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twharrell

Opinions on CPU cooling

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I'm looking at making a few upgrades to my build in the future and one of the upgrades I am considering is my CPU cooler. The debate over air vs liquid cooling has my head spinning. Some think liquid is superior, other's think the difference is negligible.

 

Right now I am running an i7 3770k at 4.5 GHz and I am using the Hyper 212 EVO as my CPU cooler. It has performed well for me but I am trhinking of getting something beefier because I'd like to keep this CPU for another couple years and figure the 212 is probably not the best for the long-term health of my CPU. Maybe I am wrong in thinking this, I don't know.

 

So, my thoughts are:

 

1) Keep the Hyper 212 EVO - is it really necessary to upgrade?

2) Go with the Noctua NH-D15S

3) Consider the Lepa Aquachanger 120. A budget AIO cooler that is getting great reviews.

 

I want to stay under 100 USD.

 

So fire away with suggestions/opinions..... and thanks in advance.

 

Todd

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212 EVO is a budget cooler. Noctua is far more superior, it beats some water coolers.  I have Noctua NH-D14, and mine 2700K @4.8GHz newer goes above 65c with FSX. I pushed it to 5.0GHz with this cooler, but i didn't saw any benefits in FSX becouse i'm GPU limited(subject to change soon  :wink:  )so i stayed at 4.8 for arround 4 years now, without issues. You will not regret going with noctua for sure

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I'm looking at making a few upgrades to my build in the future and one of the upgrades I am considering is my CPU cooler. The debate over air vs liquid cooling has my head spinning. Some think liquid is superior, other's think the difference is negligible.

 

Right now I am running an i7 3770k at 4.5 GHz and I am using the Hyper 212 EVO as my CPU cooler. It has performed well for me but I am trhinking of getting something beefier because I'd like to keep this CPU for another couple years and figure the 212 is probably not the best for the long-term health of my CPU. Maybe I am wrong in thinking this, I don't know.

 

So, my thoughts are:

 

1) Keep the Hyper 212 EVO - is it really necessary to upgrade?

2) Go with the Noctua NH-D15S

3) Consider the Lepa Aquachanger 120. A budget AIO cooler that is getting great reviews.

 

I want to stay under 100 USD.

 

So fire away with suggestions/opinions..... and thanks in advance.

 

Todd

 

 

I own the NH-D15S...

 

Fact...

 

Super quiet.

Cools great.

Enables any reasonable overclock you are likely to desire.

Can't leak.

Has no pump to wear out and become noisy.

Has no pump to fail. And will thus serve you well for many builds.

 

AIO's on the other hand...

 

We can assume leaks are rare, but they do happen. When they do happen, expect possible damage to motherboard and graphics card and hassle trying to persuade the manufacturer to compensate you.

 

Frequently come equipped with high RPM fans that are noisier than NH-D15S. Thus, somewhat superior cooling results to NH-D15 are misleading. Fit the same fans on both coolers and you will find the NH-D15 often superior and frequently matching such AIO coolers.

 

If the fan on the D15S fails, the cooler will function passively. If the fans on an AIO cooler fail, and/or the pump, expect rapid overheating and the CPU shutting down to avoid damage.

 

However... AIO coolers are often regarded as aesthetically more pleasing by many. And additionally are often an excellent choice for small form factor PC's.

 

The debate over air vs liquid cooling has my head spinning.

 

It shouldn't have your head spinning. Facts are facts. And the nice thing about facts is that they remain facts no matter what AIO or air cooling advocates would like to believe.

 

Simply look at the reviews. When you do you will find the coolers compared, both in terms of cooling and "importantly" noise.

 

Here's one to help you. The mighty Kraken X61 compared with the D15...

 

http://www.relaxedtech.com/reviews/noctua/nh-d15-versus-closed-loop-liquid-coolers/2

 

X61 a mere 4 degrees cooler than the D15! But check out the noise levels. The Kraken is 61 dBA and the D15 only 45 dBA!

 

There seems to be a big marketing push these days to edge us in the direction of AIO. My advice is to check out the reviews that compare both AIO and the Noctua and decide for yourself, based on facts, logic and your needs. Either way, AIO or air, I'm sure you'll make the right choice for you.

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I see Noctua has a new cooler which is an offset design, the NH-D15S, but it only has a single fan, whereas the NH-D15 has 2 fans. Anyone have experience with one vs the other? The offset model is $10 cheaper but has only one fan. Just curious if anyone knows if the single fan on the NH-D15S does as good of a job as the 2 fan setup on the NH-D15?

