lol funny how i mentioned the P180 and that happens to be the case you own.
Richard its far from over engineered. It has been considered one of the finest examples of affordable (if several hundred dollars can be called that ) near silent cases on the market.
Personally i wouldn't go ducting a P180 its chambered design keeps many of the hotest componets away from each other (the PSU and disk drives are seperated away from the CPU and have their own ventalation path). I would however invest in a better than stock
CPU cooler as well as some cable management (round cables are nice but proper management of flat cables can make them disapear). cleaning up the cables should give you better less turbulant airflow and offer better circulation. I would also turn the rear fans
to medium and turn up the front fans. This should create possitive pressure in the case and help keep out dust (air will escape from watever cracks it can find to balance the pressure). Also replace the missing brackets from the case they are letting cool
air out without cooling anything.
Thanks for the heads up on it being an Antec P180 case. I looked at the specs on it, as I've not encountered it before.
But I still think those two 120mm fans near the CPU are going to starve the CPU of air, pretty much regardles of the direction of their flow (in or out of the case). I mean the case in question looks like it has an additional 120mm fan in the front middle.
ie one lower front, one middle front, and two in the top rear corner. That's a lot air flow, and if it's going across the top of the CPU, the CPU fan has to try and divert it down into the CPU heatsink.
The ducting I'm talking about here, then, is probably better described as a baffle, against the two case fans. In fact, I think that after some tinkering, I'd probably turn off one of them, after attaching an appropriate duct/baffle to the CPU.
Physically attaching a duct/baffle to the top of the CPU, is perhaps a little risky. But if you use the clear plastic drink bottle stuff, you should be able to whip up something that looks like a rain down-pipe elbow, with insignifiant weight. One end being
attached of the top of the CPU (dabs of silicon sealant, probably), and the other end pointed at the front of the case. No side panel stuff, at all, and no need to replace the stock CPU Heatsink/Fan.
But then again, I have been wrong once or twice before...