CPU cooling - water vs air, overclocking etc

chinesestunna

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If not OCing I agree stock Intel coolers are well engineered for the most part, esp with haswell and low power parts
 

TeeJayHoward

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I dropped five grand on my last gaming PC. Water-cooled everything using only the best parts available. It was my college graduation present to myself. Three grand of that was the H2O setup. 100% of the water cooling has been ripped out and sold/given away. Water cooling was louder than air, more complex to fiddle around inside the PC, and although my temps were mildly better, I couldn't reach a better overclock. Current-generation air-cooling really is fantastic. If I could go back in time, I take all the money I spent on water cooling, and put it into another graphics card and the top-tier CPU instead. Which would you rather have - 4.0GHz overclocked and a GTX980, or 4GHz and a pair of GTX980s?

edit: Okay, honestly, I'd take the money and stick it into a couple of stocks that've grown since then. Or if I blew it on PC stuff, I'd get more E3 servers. My tastes have changed a lot!
 
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capn_pineapple

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If I'm 100% honest with myself, I too won't go full watercooling again as I did at the time. That said, I don't regret that I did, I had different priorities, a roof over my head and no real world responsibilities outside keeping my job.
  • Is water cooling itself interesting? Yes.
  • Is it expensive? Yes.
  • Is it effective? Yes
    • Is it needed? No.
Now all my stuff is in storage, I have a laptop when I'm at work and I'm moving place every week or so. In today's market, air cooling is efficient, cost effective and quiet, there's no reason not to use it outside e-peen.

Besides, server gear doesn't really leave much room for watercooling.
 

Entz

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Apr 25, 2013
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Canada Eh?
  • Is water cooling itself interesting? Yes.
  • Is it expensive? Yes.
  • Is it effective? Yes
    • Is it needed? No.
Pretty much. All of my desktops have been custom water-cooled for the past 10 years (CPU and more often then not a GPU or two as well), it has come leaps and bounds since I started with (black ice micros, leaky fittings, crappy res's etc). I do it because it is interesting but I am starting to think it really isn't for me anymore. Between really good air and even some of the higher end CLC sets ( Swiftech) doesn't seem to be as much of a point .

Rather put the money into my rack :D

Edit: Should add I am currently running a 3930K and a single GTX980 (hate SLI/CFX) on a mATX board in a caselabs case. 3930K at 4.2-4.4 is hot as heck but I like it :D
 

chinesestunna

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Pretty much. All of my desktops have been custom water-cooled for the past 10 years (CPU and more often then not the GPU as well), it has come leaps and bounds since I started with (black ice micros, leaky fittings, crappy res's etc). I do it because it is interesting but I am starting to think it really isn't for me anymore. Between really good air and even some of the higher end CLC sets ( Swiftech) doesn't seem to be as much of a point .

Rather put the money into my rack :D
I think we're just getting old and want stuff to just work [emoji1] but in all seriousness having gone through that journey I think is important, I definitely learned a lot and glad I did it, even though it cost half my bankroll during high school, countless hours and only netted 25 extra MHz on my Pentium 2 compared to air
 

capn_pineapple

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Agreed, it's almost a right of passage, it's the same thing for car guys, if it doesn't have some of your blood in it, it's not really yours.
Same with pirating, I used to do it a lot when I was a kid, now I just buy the license/Album/Movie because it's easier.

Back on topic though. I have a 4P Supermicro system coming over the next few months, I was considering to watercool it, instead I'm putting some decent Noctua coolers on it because they are cheaper than the WC setup and not as costly if there's a leak (HA! leaking air). I do remember a while back of someone watercooling their entire rackmount setup to a central radiator etc. All the servers had quick connects was a seriously interesting build!
 

chinesestunna

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I do remember a while back of someone watercooling their entire rackmount setup to a central radiator etc. All the servers had quick connects was a seriously interesting build!
I think IBM or another major OEM was looking at same approach with plumbing built into the racks a while back. It was super efficient but I don't think it ever went commercial. Also immersion cooling ;) Cray style
 

capn_pineapple

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Yeah, that immersion cooling in dialectric oil was seriously interesting. sure, plumbing became a nightmare ditto for cabling, but it was interesting!
 

Patrick

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I dropped five grand
Wow!

I did custom water cooling when the Intel Core i7-920 came out. I moved to the closed loop system after that. Now, Cooler Master 212 EVO's in the 2P E5 system. In 4U and other servers I use the Supermicro 4U coolers. Then smaller chassis, as small of a coolers as I can.
 
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T_Minus

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Wow!