 

I read that review, Martin, just before your post popped up. Very eye-opening. And you make some good points. Thanks.

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and figure the 212 is probably not the best for the long-term health of my CPU. Maybe I am wrong in thinking this, I don't know.

 

Whether you are right or wrong depends on the temps you are experiencing.

 

What's your CPU temp under load? If it's within safe margins you don't have an issue. If it's edging up toward the top end it may contribute to degradation.

 

 


I see Noctua has a new cooler which is an offset design, the NH-D15S, but it only has a single fan, whereas the NH-D15 has 2 fans. Anyone have experience with one vs the other? The offset model is $10 cheaper but has only one fan. Just curious if anyone knows if the single fan on the NH-D15S does as good of a job as the 2 fan setup on the NH-D15?

 

 

 

Todd... I can tell you categorically, from personal experience that the single fan on the NH-D15S is not an issue. However, Noctua provide the clips for a second fan.

 

One fan or two, the velocity of the air that passes through the heat sink is the same. What two fans will do is increase static pressure slightly, but only slightly!

 

The difference between one fan and two, on the D15S is only 2 degrees, for the reason stated above.

 

I have been an advocate of the D15S for some time now on the forum. I can tell you it's an excellent choice.

 

I'm just about to play Elie Dangerous and BF4... I won't even hear the D15S when I do so. However, it will handle my 4.6 overclock with ease.

 

Apologies if I sound over the top, but clearly I'm a big fan.  

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and figure the 212 is probably not the best for the long-term health of my CPU. Maybe I am wrong in thinking this, I don't know.

 

Whether you are right or wrong depends on the temps you are experiencing.

 

What's your CPU temp under load? If it's within safe margins you don't have an issue. If it's edging up toward the top end it may contribute to degradation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todd... I can tell you categorically, from personal experience that the single fan on the NH-D15S is not an issue. However, Noctua provide the clips for a second fan.

I have been an advocate of the D15S for some time now on the forum. I can tell you it's an excellent choice.

Apologies if I sound over the top, but clearly I'm a big fan.

 

So is the Noctua... haha. Thanks for the great info, martin. You've convinced me.

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I just installed a Noctua D-15S and am very pleased and impressed with it.  My previous build had an evo 212 and was very happy with that as well, though I really didn't push it.  Ill probably look at OC'ing my new build after the first of the year.  I can say the difference in the size of the radiator between the D-15S and the evo 212 is substantial.

 

I had considered an AIO water cooler, but after researching and applying some logic I felt the AIO wasn't worth the cost and risk.  Basically they both depend upon the radiator area and the air flow across it and all that an AIO is doing is changing the place where that heat transfer takes place and buying a little extra time before things really heat up due to the thermal mass of the fluid.  The larger custom water systems have a much larger resevoir and much larger radiators typically.  I will say the D-15S is pretty ugly with the brown fan but I really don't care because I don't have an open case.  Another consideration would be the mass of the heat sink and the possible moment it could place upon your MB if the case is a tower configuration and the heat sink is hanging of to the side of the MB.  This might be a concern if your MB is relatively cheap

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Because water is considerably denser and has a higher specific heat capacity than air, it carries heat away from the component much more efficiently than air or pressurized ammonia does.  I have been running custom water loops in my sim rigs for around 5 years now, and I use an external cooling tower for the tank, radiator(s) and pump(s) to keep the bulk of the leak potential outside the case and to allow for a much larger and quieter heat dissipation mechanism.  Right now I'm running a 4790K and two GTX980Ti GPUs all heavily overclocked and sharing the same loop--the loop is 1/2" ID tubing and the heat exchanger is a pair of 360mm radiators and six low-flow fans running at low speed and almost silent.  CPU temps max out in the mid 40 deg C range, GPUs in the mid to high 30s.  I've used this rig, with some changes, for three builds now.  I have two water detection loops wound around the CPU and GPU waterblocks to detect the first sign of a leak.  I also have a flow detector connected to one of the fan headers on the motherboard...either a water leak or a low-flow indication will automatically scram the computer.

 

One other potential advantage of the water block on the CPU is not running into fit problems with a monstrous air cooler...high-perf DRAM modules can stick up too high and interfere, and case/fans can also get in the way, even with a large tower case.  The water block is compact and allows good airflow around the adjacent components.

I have used both the Noctua and Megahalem air coolers on my previous sim boxes as well as the Corsair H110i, and the fans on both air coolers and the H110 are considerably louder than the low-flow fans on the custom water cooling tower, and temps on those machines run 15-20 deg higher on air than they did on my water loop.

