Case Airflow: Case Study with a

Phanteks Enthoo Luxe.

In part I found here: the fundamentals of setting up a good air cooling loop.
The 3 basic set up positive pressure, negative pressure and neutral pressure for case airflow and the abbreviations common for air cooling.
For part II diving in deeper with a specific case the, Phanteks Enthoo Luxe using a wide range of fans and pressure setups.
While I prefer a negative pressure setup I prefer to go over the numbers on a case by case basis running the numbers per setup.

The Case; Phanteks Enthoo Luxe.

Recently upgraded to a Ryzen 5 1600 and decided to upgrade the case as well, my old Antec Dark Fleet 30 was not optimal for cable management.
This case is an Enthoo Luxe is a full tower model derived from the Enthoo Primo offering most of the features at a slightly smaller size.
For cable management, there is plenty of room, Steel chassis with Aluminum faceplates and room for 8 case fans and 2 drive cage fans.
If you are in the market for a new case look at the Phanteks line they have many features, also interesting to check out are Cooler Master cases.
But for this article, the fans are important since this is not a review but a specific study with the Enthoo Luxe.

Front: 1 x 200mm or 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans or 1 x 120mm 1 x 140mm setup.
Bottom: 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans or 1 x 120mm 1 x 140mm setup.
Top: 1 x 200mm + 120mm or 140mm, 3 x 140mm, 3 x 120mm or a mix of 120mm and 140mm fans.
Back: 1 x 140mm or 120mm fans.
Sides: None.
HDD Cage: 1 x 120mm fan per removable cage.
Case Diagram Negative Pressure.

The Fans.

While I normally like a uniform design, while doing some research I found some interesting fans I wanted to test.
Once I've settled on my fan setup I will buy more of the Phanteks fans and probably keep the high static Corsair fans in the front.

Phanteks: 140mm and 200mm high CFM fans for exhaust.

  Static Pressure. CFM. DB.


1.33 82.1 19


1.04 110.1 25


1.72 61.6 27

Corsairs SP120: 120mm high static pressure fans for intake.

  Static Pressure. CFM. DB.


1.60 57.4 26.4

Arctic F12 and F14: 120mm and 140mm fans for exhaust and intake.

  Static Pressure. CFM. DB.


- 53 22.5


 - 74 22.5

The Corsair SP120 offer better static pressure than current 120mm Phanteks fans, 120mm always offer better static pressure over 140mm fans.
Pressure is building up is higher due to air being pushed through a smaller diameter.
The Phanteks fans offered a high CFM making them perfect for exhaust fans, The Arctic fans I wanted to test due to the low price per fan.
140mm fans always offer a higher CFM over 120mm fans as they offer a wider tunnel and bigger fan blades to push more volume.
Large diameter allows for more air throughput at the loss of pressure due to fans limited capability of compacting the volume in a larger diameter.
There is the exception to the norm of course but this is a general logic you would, of course, check with your preferred brand for actual CFM and Static Pressure.

As time progressed and I went from a range of test with overclocks I ran into a problem with the F12 fans not working properly.
For some reason the F-12 did not spin up located on the back of the case in a standing position, this would mess with my RPM profile and create extra noise.
Due to this fact, this article has been delayed and I also decided to add an extra CPU fan since this has become more common.

PWM Signal, PWM Hub, and Heat Managment:

You might want to consider making RPM profiles or setting RPM ranges in the BIOS this would require either 4 pin PWM connectors or a PWM hub.
A PWN hub will allow for 3 pin as well as 4 pin connectors to be used but will read the PWM signal and set voltage accordingly to all connecting fans.
If you have a wider assortment of 4pin PWM connectors splitter cables could work just as good but it would require you to tune each PWM/RPM profile.
The PWM hub in the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe is included there are aftermarket PWM hubs you can buy, be sure to check your motherboard specs when adding fans.
In my case, the ASUS Prime B350 Plus has 3 x 4pin PWM headers, all giving a PWM signal some cases the 4 pins might not offer a true PWM signal.
Check again if these are 4pin PWM connectors or normal 3pin connectors and that all if not some offer a true PWM signal from the motherboard.

There are 3 more options for setting your fan RPM, a program called Fan Speed what works great if your motherboard is supported.
However, not all motherboards are included and I could not get it to work with the AMD Ryzen platform it will simply not read the BUS info correctly.
The 2nd option would be setting your fan speeds through your bios a common workaround if no software offers a good solution.
Simply reboot and head into your BIOS settings and look for Q-Fan settings to set your fans accordingly.
The 3rd option is installed a Fan Controller in one or more of the front panels slots and offers full control that way, a good option for Q-fan or Fan Speed.
I go into greater details regarding the above-mentioned options in my first article if you are unsure what your best option would be.

My current setup is my back 120mm fan is a PWM fan with 4 pin connector straight to the motherboard.
My fan hub is connected to the CPU PWM connector and has the pull fan on the first hub connection followed by the push fan on the second connection.
Then I have 4 connections left for 6 more fans with the front 2 x 120mm fans as well as 2 x 140mm top on splitter cables.
Leaving me with 1 PWM connector from the motherboard I am considering using with testing a CPU water cooling setup for my next article.
A caution here though since connecting to many fans to a hub might lower the RPM since that is regulated with voltage, each hub as a total voltage output.
Going over the total output will not fry your hub merely limit the RPM due to the total voltage ceiling your hub has to ensure your fans stay under the total limit.
Either use a 2nd PWM HUB or use more of the PWM connector you might give on your motherboard to prevent limited cooling performance.

