CPU cooling - water vs air, overclocking etc

Keljian

Active Member
Sep 9, 2015
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Melbourne Australia
Having done the full on water cooling gig, the cost vs benefit is really not there.

You end up :
-paying $500-1000 in water cooling gear
-drawing more power
-risking the chance of failure (of pumps)
-needing to do maintenance on a regular timeline
-risking equipment (eg graphics cards) as you replace coolers for blocks
- gaining 5% overclocks over air cooling
 

badskater

Automation Architect
May 8, 2013
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Canada
Having done the full on water cooling gig, the cost vs benefit is really not there.

You end up :
-paying $500-1000 in water cooling gear
-drawing more power
-risking the chance of failure (of pumps)
-needing to do maintenance on a regular timeline
-risking equipment (eg graphics cards) as you replace coolers for blocks
- gaining 5% overclocks over air cooling
I completely agree with you there, i just do it simply for my pleasure. I want a good looking PC, and find that watercooling (especially with hardline tubing) looks so good compared to air cooling. It's more that than the 5% for me for watercool my PCs.
 

T_Minus

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Feb 15, 2015
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I completely agree with you there, i just do it simply for my pleasure. I want a good looking PC, and find that watercooling (especially with hardline tubing) looks so good compared to air cooling. It's more that than the 5% for me for watercool my PCs.
I understand doing it as a hobby / you want to... but I don't get it for the "Looks". I mean, do you stare at your computer in enjoyment? Mine's tucked away as far as possible from me under a desk/table out of site/sound, and I full enjoy that :)
 

badskater

Automation Architect
May 8, 2013
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Canada
I understand doing it as a hobby / you want to... but I don't get it for the "Looks". I mean, do you stare at your computer in enjoyment? Mine's tucked away as far as possible from me under a desk/table out of site/sound, and I full enjoy that :)
My case is a bit too big to be tucked away... So, i see it a lot. Else, i wouldn't care.
 

Stereodude

Active Member
Feb 21, 2016
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USA
Unless you're going full DIY water cooling or a high end AIO water cooler, you end up with more noise and inferior performance to a good high end HSF, and it probably costs more.
 

DrunkenLoliOni

New Member
Feb 19, 2016
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I'm wondering what constitutes "high end" for an AIO/closed loop cooler because I've used and know people who have used coolers like the corsair H50 to great effect. Not only was it considerably quieter, but the cooling provided was also significantly better than an air cooler.

Air cooling is certainly cheaper than water, and depending on the cooler and AIO/closed loop system can be a little bit easier to install/implement. However, at a given price point water will always give better cooling performance.
 

Stereodude

Active Member
Feb 21, 2016
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I'm wondering what constitutes "high end" for an AIO/closed loop cooler because I've used and know people who have used coolers like the corsair H50 to great effect. Not only was it considerably quieter, but the cooling provided was also significantly better than an air cooler.
The H50i is not high end. The H100i is "high end".

Air cooling is certainly cheaper than water, and depending on the cooler and AIO/closed loop system can be a little bit easier to install/implement. However, at a given price point water will always give better cooling performance.
That's quite the contradictory statement. You admit air cooling is cheaper than water, but yet still believe at the same price water is better. How's that going to work?

This pretty much says it all: Corsair Hydro H80i GT / H100i GTX review: sexy watercoolers - Test results: Cooling at maximum fan speed | Hardware.Info United States

Something like a Corsair H80i GT can best a Noctua NH-D15 by all of 1.5C and it comes at the cost of an extra 14dB of noise. Sign me up!!! ;) The H75 is an inferior cooler to the NH-D15 and is still noisier. Yup, watercooling sure is king! :rolleyes:
 
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Patrick

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Dec 21, 2010
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I stopped watercooling, but then again, I also stopped overclocking. Such is life.
 
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DrunkenLoliOni

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Feb 19, 2016
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That's quite the contradictory statement. You admit air cooling is cheaper than water, but yet still believe at the same price water is better. How's that going to work?
Based on the fact that water has a greater capacity for removing heat from a system. Hence why any system in the world that produces a large amount of waste heat uses water to cool or as a transfer medium. For example, nuclear (other than also being a neutron moderator inside the reactor), other power sources like coal, and automotive applications.

Furthermore, something being cheaper doesn't mean that it is better unless you're only looking at it from a cost perspective.

This pretty much says it all: Corsair Hydro H80i GT / H100i GTX review: sexy watercoolers - Test results: Cooling at maximum fan speed | Hardware.Info United States

Something like a Corsair H80i GT can best a Noctua NH-D15 by all of 1.5C and it comes at the cost of an extra 14dB of noise. Sign me up!!! ;) The H75 is an inferior cooler to the NH-D15 and is still noisier. Yup, watercooling sure is king! :rolleyes:
It also says that most water coolers perform better (i.e. Better cooling, which has nothing to do with noise) than all but the highest end air coolers. Those air coolers are not at the top of the performance list either.

