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Why you shouldn't water cool your PC!

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Posted (edited)

Noctua NH-U12S wins. Quieter than the AIO's too!

240 AIO outperforms the 360 AIO!

 

Really interesting  how when the 120 Asetek cooler first arrived, reviews were overwhelmingly negative, but when Corsair released exactly the same cooler, suddenly the reviews became positive. 

 

 

 

Edited by martin-w

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Thanks for that fantastic heads-up, Martin. I am more or less aware that you are a Noctua----( who are my preferred manufacturers)--- aficionado, but was bidding my time to get the cooling, air or  water, for my i7-8086k based rig until I was more than 100% convinced a good Air Cooler would beat an AIO. This video is certainly an eye-opener.

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When I was a kid,water and electricity didn't mix. I'm not going to start now either! I'm a happy Noctua cooler user myself.

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Martin,

I watched that vid a couple of days ago, and agree once everything is ambient the AIO's make little sense. More expensive, noisier, prone to early pump failure, hefty radiators and they still need fans. Benefits of AIO's are at the stable end where they can better deal with temperature fluctuations.
But if you don't mind the Tower air coolers (NOCTUA) swinging from your MOBO they are able to match AIO's at high Overclocks, and readily dissipate heat where an AIO radiator may hold heat in the liquid for longer. Not too expensive either, & reliable.

Forgot to mention,  I don't mind the Brown and Tan fans, and these days you can buy prty colour coded tower covers, I think they have even made different coloured fans. (Black ones with grey anti vibration corner cushions)

I have been using a Noctua tower NH-D15 push/pull 2xNF-A15 150mm fans for five years mid 50deg peak temps @4.6Ghz i7 4770k. Even flat out 1530rpm the fan noise is barely audible.

Edited by Jethro
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Posted (edited)

This is interesting given seemingly every PC build/spec enquiry on Avsim includes several people vocally going "you MUST watercool".

I've never fully trusted water myself and find a Hyper212 is plenty sufficient for most builds giving good cooling quietly, cheaply and reliably. If a build is extreme enough to significantly benefit from bespoke water cooling, those builders aren't going to be asking on Avsim if the CPU and GPU selected is suitable!

Edited by ckyliu
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Now the other side of the argument - I'm an AIO user (Corsair H110i GT). If you're talking about general use and mild overclocks, then there's hardly anything between the big Noctuas and a good AIO cooler. However, you can find plenty of review sites which show that the Noctuas become less effective than a good AIO when you really push the overclock: https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/noctua_nh_d15s_cpu_cooler_review,8.html - 9 degrees difference in this example. Plus, in the video above he says that they mounted the radiator in the top and drew warm air from the case and exhausted it out through the radiator. He did this to get the quietest result but it's not the most efficient way to run the AIO.

7 minutes ago, Jethro said:

More expensive, noisier, prone to early pump failure, hefty radiators and they still need fans.

More expensive? - yes. Noisier? - yes, but just by a few decibells in the case of my H110i (but under load, the same or less than the NH-D15 with dual fans) and still comfortably under 40dB: https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/noctua_nh_d15s_cpu_cooler_review,9.html. Prone to early pump failure? - yes it's obviously possible, but now VERY rare with modern, high-end AIOs. Hefty radiators? - really? compared to the physical size of an NH-D15? The argument for the big Noctuas disappears completely when you're talking about building a small form factor gaming PC as they simply don't fit and the smaller alternatives are significantly out-performed by good AIOs.

Both types of cooler have their pros and cons and both have dedicated followers who are adamant that their solution is the best. I say fit what you're happiest with (as long as it's an AIO - only joking!).

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Have used a Noctua cooler on a i5-4690k o/cd to 4.3Ghz  for the last 7 years in an Antec 900/2 case forages without any issues. This vid just reinforced my predilection towards them

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Air cooling only for me... like Jude above I learned as a kid that water and electricity don't mix.  Much about water cooling is a false economy, just like the RGB lights craze going on now... at least water cooling has more purpose and usefulness.  Having said that...

30 minutes ago, vortex681 said:

Now the other side of the argument - I'm an AIO user (Corsair H110i GT). If you're talking about general use and mild overclocks, then there's hardly anything between the big Noctuas and a good AIO cooler. However, you can find plenty of review sites which show that the Noctuas become less effective than a good AIO when you really push the overclock: https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/noctua_nh_d15s_cpu_cooler_review,8.html - 9 degrees difference in this example. Plus, in the video above he says that they mounted the radiator in the top and drew warm air from the case and exhausted it out through the radiator. He did this to get the quietest result but it's not the most efficient way to run the AIO.