Also, an important note is that the motherboard PWM signal relays the temperature from the chip socket, not the chip diode!
The socket diode will always show a lower temperature measurement then the CPU diode since the CPU diode is closer the heat source.
For a proper temperature measurement use the program called HWiNFO64, or use more advanced measurement tools if you have those at your disposal.
CPU (Tctl/Tdie) is the diode located inside the chip, CPU is the diode in the socket, below a screenshot to illustrate with red outlining.
Further more the diodes are not optimal calibrated so temperatures could be off slightly from chip to chip, nothing can be done about this.
It will not harm or damage your CPU or motherboard since there are safety thresholds in place to prevent that.

For my personal preference, I want little to no noise when listening to music, typing, browsing or doing some editing on my web page.
There for my ASUS Suite 3 RPM profile is set in such a way that within a certain temperature range the fans will spin at low speed.
And will ramp up the fans when putting the system under load when gaming, rendering or performing tests with Prime95 or similar programs.
As with finding the low noise limit under no to little load, the noise limit in your gaming sessions is also important to ensure your fans offer enough cooling.
But with either a headset or speakers the noise of your fans will be hard to hear unless they ramp up to 100%, in this case, find the median temperatures.
And set your fans RPM accordingly, this will take some time and I have been tinkering with my settings for weeks now.

Ambient Noise.

As mentioned above noise generated by your fans is where you trade between cooling performance and ambient noise.
Besides using your ears there is a wide assortment of apps for mobile phones and even better equipment if you happen to have access to that.
Below is a sample of some of the noise ranges with different workloads with
The Idle and light load is nothing running in the background after a (re)boot or doing some browsing or typing on my PC.
A medium load would consist of a gaming session an easy way to mimic this is running a game that comes with a benchmark.
The heavy load is running Prime95 with Small FFT's to generate the maximum amount of heat or a video render using all cores.
Measurements were taken with the phone application on the mouse mat and on top of the case close to the fans giving an appropriate range noise, where as one measurement is where the end user would sit and the other measurement is as close to the source as possible.
No special materials were used in terms of padding this could lower the amount of noise generated.

Idle/Light Load 20 Db 25 Db
Medium Load 30 Db 40 Db
Heavy Load 40 Db 50 Db

The latter sounds like a wind tunnel and I highly doubt the average user will ever need their fans to run at 100% unless they are benchmarking their system.
I overall satisfied with the results after weeks of tinkering in-between work and gaming sessions, and yes I have spent more than I usually want to spend.
But in the spirit of writing this article, I did some extra test and made sure the hardware I am using works and works on demand.
If you have any questions or feedback, would like me to test a different setup or some hardware please feel free to contact me here: Contact Me

For my next article, I have purchased a Coolermaster Master Liquid 240 to test partial liquid cooling combined with air cooling and what yield the best results.
Remember that this is based of the hardware I use in combination with a full tower case the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe you could have slightly different results.
However, results should not vary by much if they do read me previous article located here or contact me and I will do my best to help you on your way.

- Paul Ripmeester


Case Airflow, Cooling the right way.

While venturing on the internet looking for some tips on airflow and to see if cooling is done by air, for the most part, has changed I was disappointed.
The lack of good material or even bad material was stunning so I decided to contribute with a fellow overclocker showing good cooling practices.
Nothing really has changed it remains pretty much the same while fans have greatly improved and so does the fan assortment.
For this article, there will be 2 examples a Ryzen based system and an Intel based system with different cases.

The Basics.

1. When placing fans in your case or even other hardware ensure that airflow is in the right direction.
In any case, this means cold air goes in and hot air goes out, common mistake what will result in higher temperatures or even hot air blowing in your face.
Even if it is extremely hot outside the air will still have a lower temperature than inside your case, this also goes for liquid cooling solutions.
Intake Fans: the front and the bottom of your case,
Exhaust Fans: the back and the top of your case.
Very important to note is that hot air rises and the rear of your case is confined especially on enthusiast builds with a big CPU cooler.
And the overall trick for the best cooling solution is that cool air is not mixed with the hot air but that air on the intakes has enough pressure to reach the center,
so that the hardware fans on your GPU and CPU will be able to scoop up the cold air to cool the components and then push hot air towards the exhaust fans.
Below is a looped video of my new Phanteks Enthoo Luxe case that depict the flow of air, stage 1 intake, stage 2 hardware picks up air, stage 3 hot air exhaust.

2. Always have a negative pressure inside your case by having more exhaust fans than intake fans or by calculating your CFM and high static pressure.
You can opt for over pressure if your system does not generate excessive amounts of heat but this is only with budget setups without overclocking.
Also important to note that especially with negative pressure to use dust filters on your fans where you can, either pre-installed or aftermarket filters.
The general rule for fan placement is that high static fans are used as intake fans while high CFM fans are used for exhaust.
For those who are new CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and high static pressure the ability to overcome obstacles and travel distance.