The H80i GT performs better at cooling than the noctua, in a smaller package, at the same price, but at the cost of some increased noise (at max speed). That article even shows all of that. You're right, water cooling is king!

There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of cooling, it just depends on what you are looking for in your particular application. If we can only pick from that list and you are looking merely for the quietest cooler (at full speed), and you have a case that is large enough and a mounting solution robust enough then one of those air coolers might be what you want. But you're looking for the best cooling performance in a smaller package, a water cooler will beat the air coolers any time.
 

T_Minus

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Feb 15, 2015
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The H50i is not high end. The H100i is "high end".


That's quite the contradictory statement. You admit air cooling is cheaper than water, but yet still believe at the same price water is better. How's that going to work?

This pretty much says it all: Corsair Hydro H80i GT / H100i GTX review: sexy watercoolers - Test results: Cooling at maximum fan speed | Hardware.Info United States

Something like a Corsair H80i GT can best a Noctua NH-D15 by all of 1.5C and it comes at the cost of an extra 14dB of noise. Sign me up!!! ;) The H75 is an inferior cooler to the NH-D15 and is still noisier. Yup, watercooling sure is king! :rolleyes:
Pretty much this.

I ran an H100i but it was loud, I had to spend more $$ on nice fans, and it cooled great but I had 0 reason to over clock with the high-end CPU I was running.

The only reason I see to run something like an H60 or H80 is so that air flow can be configured to flow through your case if for some reason your CPU Air cooler was blowing air UP or DOWN instead of front to back, in which case the H60 or 80 mounted on the rear blowing air out may be a good option.

I've seen some builds where the air flow on the CPU is blowing UP but all other fans are blowing front to back... IMHO, all fans shoudl blow front to back or back to front depending on setup, so that PCIE slots, M2, etc, are cooled properly... swirling air a fast way to kill cooling efficiecnty.

Unless you're over heating your CPU it doesn't really matter if it's 5*C cooler or not, the heat is still generated and dissipated in the same general area around your case. The whole "My Cpu must be as cool as possible to survive" doesn't really make sense look at how hot they run in datacenters/servers vs. home systems already.
 

DrunkenLoliOni

New Member
Feb 19, 2016
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Pretty much this.

I ran an H100i but it was loud, I had to spend more $$ on nice fans, and it cooled great but I had 0 reason to over clock with the high-end CPU I was running.

The only reason I see to run something like an H60 or H80 is so that air flow can be configured to flow through your case if for some reason your CPU Air cooler was blowing air UP or DOWN instead of front to back, in which case the H60 or 80 mounted on the rear blowing air out may be a good option.

I've seen some builds where the air flow on the CPU is blowing UP but all other fans are blowing front to back... IMHO, all fans shoudl blow front to back or back to front depending on setup, so that PCIE slots, M2, etc, are cooled properly... swirling air a fast way to kill cooling efficiecnty.

Unless you're over heating your CPU it doesn't really matter if it's 5*C cooler or not, the heat is still generated and dissipated in the same general area around your case. The whole "My Cpu must be as cool as possible to survive" doesn't really make sense look at how hot they run in datacenters/servers vs. home systems already.
Yes, well use cases are completely different from performance capacity, which I did briefly mention before. If you don't need the maximum amount of cooling possible then you might not need water cooling.

I've used it to great effect to make a server virtually silent so that I could sleep in the same room with it.
 

Patriot

Moderator
Apr 18, 2011
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I have gone both routes.... If I can't overclock it... just get a giant heatpipe tower.
I dropped this on my last xeon desktop...
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0154AXB4C/?tag=extension-kb-20

I do still like watercooling, its just soo much work for a custom loop and my time is precious.
That said, I get way more than 5% more overclock... air limited me to 2.8ghz on the quad opty setup... I got to 3.8ghz on water.
 

Davewolfs

Active Member
Aug 6, 2015
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Watercooling is a $500+ investment. My Noctuas are pretty damn quiet along with my F51. The setup was also cheap.

I just don't see the point of water at least if you are not doing crazy overclocks which I am not (2xE5-2670).
 

Quasduco

Active Member
Nov 16, 2015
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Yeah, I just went through the choice of what to use, an AIO water setup, or air, and for price vs. performance, this $45 cooler won - CRYORIG | H5 ULTIMATE. I decided that unless I did a custom water setup, performance was not all that much better than the H5, and cost a lot more, also losing that pump would SUCK and possibly kill my rig.