Should I push air through radiator or pull through?


Baseband Member
Because of my case layout, I have to pull air through the radiator rather than push air through. How will this impact the radiator's performance? Will the fans be less efficient the way a pump pulling pressure is less efficient than a pump pushing pressure?

If I absolutely have to push air through the radiator (which will mount inside the top of my computer), then air will flow in the top of the computer and out the side, back, front, and bottom. I understand it's better for air to flow up and out rather than down and out since heat rises.


Baseband Member
Yeah, I turn fans to orient air flow all the time.

The situation is this, though: my radiator has to fit inside the top of my case, and the fans have to attach outside the top of my case. If the logic is true that it's better for air to flow up through the case than down, that means my fans will have to pull air through the radiator.

If the mantra that air should flow up through the case isn't as solid as I think, though, then I can push the air through the radiator, into the case at the top, and out the sides.
I'm not an expert with liquid cooling, but the whole "heat rises" deal doesn't apply to small situations like a computer tower. The complication with the air flowing up has to do with air bubbles that accumulate in the reserve (I'm way out of my reach here). Someone else will chime in with some good information, just hang tight.

Tommy Boy

Golden Master
I really don't think it matters if you push or pull air through a radiator. The telltale sign will be your temps, are they good? If they are good and it's cooling like it should then I wouldn't worry about it too much.