To aid in finding the right cooling solution use this excel sheet Case Cooling CFM, Static Pressure, and Watt Calculator located on Google Drive.
In order to use the Excel sheet download and open excel sheet or move a copy to your own Google Drive.
Simply enter the numbers of your fans located in your case, above the column is a note that this part is either intake or exhaust.
With the exclusion of hardware and internal fans who are calculated with hardware CFM/mmH20 for a different calculation.
Now you can see there are different results, CFM Rating(+ or - airflow), Case vs Hardware actual CFM, Case vs Hardware optimal CFM.
Also included are watts and decibels, PWM hubs and Fan controllers have ratings if want to buy one check if you are buying the right one.
Noise generating can be indicated, not taking into account acoustic deformation of the room or any noise reducing padding your case might have.

CFM Rating(+ or - airflow): takes the intake CFM and deducts it with the Exhaust CFM this will either give a positive or negative result,
this will indicate whether your fans will generate a negative or positive pressure inside the case and you can adjust accordingly, removing/adding fans.

Case vs Hardware actual CFM: Weighs the CFM by deducting Hardware Total CFM from Case Total CFM to give indicate surplus CFM.
Useful to indicate if you installed too much or too little fans, too many fans could create too much turbulence making it harder for hardware fans to scoop up air, and that could great stall pockets of hot air increasing the temperature overall.

Case vs Hardware optimal CFM: This will calculate the CFM of your Hardware CFM vs your Case CFM if the amount of airflow is too much or too little,
the throughput of your hardware CFM is an indicator when cool air is pushed in and then hot air pushed out if the airflow can be used efficiently by your installed hardware.
Normally 25% ~ 50% on top of your Hardware CFM is optimal, here I used 25% so anything above it should be sufficient.

3. When shopping for fans ensure they are of good quality even if that means paying a bit extra, cheaper fans means less performance.
When cooling your system you want the best CFM and static pressure at the lowest noise levels to fully enjoy your build.
High-end fans are money well spend and will offer the best airflow scenario for your build optimal cooling temperatures.
As mentioned above you want to generate negative pressure by generating more exhaust CFM then intake CFM.
The difference between static pressure is merely air that travels at higher speeds than the actual volume that translates in CFM.
There for by ensuring you the cubic feet per minute(CFM) is higher with the exhaust fans then the intake fans you will generate negative pressure.
High statics pressure fans are always fitted with less but bigger blades generating a lower CFM and higher CFM fans always have more but smaller blades.

4. PWM, PWM Hubs, and Fan Controllers are vital for regulating your fans speed and the noise they generate.
However you can only use one even if there are several PWM connectors with most motherboards, check your manual to ensure you can use multiple PWM signals.
You will either use your PWM signal that can ideally has enough signal strength to support 6 to 9 fans at a time through PWM hub.
Or use a fan controller that controls the fans speed through its own PWM signal setting the RPM, or using the in or decrease of watts.
Motherboard PWM signals are more accurate and will react better to heat fluctuations over a fan controller since the heat sensors will interact with the motherboard.
A fan controller will detect temperatures through a series of sensors you have to place around your case, closer to a heat source the better.
But a fan controller allows you to tweak your RPM better with smaller steps over a the motherboard pwm signal + motherboard software.
Also important to note that fans have steps some have more as others that is usually more costly with more steps but offer more control.

5. In order to make a fully informed decision regarding what type of cooling flow you want to use here are some of the basics.
While it remains true that negative pressure will result in the best cooling when setup correctly there are other options you could try out.
Positive Pressure: More combined CFM on intake fans and/or more intake fans, this will result in far less dust attracted to your cooling loop.
Negative Pressure: More combined CFM on exhaust fans and/or more exhaust fans, will attract more dust to your cooling loop there for filters are a must.
Neutral Pressure: Roughly the same combined CFM on your intake and exhaust fans with a balanced fan setup.
To give you a more accurate picture below is a video painting an accurate picture of what the above setups will do in terms of airflow with pros and cons.

6. Dust is your enemy, where dust accumulates it well hamper cooling performance, less cooling when dust sits on your filters or heatsinks.
Cable management is also very important, dust will stick to most surfaces so having wires in the airflow path beside hampering the airflow altogether.
Investing in a good case that has cable management features will have a better look, better airflow and less surface for dust to settle.
Besides dust filters and a solid tight fitting case placing your rig on your desk will reduce dust intake by 80%, never place it on the floor or carpet.
And make sure your PSU is modular try to use the least possible amount of cables for a clean look and fewer places for dust to accumulate.

Closing Notes:

This concludes an introduction the best cooling practices, covering the basics of setting up a proper airflow with some guidelines to get you going.
The first step towards setting up your own cooling showing that air cooling and getting the right airflow is a skill, as much as water cooling.
Make sure to test out your setup and move some fans around to gain experience and the perfect solution for you own case, each case is different.
Stay tuned to this article and website since 2 more articles will follow soon with 2 case by case examples of setting up an airflow.

- Paul Ripmeester



AMD Ryzen 5 1600 overclocking guide.