Sadly, most comparisons between air and water cooling consider the water AIO units like the H110 rather than a well-designed custom loop.

 

Five years in, I'm still sold on water as the best way to cool overclocked critical components.  The good air coolers work, albeit not as well.  As always, it's a tradeoff on convenience, desired performance, and expense.

 

Regards

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Because water is considerably denser and has a higher specific heat capacity than air, it carries heat away from the component much more efficiently than air or pressurized ammonia does. I have been running custom water loops in my sim rigs for around 5 years now, and I use an external cooling tower for the tank, radiator(s) and pump(s) to keep the bulk of the leak potential outside the case and to allow for a much larger and quieter heat dissipation mechanism. Right now I'm running a 4790K and two GTX980Ti GPUs all heavily overclocked and sharing the same loop--the loop is 1/2" ID tubing and the heat exchanger is a pair of 360mm radiators and six low-flow fans running at low speed and almost silent. CPU temps max out in the mid 40 deg C range, GPUs in the mid to high 30s. I've used this rig, with some changes, for three builds now. I have two water detection loops wound around the CPU and GPU waterblocks to detect the first sign of a leak. I also have a flow detector connected to one of the fan headers on the motherboard...either a water leak or a low-flow indication will automatically scram the computer.

 

One other potential advantage of the water block on the CPU is not running into fit problems with a monstrous air cooler...high-perf DRAM modules can stick up too high and interfere, and case/fans can also get in the way, even with a large tower case. The water block is compact and allows good airflow around the adjacent components.

 

I have used both the Noctua and Megahalem air coolers on my previous sim boxes as well as the Corsair H110i, and the fans on both air coolers and the H110 are considerably louder than the low-flow fans on the custom water cooling tower, and temps on those machines run 15-20 deg higher on air than they did on my water loop.

 

Sadly, most comparisons between air and water cooling consider the water AIO units like the H110 rather than a well-designed custom loop.

 

Five years in, I'm still sold on water as the best way to cool overclocked critical components. The good air coolers work, albeit not as well. As always, it's a tradeoff on convenience, desired performance, and expense.

 

Regards

 

 

Oh yes, absolutely Bob. I don't think anyone here would disagree with you. A full blown, well designed, custom loop is the ultimate in cooling. That wasn't the comparison in this thread of course. We were comparing the popular all in one closed loop systems with the best air cooling, namely the Nh-D15/D15S.

 

But yes, a full blown custom loop cools beautifully if it's well designed and can be quiet too. In addition, a custom loop can look absolutely stunning.

 

However, you say your max temps are in the 40's... well it could be argued that temps that low aren't required. Somewhat higher temps, for example 50 or 60 degrees under load, don't contribute to CPU degradation enough to be significant. Thus, we could argue that a full blown, highly expensive custom loop isn't necessary and an indulgence. And in fact, that you are over cooling your rig unnecessarily.

 

One other potential advantage of the water block on the CPU is not running into fit problems with a monstrous air cooler...high-perf DRAM modules can stick up too high and interfere, and case/fans can also get in the way, even with a large tower case. The water block is compact and allows good airflow around the adjacent components.

 

Worth mentioning though, that super huge heat sinks on RAM are purely a gimmick, not really required. Personally I've never heard of case fans getting in the way. In addition of course, we were debating the NH-D15S in this thread, which is the high compatibility version of the D15. It's offset so as to be further away from the graphics card and designed so that much taller RAM is compatible. To be honest, any RAM too tall for the D15S would be only the super tall silly stuff.

 

I can tell you that I've been running an NH-D14 on no less than three builds. All rigs very overclocked, cools great and very quiet and personally no issues with RAM. I now run the D15S, and as we say in the UK, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. At idle totally silent, under load, mid 50's in BF4 and the fans don't have to ramp up to full speed at all.

 

I have used both the Noctua and Megahalem air coolers on my previous sim boxes as well as the Corsair H110i, and the fans on both air coolers and the H110 are considerably louder than the low-flow fans on the custom water cooling tower,

 

 

 

Well I can tell you I literally can't hear the fan on the D15S. You must be referring to the NH-D14, that didn't have a PWM fan and ran at full speed.

