick up some black cable ties from screwfix tomorrow. Here is how it looks in the meantime, RGB wires on the LHS of CC, PWM on the RHS:
View attachment 31693

One thing worth noting is to try and get the fans plugged into the CC in the order they appear in the case, so any RGB effect that moves from one fan to another is displayed in the correct sequence. Although if you get it wrong, iCUE does allow you to reorganise the fans, so it's not a show stopper. Just helps with some people's OCD I guess.

Once everything was screwed in place and wired, it was the moment of truth and see if it all worked and confirm I didn't break anything:
View attachment 31694

And hurrah! All worked. Phew! Just a case of running the setup wizard under lighting setup in iCUE for it to pick up the new fans, and confirm they were in the right order and orientation.

Some pics with the front case cover back on:
View attachment 31695

View attachment 31696

Although I'm not sure the photos do it justice, the mesh seems to throw the iPhone off a bit. But overall, the look is way better than the Coolermaster fans, and even using the stock Quiet cooling profile in iCUE, quieter running. And having a consistent look and everything controlled in one application is big win for me.

Still need to complete the cable management of course, but overall pleased with the result and took less than an hour to complete start to finish.

Hope people find this informative, happy to answer any questions!

Looking very nice with the new fans!

I've raised the cable tying of the controller with our building team as they should not be obscuring the RGB ports!
 

IRLRobinS

Silver Level Poster
Looking very nice with the new fans!

I've raised the cable tying of the controller with our building team as they should not be obscuring the RGB ports!
Thanks moosEh. To be fair, based on where they positioned the controller and the SATA mounting screwholes that they used to loop the cableties through, it would be hard to attach it using a tie and not cover a port.

The installer could alternatively use velro or double sided sticking tape to attach it, but if the owner then wants to move the commander to a different position, that's harder to remove and clean up.

So there's pros and cons for each approach.
 
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