When looking to upgrade a good friend on steam pointed out the new Ryzen series, while being at the time an Intel user I was intrigued.
Throughout the years AMD never was on my shopping list and being an AMD user was more of a cult thing, much as the PC vs Console debate.
But still, the specs and chatter on the internet were very much positive and that AMD wanted to provide the same performance but at a lower cost.
As time passed I spend some time researching Ryzen vs Intel chip and came to the conclusion that Ryzen would be better for me.
I will not bore you with the research but in short using your PC for more things than gaming, such as editing video/graphics and using programs like PS.
A Ryzen would perform better, Intel still does better on a single core but Ryzen is making headway with multi-core performance.
This guide will be an overclocking guide for the setup listed below, I will not go deep into explaining the basics and will only list volts and numbers.
I am assuming you have done this before I am writing this to supplement AMD Reddit and other AMD overclocking sources.

My Rig.

  • Case: Phanteks Enthoo Luxe.
  • Motherboard: ASUS Prime B350-Plus.
  • CPU: Ryzen 5 1600 Retail.
  • RAM: Corsair DDR4 LPX White 16 GB 3000.
  • GPU: MSI GTX 960 4GB.
  • PSU: Sharkoon 600 Watt semi modular.
  • OZC Agility 3 256GB C Drive, WD Green/Blue 1TB storage drives.
  • Cooling: CoolerMaster 212 EVO and AMD Wraith Spire.
  • Case fans: 2 x 120mm and 1 x 140mm push fans, 1x 120mm and 3 x 140mm pull fans.

A medium range setup, nothing really fancy for a workstation but it works like a charm.
My Antec 650 Gold PSU went bust and I replaced it with a Sharkoon what was on hands, will either go back to Antec or a Corsair PSU ASAP.
This rig will run programs like Photoshop, some recording with Nvidia shadowplay, gaming, some web page editing, music, browsing etc on a daily basis.
While I could get away with not overclocking Ryzen shines when you push it and get the best results performance wise.

Getting Started.

Skipping the part of installing all the hardware in your case since that should be covered in the manuals.
Do ensure that you apply the RIGHT amount of thermal paste so that your CPU cooler will work as it suppose to.
When booting up the first time make sure to go right into your BIOS and update the BIOS to the latest drivers this will enhance stability from the get go.
Also, memory and other hardware support will be in the latest BIOS version if feeling brave use a Beta release BIOS but that might not be wise.
The updating BIOS in the ASUS motherboards can be done inside the BIOS, in the worse case you need to use a flash drive.
Boot up your system one time to see if you installed the components correctly and make a baseline performance test with Passmark or Cinebench.
Restart and boot back into your BIOS, ensure that you have the latest drivers and updates for stability and support purposes!

ASUS Prime B350 Plus BIOS version

BIOS Settings.

Make sure your RAM profile is set to 2133mhz, not DOCP/XMP/A-XMP max 3000/3200mhz and up, just the basic 2133mhz all DDR4 runs on.
Set the optimal RAM clocks speed after achieving a stable CPU overclock since Ryzen still has some compatibility issues.
What RAM MHz you can pick also has to do with the die quality of the components, Samsung allows for the best results anything else will be lower.
You can check your die quality with THAIPHOON BURNER and see for yourself, manufacturers have a list but this tool is far easier and quicker.

ASUS Prime B350 Plus BIOS, RAM Base Clock

Now it is time to set the Ryzen 5 clock, in ASUS it is called CPU Core Ratio, MSI calls it CPU Frequency.
Each chip Intel or AMD Ryzen will behave differently, the OC community phrase would be "silicone lottery" and it is winning or losing.
That said any Ryzen should be able to reach 3800mhz or I would recommend a refund and replacement with a better chip.
They can go as high as 4000mhz or even higher but that is winning the silicone lottery or being blessed with an engineering sample.

DIGI+ VRM Settings.

These settings help with achieving greater overclocks and stability of the overclocks, setting this in the BIOS over AI Suite is better since it might reset.
Setting them to extreme will only affect power consumption do make sure to set the VDDCR CPU Switching Frequency to 350 MHz and not higher.
You can tinker with these setting once you have achieved a stable overclock, see if you can reduce power consumption, this is a starting point, not the end.
ASUS Prime B350 Plus BIOS, DIGI+ VRM


Here you can find some settings, for now, leave everything on Auto but turn of Core Performance Boost, this will hamper stable overclocking if left on.
ASUS Prime B350 Plus BIOS, AMD CBS

CPU Core Volts.

There are several volt ranges you need to consider, for those who are new to overclocking voltage and CPU core ratio/frequency will attribute to your overclock.
The ratio of your clock should be seen as x multiplied by 100, mostly 99.9 and 99.8 what then translates into overclock speed, higher ratios need more volts.
The voltage will result in more or less heat being produced there for you need cooling, the voltage can be different per chip due to the silicone lottery.
Lower volts is always better but is not always possible, and will set a limit how far you can overclock combined with the CPU core ratio/frequency.

  • AMD Recommended Voltage: 1.350 and 1.375 volts.
  • Community Recommended Voltage: 1.400 and 1,450 volts.
  • Absolute max and not recommended: 1.500 and 1550 volts.