 

 Another consideration would be the mass of the heat sink and the possible moment it could place upon your MB if the case is a tower configuration and the heat sink is hanging of to the side of the MB.  This might be a concern if your MB is relatively cheap

 

 

 

Actually no, not an issue at all. The Noctua SecuFirm 2 mounting system is superb. It's actually a spring retention system. The springs act like shock absorbers on a car. In fact, dynamic load for the D15 is actually lower than the  dynamic load Intel regard as max for Skylake.

 

The only issue I've seen regarding this is as a result of silly individuals that ship their PC'a half way across America with cooler still attached. That of course is stupidity.

 

Scythe coolers did have an issue a while back with Skylake though. This was because the Scythe mounting wasn't a spring system and was tightened well beyond Intel's recommended max. Scythe were quick to make available a new mounting system but some users were finding the CPU was pushed into the socket causing considerable damage. 

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Oh yes, absolutely Bob. I don't think anyone here would disagree with you. A full blown, well designed, custom loop is the ultimate in cooling. That wasn't the comparison in this thread of course. We were comparing the popular all in one closed loop systems with the best air cooling, namely the Nh-D15/D15S.

 

But yes, a full blown custom loop cools beautifully if it's well designed and can be quiet too. In addition, a custom loop can look absolutely stunning.

 

However, you say your max temps are in the 40's... well it could be argued that temps that low aren't required. Somewhat higher temps, for example 50 or 60 degrees under load, don't contribute to CPU degradation enough to be significant. Thus, we could argue that a full blown, highly expensive custom loop isn't necessary and an indulgence. And in fact, that you are over cooling your rig unnecessarily.

 

If I let my CPU get into the mid 60s I lose my best overclock...it runs stable without issues in the 40s though, so I don't think of it as overkill.  Plus, being able to run the CPU and both GPUs on a single loop really reduces the noise by not having the almost universally noisy GPU fans spinning up as they heat up. 

 

At any rate, no discussion of water should end with just AIO options, as they don't generally outperform the better air coolers like the Noctuas by much, if at all.  The real improvements in performance come when using the better components available in a custom loop.

 

Cheers

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ar you sure????

The AIO with 280 rads do a very good work , very close to a good customloop.

You not see any improvments in performance with 1-2c less temp.

The test a Done with AIO (280rad)vs Customloop (420 rad )with ambient 22C no difference in OC potential,

You need a water Chiller or put the rad out in the cold to gain 100-200mhz.

 

Have quite good experianced with differnt cooling systems from air to exotic cooling like Chiller , phaseChange and more.

 

Both the NH-15(S) and corsair H115I give more bung for bucks... Then a expansive customloop.

Its looks nice , but gives a minor performance gain.

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Because water is considerably denser and has a higher specific heat capacity than air, it carries heat away from the component much more efficiently than air or pressurized ammonia does.  I have been running custom water loops in my sim rigs for around 5 years now, and I use an external cooling tower for the tank, radiator(s) and pump(s) to keep the bulk of the leak potential outside the case and to allow for a much larger and quieter heat dissipation mechanism.  Right now I'm running a 4790K and two GTX980Ti GPUs all heavily overclocked and sharing the same loop--the loop is 1/2" ID tubing and the heat exchanger is a pair of 360mm radiators and six low-flow fans running at low speed and almost silent.  CPU temps max out in the mid 40 deg C range, GPUs in the mid to high 30s.  I've used this rig, with some changes, for three builds now.  I have two water detection loops wound around the CPU and GPU waterblocks to detect the first sign of a leak.  I also have a flow detector connected to one of the fan headers on the motherboard...either a water leak or a low-flow indication will automatically scram the computer.

 

One other potential advantage of the water block on the CPU is not running into fit problems with a monstrous air cooler...high-perf DRAM modules can stick up too high and interfere, and case/fans can also get in the way, even with a large tower case.  The water block is compact and allows good airflow around the adjacent components.

 

I have used both the Noctua and Megahalem air coolers on my previous sim boxes as well as the Corsair H110i, and the fans on both air coolers and the H110 are considerably louder than the low-flow fans on the custom water cooling tower, and temps on those machines run 15-20 deg higher on air than they did on my water loop.

 

Sadly, most comparisons between air and water cooling consider the water AIO units like the H110 rather than a well-designed custom loop.

 

Five years in, I'm still sold on water as the best way to cool overclocked critical components.  The good air coolers work, albeit not as well.  As always, it's a tradeoff on convenience, desired performance, and expense.

 

Regards

 

That's impressive. What's the clock speed and voltage on that 4790K?

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Hi Folks,

 

I have my i2700K running at 4.7Ghz on air with a Noctua - LOL - even I'm impressed...

:)

 

Regards,
Scott

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