When I front mounted the Be Quiet Pure Loop All-In-One (AIO) 240mm Liquid Cooler in my Cougar MX330-G ATX case, I couldn’t mount the two Pure Wing 2 120mm fans in the recessed area behind the front mesh panel. Since the screw holes were also recessed in the frame, the long screws weren’t long enough. I ended up mounting the fans to the radiator on one side and used the short screws to mount the radiator to the frame. I’ll show an old school hack and suggest several mounting alternatives for installing the fans in the recessed area to push air through the radiator.
I’ve collected loose hardware from building and disassembling PCs for over 25 years. Screws, bolts, washers, nuts, standoffs, and whatever else. For many years, I stored them in a plastic baggy inside my junk box. I switched to a vinyl storage tube that I picked up from Orchard Supply Hardware ten years ago. You never know when you might need something for a later PC build.
I didn’t have any longer screws to replace the ones that came with the Pure Loop AIO. I was looking for something shorter, say, a motherboard standoff. Most standoffs provide a quarter inch of clearance between the motherboard and the case. In my case (pun intended), I needed a quarter-inch clearance between the fans and the frame. I have plenty of standoffs that I’ve removed from old cases over the years. After picking through all the loose hardware, I found exactly eight brass standoffs with the #6-32 thread on the outside and the inside.
These are the “old school” standoffs that were common in PC cases 20 years ago. I probably pulled these out of my old InWin cases from the late 1990’s. They’re not available on Amazon or Newegg. But I did find an eBay listing for a bag of 25 at $10 USD from a Hong Kong seller.
“Old School” Standoffs
Before I can install the standoffs, I need to disassemble the radiator from the frame and the fans from the radiator. I removed all the short screws from the recessed area to unmount the radiator, and all the long screws to unmount the fans from the radiator and disconnect the cables. I put the radiator back into place with the tubing and inline pump on the bottom.
I’m using a 3/16th nut driver to screw in each standoff through the frame into the radiator. The same nut driver that I used to unscrew the standoffs years ago. Each standoff must screw in straight or it won’t line up with the long screw. Go slow to avoid stripping the screw holes in the radiator. All eight standoffs should hold the radiator tight against the frame.
The Be Quiet logo on the center of the fan should face outward from the frame. Line up the mounting holes with the standoffs and the fan should “click” on top of the standoffs. Put a long screw through each mounting hole and screw in with a screwdriver. All eight long screws should hold the fans tight against the frame.
If “old school” standoffs weren’t available, use the “new school” standoffs instead. These standoffs have the #6-32 thread on the outside and the M3 thread on the inside. M3 standoffs and screw kits are available for $10 USD each on Amazon.
Another alternative is to get 1-1/2” #6-32 screws that can screw directly into the radiator. A 20-count bag of these “hard to find” fasteners cost $10 USD each at Amazon. Home Depot has them for cheaper but not in black.
I didn’t notice any performance difference in how the fans were mounted. I was able to bump up the Ryzen 7 2700 from 3.7GHz to 3.9GHz and the G.Skill Ripjaws V 3600MHz DDR4 RAM from 3200MHz to 3333MHz. Performance in FortNite and Davinci Resolve was still rock solid.