Here we start with a overclock speed of 3800 MHz, set CPU Core Ratio to 38.00, disable EPU Power Saving mode and OC Tuner.
Now it is time to adjust the CPU voltage, VDDCR CPU Voltage in this BIOS also to note this offers an offset and not a manual mode.
Set the CPU Voltage to Offset Mode, Offset Mode Sign to + and Offset Voltage to 0.13750.
Exit the BIOS and save these settings, you can also opt to save as a profile under the Tool section of this BIOS and reboot.
ASUS Prime B350 Plus BIOS, voltage offset

Unless the silicone lottery hates you it should reboot and now you use Cinebench and Prime to run a quick stability test.
If your settings are stable and they should be you can try to lower the CPU Offset Voltage to lower your temperatures.
As shown in the picture the increments are 0.00625 volts use that to lower the CPU Voltage while remaining stable in Prime95/Cinebench.
Make sure to keep an eye on those temperatures for that I would recommend HWMonitor, no individual core temperature programs are updated yet.
You can also set your XMP/A-XMP/DOCP profile above the basic 2133 MHz, I was not blessed with a Samsung die so mine, for now, is set at 2666 MHz.

Here is my CPU-Z validation link for my 38.25:

My Absolute Max, 3900 MHz.

I spend days reading up on Ryzen and the overclocking potential I have not touched my DDR4 RAM yet, waiting for some BIOS update.
Temperatures even with the stock cooler are acceptable but the core voltage are above the AMD recommended value.
There for I opted to go back to my 38.25 clocks what yielded me to best results, with BIOS updates I hope this will become more viable.
ASUS Prime B350 Plus BIOS, 3900 MHz

ASUS Prime B350 Plus BIOS, 3900 MHz Offset

The new AMD Ryzen CPU chip is amazing especially considering the price, with a good overclock you can take on CPU's double in price.
Happy I took the plunge and invested in a Ryzen 5 chip with my upgrade, Intel better steps up its game because this is stiff competition.
With that I conclude my small guide, i hope this has helped the readers and saved them some time.

- Paul Ripmeester


PC utilities, Monitoring, Burn-in Tests and Maintenance.

In past articles I have mentioned some program I use to overclock or do other misc work on my rig.
Any PC needs a bit of maintenance and love and at times when you tweak your settings and go into overclocking you need to run tests.
Therefore I thought it would be wise to write this short article covering my favorite utilities that I frequently use.
The programs I list will be free of charge, no trial period or similar sales tricks.
I do use paid programs to run tests at times but those are far and few in between but are very good.


3DP Chip.

A little free tool that allows you to check for outdated drivers.
While 3DP Chip does not offer 100% coverage it will find most drivers, I run it roughly once a month.
Be aware of the adds it try's to install just decline that request, security software could flag this program because of that.

ASUS Real Bench.

ASUS released this toolkit using open source program some are covered in this article, however, this program combines several.
It can be a bit time consuming to run the program it offers a benchmark setting and a stress test setting covering the full range of hardware.
Mainly used by ASUS ROG users but it is for every system, test your PC performance or subject it to a stress test.


PC cleaning and optimization it offers a full version for free with an option to upgrade to a pro version that offers more automating features.
In its core, the free version cleans your browser(s), various hidden or hard to find folders that tend to collect junk files.
Keeps your registry free of empty and dead links that will consume resources or even causes errors and crashes, startup program management.
Very useful and easy to use tool to keep that rig running at peak performance with little to no effort on your part.


The go to program to find out what hardware you are running with numbers, data, and specifications.
Offers some benchmarking and validation must need if you wish to partake in overclocking contests.


DiskMax is a handy free disk and windows optimization tool that I use to supplement CCleaner.
It looks for a range of files such as windows cache, windows event logs and sorts files for faster access through windows.
This is by far the best program to keep your windows from unstable and clutter your hard drives with random junk.


The go to GPU benchmark and OC stress test tool, ensuring your freshly overclocked GPU is up to the task.
Furmark uses intensive OpenGL fur rendering algorithms to measure GPU performance due to that heavy load it is ideal for stress testing.
Because of that, it offers several modes, a benchmark setting, and a stress test / burn-in test either in full-screen or in a window.

HWiNFO64 / 32.

System and monitoring for your hardware with options to make reports/log files for overclockers a useful tool to monitor temperatures.
Anything from CPU clock speeds, RAM clock speeds and timings to in depth temperature reading from all motherboard sensors.
Furthermore, it reads the voltages of various installed hardware and fans speeds vital for stable and safe overclocking
For Ryzen this program at this point in time offers the most accurate temperature readings.


Does exactly the same as HWiNFO but from the same website that offers CPU-Z.
Different people will like different programs for hardware monitoring, temperature, clock speeds and fan speeds so people will advice one of these.
Another small difference is that a pro version is on offer that allows for remote access, graph generator, and custom labels.

Project Mercury.

An unconventional program Project Mercury will optimize your PC resources multi-core processors may that be Intel or AMD.
Consider this a more advanced program and go to the info tab to see what the features can do for you.
Among the features is disable core parking, disable standby on CPU load, no multi-core stutter etc.


A file recovery program that will allow you to recover deleted files from any hard drive or even overwritten files.
For this reason, drive wiping programs with DOD standards always rewrites up to 32 times so no files can be recovered.
But for the regular users, this program can be a life saver if you deleted files or want to attempt a recovery from an old hard drive.
Recuva can even offer hope when a drive has been damaged although this depends on the severeness of the drive if that will be successful.


