Modifying the Stacker 830 and Lessons Learned

Earlier, I mentioned that the plastic fan panel with four 120 mm fans was overkill, that is exactly what we found, four 120’s disrupt the airflow to such a degree that the system temperature showed only a 1.25C advantage over two side panel 120 mm fans while showing absolutely no difference in CPU temperature.

Cooler Master Stacker 830 - Slightly Modified - Cases and Cooling 21

Additional downsides were, with the use of four fans in the side panel, the dust level increased dramatically, as did the noise level and worst of all, we couldn’t see all the goodies we packed inside. So, we decided to solve most of those issues in one fell swoop, as you can see above!

We replaced the black metal mesh and installed an acrylic cut to order window with two Scythe SF21E 120 mm fans. Now a word of warning; due to the way Cooler Master attaches the black metal mesh to the side panels, it was necessary to precision cut the window opening with laser technology, ‘We do not recommend that the end user cut the window opening themselves unless highly competent and have the right tools available.’  You have been warned!

The only stock Cooler Master fan we left in place (they only supply the front and back 120 mm fans) was the front intake. As we liked the looks of the blue LED’s shinning thru the front door (when closed) and the bottom three bay covers (when the door is open).

So, that means we used a total of four Scythe SF21E 120 mm quiet fans; two intake fans in the side panel, one rear exhaust fan and one top exhaust fan.

One of the most desired modifications requested for the Cooler Master Stacker 830 and which Hank and the people of have been able to accommodate is the mod seen below.

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Now, if you have one of these gigantic power supplies or are thinking of getting one, we suggest you have this mod done straight away. As we don’t anticipate our humble system requiring such power, we passed on this mod.

As we are not personally into liquid cooling, which by the way, the Stacker 830 can handle with ease, the fans we used were a critical part of our modding and as we noted earlier, we only kept the front stock fan for its intrinsic value.

Hank Baron of, knowing of my long advocacy and use of Panaflo fans because of their Hydro-Bearing drive with high CFM’s at lower than average dBA’s, suggested I try a new product he recently started selling, that he claimed was the new ‘king of the hill’ in fans, the Scythe S-FLEX SF21E 120mm Quiet Fans, of course I agreed, I had to try these for myself.

To my surprise, Scythe were using a new technology developed by SONY Corporation  and titled ‘Fluid Dynamic Bearing’ which claims to dramatically reduce noise and prolong fan life. For more info on the inner workings of this technology please visit Scythe’s wed page and look under Scythe S-FLEX.

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Well it sounded good to me and almost like jumping a generation ahead of our old favorites the Panaflo fans and with numbers to prove it, take a look at these:

120x120x25 mm – 1,200 RPM – 20.1 dBA’s – 49.0 CFM’s – 0.15A

Impressive enough that I decided to use four of these fans in my Stacker 830 and I wasn’t disappointed.

Okay, we’ve shown you the modifications we made and as I’ve alluded to, nothing was earth shattering, now that’s not all we did.

Oh yes, we’ve finished modding the Stacker 830 including changing out the fans in favor of quiet running Scythe 120 mm units, but as this system is an SLI setup we needed to lower the noise level generated by our two Leadtek 6800GT video cards.

My first choice would have been Thermalright’s V-1 Ultra which is what I use on my single video card system, but unfortunately they are not SLI compatible (lack of space between video cards being the culprit). But, not to fear as Artic Cooling recently released their Accelero X1 and X2 video card coolers. The Accelero X1 is what our 6800GT’s required; so on they went, as you can see below.

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Are they doing the job? The Accelero’s are extremely quiet and their oversized fans are more than adequate, but let me throw some numbers at you.


Ambient Temp

6800GT Stock

6800GT Accelero









Not too shabby, if I do have to say so myself, and I must add, that I’m sure the ‘Slightly Modified Stacker 830’ played a significant role in keeping the test results in such a comfortable range, with the side window fans supplying ample intake air.

Now, that about covers all the modding performed on the Stacker 830 and includes the change in fans and the modification to our video cards. About all we have left is to show you the completed system and share with you the lessons learned and final thoughts.

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The photo above is my ‘Slightly Modified Stacker 830’ the only difference being that the front of the case would be facing the window (sorry about the window glare), which houses my AC unit, but to take a photo in my small office without the color being distorted, I had to move the case to a horizontal position. What’s in there?? Why not show it with the panel off??

In response to the second question first; what we were trying to do in this review, was hi-light the Cooler Master Stacker 830 and the modifications we made to improve upon what Cooler Master had accomplished not the system itself, while formidable in its own right.

To answer the first question last, the system is comprised of the following:

   Asus A8N SLI Deluxe motherboard
   AMD Athlon64 4000+
   Thermalright Ultra 90 Heatsink w/ Akasa 92 mm Amber Fan
   2 GBytes of Patriot DDR 400 Memory
   2 Leadtek 6800GT’s w/ Accelero X1 Coolers
   Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS
   2 WD Raptor 74 GByte Hard Drives
   2 Sony 16X DVD Burners
   Akasa 550W PowerPlus PSU
   Cooler Master Stacker 830 Case

Lessons Learned and Final Thoughts

We learned a few things that we’d like to share with you. As this was the first case that we’ve worked with that had so much open space due to the front, top and both sides being mostly metal mesh, we were quiet surprised that when using just two fans, one front intake and one rear exhaust, the case reacted like one that had both side panels removed or like having a system on a test bed, outside of ambient air, there was very little airflow and our temperatures reflected that.

Of course, a major problem with so much open space was dust; we had to blow out the case once every four or five days. My office isn’t very dusty but I do have baseboard heat and that could have aggravated the situation. This problem went away when we put in a right side window with two filtered fans, just changing that one side cut the dust problem to the point where we blow the case out once every two weeks

As mentioned earlier, we found using the Stacker 830’s four fan panel fully loaded was overkill and actually disrupted airflow to the point where system temperatures were actually 6C more than with our modded two fan windowed panel.

Our average temperatures using our system the way most of you would under normal operating conditions are:

System 30C


Ambient 24.4C

The figures above have been averaged from over 800 individual readings with the highs and lows for each day thrown out. Interesting in its own right is the fact that we have never seen the CPU temperature rise by more than 8C over System temperatures and that was only when gaming.

The system runs cool and quiet enough for us, but we can credit that to the change to quiet fans, the change to the video card coolers and our CPU cooling fan and without question, to the modding abilities of our good friends at .

Cooler Master created a great case in the Stacker 830; Hank at Performace-Pcs made the Stacker 830 a ‘Fantastic Case’, with cooling ability second to none!!

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