I did custom water cooling when the Intel Core i7-920 came out. I moved to the closed loop system after that. Now, Cooler Master 212 EVO's in the 2P E5 system. In 4U and other servers I use the Supermicro 4U coolers. Then smaller chassis, as small of a coolers as I can.
I rally like the SM 4U Active coolers for the price they are keeping everything cool, and idle very quiet.
 

ATS

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I think IBM or another major OEM was looking at same approach with plumbing built into the racks a while back. It was super efficient but I don't think it ever went commercial. Also immersion cooling ;) Cray style
Actually, a lot of HPC is water cooled. It results in much higher overall efficiency. Though it does take many forms from the front door intercoolers, to Cray closed loop air/water cooling, to direct attach water cooling. Its a pretty cheap way for them to get 10%+ more performance or efficiency out of the systems. Granted, this is the same market that literally rips out over half the OS to improve efficiency(or really anything that generates interrupts or uses timers)...
 

legopc

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I only bought a custom loop because i was stupid and wanted to watercool my second hand hd4870x2. But it does look cool if im honest even though its useless in my case :p
 

Spartus

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I love water cooling. Don't regret it at all and I have nearly $1000 in watercooling equipment. It is basically dead silent even when my pair of computers is drawing 1400W. Also keeps multiple r9-290 at ~45C at full load with no noise. When I first started with it it was a real pain because of maintenance and poor planning. Now that i've gained experience from doing it for about 10 years I can go a year or 2 without maintenance (other than a top-up every ~6 months) and have quick disconnects everywhere to make maintenance and portability a breeze. $100 spent on quick disconnects was hugely worth it.

For reference its 2 computers hooked up in series to an external radiator.

Would never bother for a <125 watt component (GPU or CPU) unless other components would already require it.
 
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mackle

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I think the Bloomfield era was the golden era for 'custom' water cooling. Since then, the focus on the reduction of power consumption, the rise of all-in-one WC units and 'K's' have taken the wind out of its sails IMHO. It's far less cost effective in the consumer sphere now. Economies of scales continues to help its use in HPC.

My most serious dabble in it was a 30ft loop of 20mm tubing to a cooling unit utilising a heater core located under the house. The loop had enough thermal mass that it only had to run 15min on/15min off during summer while pushing my 920 to 4GHz. Hell of a fun project and much cheaper than forking out for a 965. Just wish the RasPi had been out back then so I could have wasted money sensoring and automating the crap out of it.

I still love reading about people's hard-core build outs. Like the guy that used a water barrel to dump heat, wired up his heat pump and employed geothermal cooling. Down the road I'd love to build out a water based heat removal infrastructure.
 

TechIsCool

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Interesting topic that I think I started by accident on the other thread. Awesome.

I love my water cooled system for the silence it gains me. Right now I am running a 2600k with a 7970. I still find that I can't get the same noise resonance from those small fans as a larger set on my radiator. If I was to do it again would I the answer is yes I would. I agree with @Spartus about only having to replace them every few years the only thing that has actually failed in my loop since I had a 6870 in the system was a single pump and that makes sense since it the only moving part.

@mackle I have always wanted to get a heat exchanger and connect the pool that is less than 75ft away from my room. It would be a always cold source to dump heat into.

@Patrick the i7-920 was a beast that required to be cooled. My brother still has one and it has a huge aluminum/copper heatsink on it and it still runs hot. I could understand why you would run a loop on it. But I also understand that you enjoy swapping parts like a chop shop so there is less incentive to cool with water due to the added complexity and time requirements every time you set up/tear down a machine.
 

T_Minus

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I love water cooling. Don't regret it at all and I have nearly $1000 in watercooling equipment. It is basically dead silent even when my pair of computers is drawing 1400W. Also keeps multiple r9-290 at ~45C at full load with no noise. When I first started with it it was a real pain because of maintenance and poor planning. Now that i've gained experience from doing it for about 10 years I can go a year or 2 without maintenance (other than a top-up every ~6 months) and have quick disconnects everywhere to make maintenance and portability a breeze. $100 spent on quick disconnects was hugely worth it.

For reference its 2 computers hooked up in series to an external radiator.

Would never bother for a <125 watt component (GPU or CPU) unless other components would already require it.
Curious to see your setup, post pics if you can :)
 

Patriot

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Multi gfx card setups benefit most from water-cooling as do more extreme cpu overclocks...
That said with FSB gone and blck overclocks being extremely small... I have not done much cpu overclocking lately.

The most I have ever spent on a waterloop was $500 and it was quite effective and frankly if it is louder than air... you are doing something drastically wrong.

This loop was ~$500 near silent and kept these chips <60c at load with 48 cores overclocked from 2ghz to 3.8ghz.... pulling 1450w from the wall.

 
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