A system information tool like CPU-Z and temperature readings like HWMonitor and HWiNFO.
It has a far easier interface than other tools I listed but as a general tool, it offers less in-depth reporting.
Easy when you have a friend or relative with hardware problems you can guide them and find the information you need to resolve the problem(s).

Unigine Valley Benchmark,

A performance and stability test for various PC components that are related to your GPU.
It offers realistic rendering load on your GPU and components related to your GPU as the cooling and PSU.
I normally test with FurMark then use Valley to check performance under a realistic load to confirm a stable overclock of my GPU.

This concludes this short article on some of the utility software I frequently use on my PC's or tests and troubleshooting for others.
Programs like this will save you time and effort or offer you better-overclocking capabilities and stability overall to keep that rig at peak performance.
It is by no means a final list but these programs are the most common others will point out if you are searching the internet.
All the programs I listed are still supported and receive frequent updates from the developers.

- Paul Ripmeester



While working on my own website looking for the right balance and SEO options the initial task was mind-boggling, to say the least.
Most articles said that for the right SEO you spend a lot of time for the least amount of gain they are right to some extend.
I do enjoy tweaking everything from my PC to mobile phone and hence my website as well.
While I did find useful articles that gave me a greater insight none were just the right article that covers Joomla SEO.
This is where this article comes in, I will show you my route to a 99% PageSpeed score and a 98% Yslow score.
Remember SEO can be boring with little short-term gain, the gain is long term and a better user experience.
While this article covers SEO for Joomla CMS it can be used as a source for other variants of CMS's and websites.
The big difference will be you will need to find some modules/plugins that are built specifically the CMS you are using.

What is SEO?

Just covering the basic of what SEO is there are plenty of articles on the internet that will cover this in debt.
But to understand what SEO does and means for you some of the basics for you to digest.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, in layman's terms how to optimize your site to be digested by search engines.
The better your SEO score is the higher you will rank among sites that compete for your market share.
Running a blog or online shop you will end up competing with someone somehow and somewhere.
Whether you post idea's, experiences or you are selling a product you want to reach out to the right people.

The basics of SEO.

The does and don't of SEO, there are some practices that are heavily advertised on the internet regarding SEO.
When caught in the act you will get a penalty and the likes of Google tend to remember those offenders for a long time.
Whatever you do stay away from so-called "black hat" practices like a contagious decease.

Black hat & no goes of SEO.

  • Stuffing of meta-tags relevant or not, never exceeds 20 meta tags.
  • Hiding random text stuffed with keywords like using a white text on a white background.
  • Pay for links to your site also known as link farms.
  • Involvement in a PBN, Private Blog Network resulting in linking loops.
  • Posting your website link on websites and blogs that are not relevant to your content.
  • Certain SEO tools that claim to offer automated link building.

Good SEO practices.

  • Content is king, quality of the content you serve is key.
  • Use your social media to gain exposure to your content & backlinks.
  • Try to use SEO writing, the hardest learning curve of SEO.
  • Guest writing on websites with a higher authority.
  • Correct use of HTML markup such as header text.
  • Using a CDN, Content Delivery Network.
  • Enable Gzip on your server.
  • SEO friendly URL's also known as SEF.
  • Prevent broken links, basic maintenance of checking linked content.
  • Minify HTML, CSS and Java scripts, reducing page size increasing loading speeds.
  • And then some, I will go through the above in greater detail below.

Diving deeper into SEO.

As listed above their SEO involves everything you use while managing a website.
The server(s), content, programming languages, getting natural back links to your website etc.
You can take my word for the black hat SEO practices if not please feel free to google for more information.
Now it is time to get down to the nitty and gritty of SEO and go over everything from A to Z in detail.
If you want to have a sneak and peak of your actual SEO score I use this website for my score tests called GTMetrix.

Preparing your server for SEO.

Once you have installed the basic Joomla, added some of your content and select your template you have the framework to kick of SEO.
The core of your effort will be your server it will be vital to get the right settings depending on the host most settings will be set from the get go.
There are several settings that need to be checked if not set to have the best settings and those all start server side.

The first part is the robot.txt file this will point and set rules for the crawl bots that are used by all search engines.
You can allow and disallow access to files and folders using this handy little text file.
Joomla sets these settings for you, for the most part, I did not change anything with allowing or disallowing.
There are however 2 vital settings that need to be added, first pointing the robots to the URL your sitemap is located.
Copy and paste: Sitemap: into robots text file.
The .xml and robots.txt should be in the main directory unless you want separate files but those are really not needed.
For most servers, this is /public_html unless you installed Joomla in a different folder ensure the right location for your files for it to work properly.
Next is a simple pointer to the URL you want to use this is either or
Copy and paste: Host: into the robots.txt so the robots will see the preferred URL markup your site should be archived under.