More expensive? - yes. Noisier? - yes, but just by a few decibells in the case of my H110i (but under load, the same or less than the NH-D15 with dual fans) and still comfortably under 40dB: https://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/noctua_nh_d15s_cpu_cooler_review,9.html. Prone to early pump failure? - yes it's obviously possible, but now VERY rare with modern, high-end AIOs. Hefty radiators? - really? compared to the physical size of an NH-D15? The argument for the big Noctuas disappears completely when you're talking about building a small form factor gaming PC as they simply don't fit and the smaller alternatives are significantly out-performed by good AIOs.

Both types of cooler have their pros and cons and both have dedicated followers who are adamant that their solution is the best. I say fit what you're happiest with (as long as it's an AIO - only joking!).

...some good points here.  Especially the part about "fit(ting) what you're happiest with". :biggrin:

Greg

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One thing about water coolers is that they pump the heat right outside the case.  My SSD's run several degrees cooler since I switched from an air cooler to a Corsair h50 on my 4790k, some 4 years ago (no leaks yet either).

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I recently rebuilt my computer with new processor, motherboard and graphic card and my choice for cooling my processor is Noctua NH-D15 with dual fans and in all my years is the best cooler ever. I have been building systems for the past 30 years and the Noctua is very quiet in fact I do not hear any fans at all and they are all running. The cooler is huge and is expensive but worth it. As you can gather I am a big fan (excuse the pun).

David

 



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Posted (edited)

This was little confusing, nothing about how they set up the cpu fancurves etc. and raw performance? 

The noctua is very very good, i did a test with different coolers with mild and agresive OC. used a 4770k. my finding was when you OC with high vcore ( load on CPU the custom water was very good and the AIO 280 ) i used the same noctua fans with same rpm on NDH15 and the NZXT 280.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/x9qqb4pzy8vm5m1/4770k-test3-1280.png?dl=0

I stop the test if cpu passed 90C , you see how bad the evo performed compared to the Noctua

Did even a test with the same 4770K type max stable OC with Air, AIO, custom water and Chiller ( RobA and Pete Dowson use that today.)  both test was done 2016.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/guewnrmgvewymyb/utdrag-till-martin.png?dl=0

Edited by westman
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First, the title of this thread is a bit disingenuous..."Why you shouldn't water cool your PC with an AIO cooler"  would be a more accurate description of the video's subject matter (though I don't agree with that characterization of the video).

My daily use PC is an overclocked 7700K that was my last-generation simming box.  While it was in simming use, the CPU was cooled by a custom loop with a Swiftek water block, two 360mm radiators (overkill, but the water cooling tower was originally configured for the CPU and two water-cooled GPUs), a D5 pump, and plumbed with 0.5 inch ID hose.  When I moved it over to replace it with my current simming build, I replaced that custom loop with an AIO--the Corsair H100i. 

I have a Noctua NH-D15 sitting in my spares box that I intended to use, but it wouldn't fit--the heat sinks on my performance memory DIMMs are too tall, and the footprint of the ginormous Noctua cooler puts it over one of the DIMM slots.  So point one...AIOs are much more flexible w/r/t component fit on the motherboard and in the case.  If you're building using mail-order parts, assuring that components will fit on that happy day when the big Newegg box arrives can be a real hassle...an AIO will give you a much better chance of success if you can't put hands on and see for yourself or rely on someone else who's already done it.

How you program the fans can make a huge difference in how effective an AIO will be.  I program mine to ramp up aggressively as soon as the coolant temp starts to rise much above idle steady-state temp (~25 deg C), so that heat is not allowed to build up, with the coolant acting as an unwanted heat reservoir. I also program the fan curve to reach max speed at a relatively low coolant temp (30 deg C).  The default Corsair profile appeared to be focused on minimum noise rather than maximum cooling, and it let the coolant get way too warm before the fans started to ramp up, at which point they're on the wrong side of the power curve as we pilots say.  I strongly suspect that if those AIOs had been programmed differently, the results would be much more favorable.

