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davidber

n00b to Watercooling

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I read the nice pinned thread.  As a person who still has a level of apprehension about working with power tools, I am on the fence.  The article stated that the all in ones are barely better than decent air cooled setups.  The difference being the weight on the motherboard.

 

So my questions are . . .

 

If the all in one's are nominally better than air cooled, how come?  I realize that this could be a ten paragraph response, but hey . . . I am trying to learn :)  I suspect it has to do with the pump, but that is just my uneducated guess.

 

How much better from a performance standpoint would a custom built solution be than an all in one?  Is this something that I would get a 2 degree change or a 15 degree change? 

 

Thanks.

 

 

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Part of the reason a custom water loop is better is simply because there's more liquid in the system, and better radiators. The more liquid in the system, the less heat a "unit" (oz, ml, l, what have you) has to hold. As a result, the overall temperature of the liquid would go down, which increases the cooling potential.

As to what degree that difference would be, I'm not sure, so I'll let some more informed individuals speak to that.

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This is a very easy question for Someone who's dealt with all of the three solutions in depth, but a difficult answer to keep concise, but I'm going to do my best to achieve that. A standard air cooler is limited by a number of factors, as are all in one water coolers and custom loops.

Air coolers are limited by factors such as how efficiently the copper moves the heat away from the CPU, how much air the fan(s) attached are able to move, and the configuration of the fins and fans together. Some coolers are better than others, like the Noctua NH-D14, which was and still is in my opinion one of the best air-cooled solutions on the market. As you said though, this solution is very heavy on the motherboard, causing a little bit of extra strain.

All in one water loops are mainly limited by the fpi (fins per inch) of the radiators, the static pressure of the fans attached, and size of the radiator. Custom loops share all of the same limitations.

Now, for the second part of your question. There isn't a set metric for the difference in performance, because not all cooling solutions perform the same within the same cooling classes. For instance, a stock heatsink that comes with an intel or AMD processor doesn't cool as well as a cooler like the Noctua NH-D14 or Cooler Master's RR-V8. Which are around the $100 range. A self contained water cooled system will cool better than a air heatsink 99% of the time.

Before reading the next paragraph, understand these figures come from a system where the ONLY variable(s) are the heatsink and ambient temperature, but these figures are given a range to help adjust for that ambient temperature difference. Also the temperatures are spoken from load on only the CPU and were recorded from CPU-Z while the system is under load.

Something like the H80i from Corsair is a great 120mm solution. Compared to the Noctua or Cooler Master solutions mentioned prior, the H80i cools on average between 3 and 7 degrees Celsius better. Lets look at the H100i, that is a dual 120mm radiator. This cooler gives you a on average around 8-14 degrees better than the prior air solutions.

A custom loop has the benefits of larger diameter tubing than a sealed loop water cooler, more liquid in the unit, and the option for larger and/or thicker radiator options, and a higher quality pump. The ultimate factor these things contribute to is a little word called FLOW. The higher the flow, the more efficiently the system will be cooled. Lets be modest and use a dual 120mm radiator set up in a simple loop. This solution will cool the system on average 17-25 degrees cooler than the air coolers listed.

A better cooling solution will also add the benefit of better headroom for more extreme overclocks if that's what you're aiming for. The bottleneck will be temperature. The better your cooling solution, the higher frequency your system can go at equivalent temperatures.

I hope this reply makes sense, and I'm sorry it's winded. Also, these are NOT 100% fool-proof and aren't set in stone. Tweaking these different solutions, changing fans, configurations and volumes of the loops can dramatically change the outcomes of this.

Thanks for reading!

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There's various reasons, and here's some things to take into consideration:

 

AIO's are very small systems, they pretty much all use propylene glycol (Antifreeze) just like cars do.  Difference being is that a car's system has much more volume of fluid and a much larger radiator and fan to cool that giant engine.  Antifreeze is NOT the best coolant out there, either.  It's just very cheap and easy to produce (but it's toxic as hell, it WILL kill your pets if they are exposed to it.)

 

Distilled water is the defacto coolant used in Watercooling.  Now, there are other coolants out there, most of them are propylene glycol based (Mayhem's and Ice Dragon are the two coolants that are not).

 

Additionally, the radiators on AIO units are much smaller (thickness wise) versus most custom radiators and have less fin density.  

 

So:  Better Coolant+More Volume+More Radiator Surface Area+Better Pump= better results.

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Erm....more coolant volume doesnt actually affect temps,it just takes longer to hit the equilibrium temp,it wont improve temps at all.

Tube bore doenst affect flow enough to alter temps.

AIO's use a water glycol mix that is inferior to water,also the pumps,plates and,more importantly,rad construction,is massively inferior to a custom water kit,Alu rads that AIO's favor are not ideal at all.

As for AIO's beating Air 99%....

 

YGwMYkJ.png

 

See the Noctua beating everything except the dual 140 rad AIO's?

 

Aircoolers require space in the case and balanced,fresh airflow to work effectively,AIO's do not,thats the only advantage of them as far as im concerned.

 

With the current gen IB/HW chips,air is even more relevant as the chip itself is the heat issue,no amount of water cooling will gain you anything until the chip has been 'fixed'

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More volume won't cool better by itself, true, but as I said, the factors regarding the custom loop all together causes a major decrease in temps over AIO's.

 

And I've always said (and known, thanks to that handy chart and others like it that you posted) that AIO's are on par with high-end air coolers.

 

I am wondering when we'll see super small chillers being MFG'd..... hmmmm.....

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More volume won't cool better by itself, true, but as I said, the factors regarding the custom loop all together causes a major decrease in temps over AIO's.

 

And I've always said (and known, thanks to that handy chart and others like it that you posted) that AIO's are on par with high-end air coolers.

 

I am wondering when we'll see super small chillers being MFG'd..... hmmmm.....

Chillers?

 

Hailea my good man!

 

300w capacity,phase cooled action.

 

They wont get much smaller due to the compressor size.

 

http://www.hailea.com/e-hailea/product1/HC-500A.htm

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395w apparently

 

Shame about the £300+ price tag however...

 

What could you effectively run off one those B? CPU and dual SLi/Crossfire?

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You could cool a full loop, with 3 GPUs and a few aquaeros will that chiller, Paul... If, you know, you want to add 46 pounds of weight to your rig and god only know how much to your electric bill with 24/7 operation.

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395w apparently

 

Shame about the £300+ price tag however...

 

What could you effectively run off one those B? CPU and dual SLi/Crossfire?

 

Yup,more if you put some rads in line.

You can get smaller capacity versions..down to 100w.

You could cool a full loop, with 3 GPUs and a few aquaeros will that chiller, Paul... If, you know, you want to add 46 pounds of weight to your rig and god only know how much to your electric bill with 24/7 operation.

It doesnt run 24/7,its around 30 secs for 5 mins of runtime.

most run it in another room but they are not massively noisy.

 

They can drop the coolant down to 4c tho,if you are a bencher then they are worth the weight in gold!

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Yup,more if you put some rads in line.

You can get smaller capacity versions..down to 100w.

It doesnt run 24/7,its around 30 secs for 5 mins of runtime.

most run it in another room but they are not massively noisy.

 

They can drop the coolant down to 4c tho,if you are a bencher then they are worth the weight in gold!

 

 

Hmmm, that's not too bad then.  I think I'll put it on the XMas wishlist then.  

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