Next up is the .htaccess file for the larger part Joomla has added some rules and for SEO you might need to add some rules or change them where needed.
However before you start editing make a backup, I can not state this clear enough make a backup because this file can make your life miserable.
You can get the original if you do not have a backup by downloading the full Joomla .zip file and use that if you can not find it at all or forgot to make a backup.
While it is rare you want to check that you can use the .htaccess file for SEO, check out this article to check whether your host is capable of using the .htaccess file.
Now you can start to make your edits remember rules are set unless they have a # added in front or behind them, there also used a spacer and to point out information.
For browsers to see how long they can store files in the browser cache unless files on the server are updated you need to add some code to inform the browser.
The caches are handled by the browser there is not editing required but the browser needs to know how long it can keep the files, not too long and not too short.
Copy and paste the code below or change the time periods but these base values are SEO optimized.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/html "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 1 month"

The next bit of .htaccess is a security portion and yes security is something that falls under SEO rules.
When adding this line you plug a small security leak that allows for certain exploits to gain illegal access to your server.
If you are using a server where you can access the actual apache configuration such as have a dedicated hosting machine you want to read this part.
Copy and paste the code below as is, it is SEO optimized.

## Misc Security ##
ServerSignature Off

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} libwww-perl.*
RewriteRule .* ? [F,L]

The next part is setting up the server for the nice and so much needed clean URL's, this is part of the SEF part where you SEO Joomla from the back end.
Clean URL's are craved by search engines since they give a clear picture what the page is about by using in the most cases title of the article or file name.
Scroll down to the part that says ## Mod_rewrite in use. and make sure that you uncomment by removing the # in front of RewriteEngine On.
This will prep your server to parse SEF settings later on in the Joomla administrator backend and this part also you need to add a rewrite to an URL make up.
You can access your web page through several combinations with URL make ups, HTTP:// or with www. the code here will force a browser to use one markup.
All traffic will now point towards a single URL makeup you can also replace the HTTP:// with https:// if you have an SSL certificate.
Copy and paste the code below you can change it around to the URL make up of your taste and the URL you will use in search engine webmaster tools.

## Mod_rewrite in use.

RewriteEngine On

rewritecond %{http_host} ^ [nc]
rewriterule ^(.*)$$1 [r=301,nc]

Scroll all the way down you will find the final rule that must be uncomment to enable SEF look for RewriteBase / and remove the # in front.
There is no need to edit any more items or add more coding now you need to save the .htaccess file.
Ensure you have a copy of the .htaccess this file is now ready to be uploaded again or saved directly on the server.
One final action must be taken while this is on the server for the .htaccess to work and starts doing it's magic, click on the file on your server.
Remove the.txt from the end and place a .(dot)at the beginning so the file is called .htaccess and the server can read the file to deploy the settings.

Preparing Joomla for SEO.

For this part, we need to dive into the back end of Joomla you probably have guessed you need administrator rights to gain full access.
Part of SEO is the web page loading speed and the size of the pages especially the landing page, your main URL: in most cases.
To ensure you have the best loading speed refrain from installing modules and plugins you won't need or don't use if that is the case remove these.
They tend to clutter the calls your web page makes on the server slowing down the loading process reducing your SEO score.
Even modules and plugins that are not in use could potentially leave clutter on your web pages so remove them if you do not need them.
For some SEO work, I only had to use 2 modules/plugins that will aid in a better experience, robots access, and loading speeds.
There are other modules and plugins I have tested these two giving me the best experience you could test out other modules or plugins if you wish.
The first plugin/module is called Aimy Sitemap it will crawl your Joomla content and index it into a sitemap.XML you later must submit to search engines.
Crawl robots will have an easier time indexing your website and you can assign priority number giving an indication to the robots the importance on your content.
The second module/plugin is called Jbetolo it does optimization of your Joomla framework for you by minifying HTML/CSS and javascript, compression and correct headers.
Resulting in faster loading speeds of all your content and clearing up some of the Joomla framework resulting in a higher SEO score.

Now to start from the top the biggest portion is located in the Global Configuration panel under System on your right-hand side you see the SEO Settings.
Preparations have been made for this portion by editing the .htaccess file, set Search Engine Friendly URLs, Use URL Rewriting and Adds Suffix to URL to YES.
Save & Close these settings now go to Extensions --> Plugins and type System - SEF plugin enable and save this plugin to finish the SEF settings.
This will rewrite your content URLs to something like you can test this by browsing the front end of your website.
Below that is the Cookie settings, the pain is too much over the gain thus I will not cover these settings furthermore the SEO score will not benefit greatly from it anyway.

Open System --> Global Configuration and the left-hand side you have Site Settings here are some site Meta to fill out, describe your website in the Meta Description.
Add your Meta Keywords you can use several words and space but close the keyword with a, to add the next Meta Keyword remember to use no more than 20.
It will look something like: your name,site name,content 1,content 2,location 1,location 2 also worth mentioning try to have at least 10 Meta Keywords.
Google has lowered the weight of scoring for Meta Keywords but it is still widely used so having them is handy either way.
Right below that is the Robots option make sure that is set to Index, Follow so Joomla does not block access to your content unless wished otherwise.

Staying in the Global Configuration panel we move on to the system there are several settings that need your attention both have a high SEO score weight.
The Cache Settings set Platform Specific Caching to YES and System Cache to ON - Progressive caching you can lower or increase the Session and Cache Time if you wish.

Moving to the next tab called Server there is HTTPS option if you have HTTPS certificate and you can get it for free with CloudFlare a CDN provider.
The CDN portion I will cover further down in this article it will have an impact on SEO so having HTTPS is a good idea and you can for free so that is even better.
Then there is one final option called Gzip Page Compression you turn this on, reducing content size for people browsing your website greatly.
Gzip has a nice weight on SEO score as well and it will reduce resource usage by browsers this will help if you run on a resource-stretched server.
Error reporting can be turned off while testing out your settings but when you are done and satisfied you can turn this off, it can be useful for finding errors if any occur.