I still had to lower the overclock on the machine when I made the switch, because temps using the AIO under load were 20-30 deg C higher than the custom loop.  And w/r/t noise, the six fans on my water cooling tower run at idle regardless of load, so with my 8086K running all-out at 5.3GHz the noise from the cooling stack is still a barely-perceptible whir.  So from a best-performance and low noise perspective (my highest priorities) neither the AIO nor the air cooler measure-up.  Yup, it cost more...but OTOH, I've been using this same cooling stack for ten years now--on my last four builds, so the up-front cost for high quality components has been completely justified.

The "right" solution is going to depend on how you view the trade-offs between cost, complexity, noise, performance, need for maintenance, component longevity and risk to system components.  What's most important to me may not be what's most important to you...although if you admit you are making decisions based on the "cool factor" highlighted in this video I'm not going to hide the fact that I'm snickering at you...  😛

Regards

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Bah humbug.  My water cooling setups are always very quiet, I can't even hear the pumps over the psu.  And the nice whine of some GE90's in my sim.

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I'm in the AIO group. I've used the huge and effective aircoolers and they're very good, but very big. Mr. Scott summed it up very well. 

I very much like the clean look of the AIO coolers and appreciate having access to all my motherboard's surfaces without having to remove the aircooler. After I adjusted the fan and pump profiles, I can't really hear the cooler apparatus at all.

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5 years on one computer with AIO and 3 years on the other with AIO. Do it again in a heartbeat.

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One of my previous setups had dual overclocked Xeons (before Intel figured out how to kill that idea) with dual Noctuas. They were hanging off the motherboard, which was mounted vertically in a tower. Then I read about stressing your motherboard with all that weight. And getting to other components was a nightmare because the coolers blocked everything.

AIO for me since then. Quiet and cool.

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If you test coolers on for example 8600k run it deafault (no OC) mesure the powerdraw on the wall 110W most of the coolers have a lot of headroom the difference is almost not mesureable.

I have my 7980XE bench cpu mounted in a open testbench , did a fast test to see how high OC i can get from it with noctua D15, 280 AIO, 540 customloop , 10C chiller.

started with defalut settings and run Aida64 stresstest and mesure the powerdraw from the wall get 260W then run it with min vcore get 220W the diff to D15 and AIO ,540 2deg C.

after that i test the max stable OC with D15 4.4ghz 490W it was the max

aio 280 did slightly better 4.5ghz 4.5ghz 580W

custom water 540rad 2xD5 4.6ghz 660W

chiller 10C watertemp 4.8ghz 810W

when i bench this  cpu at 5.0ghz with 2X2080TI  2200mhz on the chiller 5C the power draw is +1800W

As most of the Flightsimmers OC there cpu.s the cooling make difference its the heat that degrade the cpu  if you run a 9900k at 85-90c deafult clock ( poor cooling) that cpu degrades faster then a 5.1ghz customloop with 65C during load.

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It begs the question why do companies that build and supply high end gaming and sim PCs use water cooling one Big one comes to mind in the US that build specialist flight sim PCs are they ripping of the custom off !!!.  

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Posted (edited)

I find it amazing how we all have very different experiences with similar (or even identical) kit, and thus very different opinions on such items.

Like Martin, I'm a huge 'FAN' (pardon the pun) of Noctua kit.  Before I ever used a Noctua CPU cooler, I tried (and failed) with no less than THREE different AIO coolers on 2 different PCs. I had both the H100 and H115i coolers from Corsair; the H100 leaked all over my system, and the pump on my H115i died!!!  Was that "unheard of" I hear you cry lol?  Not in my house.

The Noctua items that replaced both of these were both much quieter AND better at cooling my overclocked systems.

A year or so ago, purely for fun and experimentation, I went down the 'full custom water loop' road. All I can say is WOW!  My 7700k will now run at 5.2GHz if I really push it, but its totally stable at 5.0GHz.  I couldn't even get close to this with the AIO's, but then, I guess that's probably not what they were designed for.  Also, when applying a heavy overclock with the AIOs, my PC sounded like a 747 on its take off run, and I couldn't bring myself to replace all the fans for quieter, much more expensive items.

Re the Corsair AIOs, much as I'm usually very pleased with the quality of their kit, when they eventually replied to my multiple requests for help, they implied the leak must be due to "incorrect installation methods". I still buy Corsair kit, as i'm not willing to shoot myself in the foot over a little misplaced 'pride' lol.

