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Thread: Air Cooling V Watercooling

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    Air Cooling V Watercooling

    What benefits are there from using water cooling as opposed to air cooling a CPU etc? Are the temps much better with water cooling? looking at some review sites some heatsinks / fans give really good cooling these days!

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    I'm no expert, but in simple terms a watercooling system can remove much more heat (it's all down to the physics of heat transfer, very dull). That said, there's limits to what watercooling can do (based on ambient temperatures etc.) and in normal usage you probably wouldn't see much benefit against air cooling except in noise (WC uses less, and larger, fans, generally - so less fan noise). The benefits really kick in if you start overclocking: your components will generate more heat the harder you push them, and water cooling can dissipate that extra heat a lot better than air cooling.
    Last edited by scaryjim; 31-03-2009 at 12:10 PM. Reason: typos, as usual

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    It depends on what you intend to do and your budget.

    Watercooling can give lower temps and noise, but is expensive and labour intensive to do right.

    Air cooling is much cheaper and nowadays more than capable of cooling even the hottest CPU's on the market quietly.

    Personally I wouldn't consider watercooling until I'd run out of actual hardware to spend the money on.

    What are you planning to watercool, what's your budget, what case do you have, are you planning a large overclock? These all play a factor in deciding, I'm sure with more details people will be throwing suggestions at you.

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckskull View Post
    It depends on what you intend to do and your budget.

    Watercooling can give lower temps and noise, but is expensive and labour intensive to do right.
    I can't agree with this strongly enough. If you want to WC your entire PC you are looking at a minimum spend of £100, and I would imagine a minimum of 2 - 3 hours setting everything up. You'd need to be really sure that that was what you wanted to do...

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    I can't agree with this strongly enough. If you want to WC your entire PC you are looking at a minimum spend of £200+...
    Fixed

    Better off with air cooling if it's any lower unless you manage to get all the top parts at good prices.

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    A good air cooler will do the job admirably these days, and the choice is bewildering. See what other people are actually using & what results they're getting, + reviews to make an informed choice.
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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    Quote Originally Posted by moogle View Post
    Fixed

    Better off with air cooling if it's any lower unless you manage to get all the top parts at good prices.
    Fair enough: like I said, I'm not the expert

    What does the extra £100 buy you? As far as I can see I could get a CPU block, a northbridge block, a reasonable rad and a res / pump combo plus fittings / tubes for about £100... (assuming I'm watercooling without discrete graphics, for now )

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    Water cooling is very expensive to do right.

    Radiator £60 - £80
    Pump £60
    CPU water block £50
    GPU water block £60 - £100
    Reservoir £20 -£30
    Fans £5 - £10 each
    Fittings + pipe + coolant etc. £20- £30

    BUT

    when you have done it right it is very rewarding.

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    Yup, the difference between doing water cooling on the cheap and doing it properly is quite a lot.

    In some cases I have seen, cheap water cooling was giving no better results then the (much cheaper) air cooling it replaced.
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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    I agree
    If you only have a small budget then get good air cooling as opposed to poor water cooling.
    If you had a TRUE and a good fan(s) you would get better temperatures than an 'all in one water setup'.
    Cheap water cooling is false economy.

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    Assuming all new parts, spending anything less than £150 (ideally £200+) on a water cooling setup is a waste of time. You simply won't be getting high enough quality parts to make it worthwhile. Water cooling a PC is for enthusiasts (ie. Enjoy it a lot and have the time to dedicate to it) or those with money to spare. Bang for buck, water cooling is never worth it unless you have specific needs (ie. noise).

    Every PC I've built for myself the past 6+ years has been water cooled and I would never go back to air. I simply can't stand the noise from an overclocked, high spec system that air cooling produces. Even my HTPC is water cooled but then it's also gaming spec. A top end air solution will never compare to a top water (price aside) though. I have yet to see an air cooled GFX solution for a top end, current generation card that could compete with a full face water block.

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    I've cast a very brief eye over watercooling now and then, but purely out of geeky interest.
    I've OC'd my processor to an acceptable level without compromising the low noise levels of my PC and I've done it a lot cheaper than it would cost for watercooling.
    I'd love to try it out one day but until I have a LOT of spare money, I won't be.
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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    I agree with everything above, anything less than a £200 WC setup can equalled in performance by a £40 air cooler. And you have to be overclocking quite heavily to see much benefit anyway. The noise benefit is debatable, pumps and fans still make easily audible noise.

    On the other hand it is a fun project to have a go at (nerve wracking the first time you fill it!) and it does provide a good deal of e-peen.
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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    Saw a review a couple of days back with a water cooled graphics card versus an air-cooled and the air-cooled achieved the higher overclock - obviously a better chip.

    As said previously, you're probably better off hurling everything you can at hardware until watercooling actually becomes necessary.

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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    I did it and I haven't regretted it - less noise, less heat in the case (my rad is external) and substantial drops in temps. That said, I did it right and no, it isn't cheap but it's quite a lot of fun
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    Re: Air Cooling V Watercooling

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    Fair enough: like I said, I'm not the expert

    What does the extra £100 buy you? As far as I can see I could get a CPU block, a northbridge block, a reasonable rad and a res / pump combo plus fittings / tubes for about £100... (assuming I'm watercooling without discrete graphics, for now )
    I know I know

    You mentioned cooling the entire PC but just cooling the CPU with a decent pump/rad/block setup is around £180~ if you plan on using a T-line.

    Which setup did you look at for £100

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