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Thread: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    I've never gone full custom loop but I've had a corsair h100 with upgraded fans in the past and I've always found large heat sinks to perform similarly and run quieter.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    The difference between air and custom water becomes more noticeable the higher wattage you have to deal with. X299 with high core count CPUs is in essence uncool-able with air after a certain point when overclocking. High end SLI setups are also very problematic on air, especially with pascal where temperatures affects your max overclocks A LOT.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    the only reason to go for an AIO over a big air cooler is if your case docent allow for a big tower cooler. AIO's generally only perform slightly better then air coolers (cupple of degrees) but you have all the risks of having water in your pc and more points of failure. if you want to go for water do a custom loop you can buy then in kit form and have better performance and when set up well can be very quiet

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Watercooling (including AIO) allows you to remove the heat from the local of the CPU. It can then be exhausted immediately from the case. This should allow the rest of the internals to be kept cooler.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam__ View Post
    Watercooling (including AIO) allows you to remove the heat from the local of the CPU. It can then be exhausted immediately from the case. This should allow the rest of the internals to be kept cooler.
    Except you also lose air flow across the motherboard because the CPU fan is moved further away and the radiator is blocking one of the case vents.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaves View Post
    Except you also lose air flow across the motherboard because the CPU fan is moved further away and the radiator is blocking one of the case vents.
    Indeed. I made the assumption of sufficient airflow from other sources.

    I wouldn't say the radiator is fully blocking a vent though, as the fan will still be pulling air through it.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Most CPU coolers won't do much for the motherboard, the tower style coolers that give the best CPU cooling keep the airflow away from the VRM's and RAM

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    I guess the only CPU coolers that would push air directly over the VRMs and RAM would be an intel stock type cooler.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Does anyone think that case size changes the argument? I've got an Antec P50 MicroATX case.

    I'm going to be changing to Coffee Lake soon and was thinking of whether to water cool or not? Not going to get the K editions, so stock speed is most likely.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Quote Originally Posted by cjb110 View Post
    Does anyone think that case size changes the argument?
    Not so much, no.... it depends more on the airflow and radiator/fan support of the individual case.
    Also helps if you're handy with a Dremelâ„¢!!

    Case size does make some things easier, which is where an AIO and a small case come into their own... but there are often ways around things, depending on how much effort you want to put in.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    High end air and water coolers will generally perform within a handful of degrees of each other, with water coolers generally leading the pack. So unless you're intent on putting your CPU through the ringer with high voltage overclocking, a good air cooler will do the job just as well.

    What you think looks better is subjective and that's entirely up to you. That said, if you do a silly expensive custom loop, they do look awesome. AiO's are pretty mainstream and a bit meh at this point, IMHO. Air coolers come in a large variety of styles.

    Reliability and servicing wise, air coolers win out because they're simpler and have less moving parts (pump failure isn't unheard of for AiO's). Fans fail too, of course, which affects air coolers as well, but they're easy to replace. Both types will have to have its fin stack/radiator dusted once or twice a year.

    Acoustically, air coolers also win out, because again, less moving parts, water pumps are basically tiny moving fans that push water instead of air. Pump noise isn't as bad as it used to be, but it's still there, and of course the noise of the water being pushed through the tubing and whatnot is there too. One big fan gently pushing air through a dense fin stack is the best solution, noise wise. Depending on how noise averse you are, that can be a factor.

    Personally I really like Noctua's NH-U coolers, the NH-U14S is a beast of a cooler that's also one of the most quiet coolers around. The NH-D15 and NH-D15S is a dual fin stack monster, really strong performer, stays within a degree or so of even good 240mm water coolers, but the extra outlay and noise isn't worth it to me.
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    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Acoustically, air coolers also win out, because again, less moving parts,
    Potentially.
    However, the more airflows you have going in and pushing out of the case, combined with internal airflows bouncing around such as with some air-cooled heatsinks, the more resonance you can create, which is when an air case gets noisy.

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    and of course the noise of the water being pushed through the tubing and whatnot is there too.
    Technically correct, but you shouldn't be hearing it - If you can hear the 'water' moving, you have air in your system!

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    One big fan gently pushing air through a dense fin stack is the best solution, noise wise.
    Nitpicking now, but often the quietest heatsinks and radiators don't have that many Fins Per Inch, because that allows better, more effective airflow for cooling... they're just made to higher standards, so cost more as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Personally I really like Noctua's NH-U coolers, the NH-U14S is a beast of a cooler that's also one of the most quiet coolers around.
    Yup - Noctua are a very solid and reasonably priced brand, especially for air coolers.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Quote Originally Posted by aidanjt View Post
    Acoustically, air coolers also win out, because again, less moving parts, water pumps are basically tiny moving fans that push water instead of air. Pump noise isn't as bad as it used to be, but it's still there, and of course the noise of the water being pushed through the tubing and whatnot is there too. One big fan gently pushing air through a dense fin stack is the best solution, noise wise. Depending on how noise averse you are, that can be a factor.
    There are some manufacturers who've really got pump noise down pat, like fractal designs. Equally quiet as a NH-D15S at idle, and just about noticeably quieter under load! ~£40 more expensive admittedly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    Technically correct, but you shouldn't be hearing it - If you can hear the 'water' moving, you have air in your system!
    Eh, turbulent flows are inherently noisy. Get a big enough pressure fluctuation on the pipe walls and it'll make its way through to the air, and that's without getting into turbulence ingested into the pump. Laminar flows make noise too, of course, but I've never looked into why so can't bring any examples of the mechanisms to mind

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    Quote Originally Posted by Xlucine View Post
    Eh, turbulent flows are inherently noisy.
    But again, shouldn't be so noisy that you'd really hear it in your loop... unless you have air in the system, or are playing games with your ear up against the cooling block!!

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    I've considered water several times when embarking on a new build, but have always ended up with an air cooler. This time though, with an X299 build, I ended up with a Fractal Design Celsius S36. It's only a lowly AIO of course, so I didn't have the very greatest expectations, but it really is a superb performer. After fiddling a little with fan curves I've only ever heard it working during stress testing and at 4.8GHz I've never seen my 7820X measuring above 64C. It sort of makes me regret not having opted for water before now, but then again it's really only in the last couple of years that AIOs have truly come into their own and I'm not yet ready to bother with a custom loop.

    Anyway, as far as I'm concerned AIOs are now finally so good, and also so dependable, that they're preferable to the good old air cooler. They're also easy to mount, present no problem for RAM modules and are only very moderately more expensive than the better air coolers, so for a HEDT build they're really a no-brainer. For a more moderate build they're less of an obvious choice though.

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    Re: Water / Air Cooling of the CPU

    I think one generally understated benefit to an AIO cooler compared to a big Air cooler is it's much easier to fit, especially in a smaller case.

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