Edited by Dougal
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Electronics and water in the same box is Witchcraft and shouldn't be allowed! 🚱

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I think if you want really good water cooling, the heated water needs to be routed through a cool can.  What's a cool can?  A container that has a coiled metal tube in it and you fill the can with ice (50-50 water and ice is the most effective mix) or dry ice and the liquid pumped through the tube gets cooled.  This will sap the heat right out of the water coming from the CPU.  Drag racers used to use these on fuel lines to prevent gasoline from vaporizing before it gets to the carburetor.  Without something like that, the water going to the CPU will be no cooler than ambient air and after the computer has been running for a while, it is likely to be above ambient air temperature.

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19 hours ago, w6kd said:

First, the title of this thread is a bit disingenuous..."Why you shouldn't water cool your PC with an AIO cooler"  would be a more accurate description of the video's subject matter (though I don't agree with that characterization of the video).

 

 

Just to mention, although you probably realised this, the title of the "thread" is simply the title of the video. Just cut and paste, not my opinion. Click bate by Linus probably. It's very clear to all that a properly designed custom loop is the way to go if you desire the best cooling and don't care about the need for maintenance or the significant cost.  

 

Quote

I have a Noctua NH-D15 sitting in my spares box that I intended to use, but it wouldn't fit--the heat sinks on my performance memory DIMMs are too tall, and the footprint of the ginormous Noctua cooler puts it over one of the DIMM slots. 

 

This is why I have said many times that you are better off with an NH-D15S, rather than an NH-D15. The "S" variant is offset so as to provide more clearance from the uppermost PCIe slot and also has one fan instead of two. One fan as opposed to two makes very little difference to cooling. It's a mere two degrees. The velocity of the air that passes through the heat sink is the same, all the extra fan does is increase static pressure slightly. I wouldn't advise anyone to buy the D15, no point for a mere two degrees. There's no issue at all, for the same reason, in removing the 140 fan on the D15 and just leaving the centrally mounted 150 fan in place. Also true of course that tall heat sinks are a gimmick, and it's debatable if really required. 64mm is clearance is single fan mode for D15, and 65mm for D15S. 

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, vc10man said:

Thanks for that fantastic heads-up, Martin. I am more or less aware that you are a Noctua----( who are my preferred manufacturers)--- aficionado, but was bidding my time to get the cooling, air or  water, for my i7-8086k based rig until I was more than 100% convinced a good Air Cooler would beat an AIO. This video is certainly an eye-opener.

 

Worth mentioning that the new generation NH-U12A is matching the performance of the NH-D15. To achieve D15 performance with just a single tower cooler with 120 fans, with a 220 watt heat load, is quite remarkable. 

https://noctua.at/en/products/cpu-cooler-retail/nh-u12a

£89.99 at Scan.

https://www.scan.co.uk/products/noctua-nh-u12a-asymmetric-single-tower-cpu-cooler-7-heatpipes-2x-120mm-nf-a12x25-pwm-fans-al-nickel

 

Quote

The NH-U12 is the fifth-generation of this design. The primary upgrade is the switch to Noctua’s own NF-A12x12 120mm premium fans that have been five years in the making and have an extremely tight clearance between the blade tip and frame. The NH-U12 uses two of them in a push-pull configuration, includes seven heat pipes, and has 37 percent more surface area compared to the NH-U12S. A live demo at the Computex 2018 booth showed the new cooler running next to the flagship NH-D15 and achieving performance within 1°C of it at 220W load. Noctua promises excellent PCIe and RAM compatibility with this cooler.

 

However... there is a new D15 in development that blows them all away. Not sure how long till it's available. It has more heat pipes and the next gen Noctua fans. 

 

Edited by martin-w

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22 hours ago, vortex681 said:

 Prone to early pump failure? - yes it's obviously possible, but now VERY rare with modern, high-end AIOs.

 

Really! "very rare" I guess it would make sense that pump design has improved over the years, and that they are now more reliable. However, that is purely speculation on our part. We have no definitive evidence of that because manufactures don't release any data in regard to failure rate. Both in terms of leaks and pump failure. There is certainly still an abundance of reports of failing pumps. Who knows, in principle I would agree, but to definitively state "VERY" rare without the evidence to back it up might be a bad idea. 

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21 hours ago, lzamm said:

One thing about water coolers is that they pump the heat right outside the case.  My SSD's run several degrees cooler since I switched from an air cooler to a Corsair h50 on my 4790k, some 4 years ago (no leaks yet either).

 

That depends how you configure it. If configured to exhaust, rad is ingesting warm enclosure air so CPU is warmer. If configured to ingest outside air, CPU is cooler but the warm rad air is entering case. 

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