Next up are the above-mentioned plugins, go to Components to find Jbetolo and Aimy Sitemap.
Jbetolo works out of the box for me you can just turn it on by selecting the Status to drop down menu and select Enabled.
You can tinker with the options but the out of the box settings work perfect and you will get little gain from tweaking them further.
Aimy Sitemap is also very easy to use it is a couple of clicks and a short waiting period while this module crawls your site and gather all the content.
Remember this is a crawling bot as well so will adhere to the robots.txt file you prepared earlier when setting up the server.
Just to give you a short run down if you feel overwhelmed, Crawl Website it will return data you need to select the content you want in your sitemap.
This is done by select them left-hand side of the Manage URL's menu, you can also assign priority to each item if you wish.
Make sure to select top right side a number of items displayed to all it does not remember items selected when moving to the next page if you do.
Change frequency I personally have set to daily even though that is not the case but this way I have the bots frequently visiting the XML file to read content.
When you are done with setting the above options to your liking ensure you click Write Sitemap this will generate the sitemap.xml in your site root.
Next, you can click Notify Search Engines this will ping 3 search engines that you have created a sitemap, Google, Bing, and Yandex.
The URL will be when you did not change that option: this file must be submitted to search engines under the webmaster tools.

Search Engine Webmaster Tools.

The 3 main search engines that have the largest market share have a special backend for webmasters where you can monitor and digest website details from the search engine side.
Here you can also add your sitemap what results in a better crawl rate and indexing of your website besides the robots.txt file on your server root.
Search Engines give a high score to sitemaps with the right markup even more so one that has been submitted on the webmaster tools backend.
What are the difference between the sitemap pointed out in the robots.txt and the sitemap submitted directly to a search engine is that you need to proof ownership of the domain.
There are several ways of having ownership verified a common way is uploading an HTML/XML file to the website root another one is adding a record to the DNS registrar.
Search engines give a high rating to content served through the sitemap from the webmaster tools since this is confirmed content with ownership details giving credit to the content.
It will not negate the rest of the SEO rules, you still need to serve good content and use good SEO practice overall.
Make sure to register an account so you can make use of all features and submit your sitemap to each search engine, you can submit the same sitemap to each and all search engines.

After confirming ownership you can submit your sitemap from the Aimy Sitemap module it will take up to several days for the first crawl to happen.
More time is required for statistics to be displayed such as backlinks, keyword search results and crawl statistics for each search engine.
In the meantime, there is a website I like to use with some handy SEO tool called use this to check your keywords, another SEO score checker among others.
There is a backlink maker tool there as well, that I want to highlight it will submit your website URL to various website SEO and information sites such as these are good backlinks.
The only reason I took the plunge so to speak is because I know this website has solid tools and does not recommend or uses black hat SEO tricks that will get you a penalty.

CDN, Content Delivery Network or Content Distribution Network.

Using a CDN will gain you a nice chunk of SEO score with Yslow vastly increases your page loading speed and increased security with a shared SSL.
For my website, I am using CloudFlare what offers a single site with free services with an option to buy a subscription on a monthly basis.
A CDN will store the content of your website over a cloud network of data centers and then serve the content to the end-user from the closest data center.
You will have to create an account with CloudFlare in order to use their services but the first URL will be free if you have more websites add them on another free CDN service.
Important to remember that the SSL certificate will take up to 24 hours to be issued to your site do not enable HTTPS links in Joomla and the .htaccess file.
If you already own an SSL certificate you can also use that throughout the CloudFlare CDN service make sure to check your settings.
The process of adding your website to the CloudFlare service is a click by click process the only real effort is pointing the name server to those of CloudFlare in your domain registrar.
Two name servers will be displayed that you need to add in your domain DNS registrar, most likely your host provider CloudFlare has examples of most hosting company's.

SEO Writing.

Writing in itself is an art to top it off you need to write in SEO in sort that means you need to sprinkle in keywords and your tags throughout the article you are writing.
While doing all that you need to ensure you do not overdo it, there is really no way I can show you as I am currently even as I am writing this article a student regarding the subject matter.
This will be a skill you will pick up over time experienced writers like journalist will have much easier time being a good SEO writer.
SEO writing is not going to put you on the first search rank on every keyword it will make it easier getting there especially over the long run since the quality content is king.
But at the end of the day, you are still writing for humans and not for robots the user experience itself must not be lost another key factor to consider as an SEO writer.


Getting links to your site is a process you that will take time with good content you could become a reference or your content is shared among the social webs.
Cross promotion can also serve you well and exchange links on the same content with other websites to gain backlinks,
Posting on relevant forums and websites will also help you gain backlinks but ensure that the content from websites and communities align with your website.
Gaining good high-quality backlinks will take time and you will have to keep adding good content to gain links without having to ask for it and for robots to find the links.

Final Words.

Complete this process will take some time and when you are done remember to head back to GTMetrix to check your SEO Score.
I hope this article is helpful in gaining the top search position related to your site and remember to link my article I could use the backlinks for sure!

Paul Ripmeester