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Is water cooling really that important?

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August 14, 2013 9:13:57 AM

I always thought there would be a huge difference between closed loop water cooling and air coolers but recently ive been reading and everyone seems to disagree. Is it true that air coolers run quiter and even in some cases preform better? I was looking at the H100i or the H110. Can anything perform on par with quiter noise and better overclockability? I was really looking forward to the water cooling since it looks so much nicer and cooler :p  then big old huge air coolers that look really ugly. Thoughts?

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a b K Overclocking
August 14, 2013 9:20:07 AM

An air cooler usually has only one moving part, the fan. Sometimes two.
A watercooler has 2 or more. Pump and fan(s) for the radiator.

An air cooler cannot develop a leak.

Seeing as the tested and demonstrated difference is often quite small, many, many people (like myself) do not want the hassle and potential fail of a liquid cooler.
Why introduce cost and complexity for no real gain?
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August 14, 2013 9:25:58 AM

USAFRet said:
An air cooler usually has only one moving part, the fan. Sometimes two.
A watercooler has 2 or more. Pump and fan(s) for the radiator.

An air cooler cannot develop a leak.

Seeing as the tested and demonstrated difference is often quite small, many, many people (like myself) do not want the hassle and potential fail of a liquid cooler.
Why introduce cost and complexity for no real gain?
So what air cooler would you recommend over the H100i that has the same overclocability and not super ugly haha

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a b K Overclocking
August 14, 2013 9:29:11 AM

UnexceptionalJew said:
I always thought there would be a huge difference between closed loop water cooling and air coolers but recently ive been reading and everyone seems to disagree. Is it true that air coolers run quiter and even in some cases preform better? I was looking at the H100i or the H110. Can anything perform on par with quiter noise and better overclockability? I was really looking forward to the water cooling since it looks so much nicer and cooler :p  then big old huge air coolers that look really ugly. Thoughts?


There's not a very large spread between a good air cooler and a crummy closed loop liquid cooler. However, there is a pretty large spread between a good air cooler and a really good custom liquid cooler.

The largest advantage that water cooling has is that water is very efficient at storing heat, and radiators are very efficient at removing heat. Unlike heatsinks which transport heat from a smooth contact plate on one side to metal rods on the other, radiators transport heat from the water pipes on the inside to the metal fins on the outside. This results in radiators heating up fairly uniformly, which results in significantly less airflow being needed to remove the same amount of heat, which in turn allows for slower and quieter fans to be used.
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August 14, 2013 9:30:47 AM

Pinhedd said:
UnexceptionalJew said:
I always thought there would be a huge difference between closed loop water cooling and air coolers but recently ive been reading and everyone seems to disagree. Is it true that air coolers run quiter and even in some cases preform better? I was looking at the H100i or the H110. Can anything perform on par with quiter noise and better overclockability? I was really looking forward to the water cooling since it looks so much nicer and cooler :p  then big old huge air coolers that look really ugly. Thoughts?


There's not a very large spread between a good air cooler and a crummy closed loop liquid cooler. However, there is a pretty large spread between a good air cooler and a really good custom liquid cooler.

The largest advantage that water cooling has is that water is very efficient at storing heat, and radiators are very efficient at removing heat. Unlike heatsinks which transport heat from a smooth contact plate on one side to metal rods on the other, radiators transport heat from the water pipes on the inside to the metal fins on the outside. This results in radiators heating up fairly uniformly, which results in significantly less airflow being needed to remove the same amount of heat, which in turn allows for slower and quieter fans to be used.
So are you saying I should go for a H100i or H110 like I thought?

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a b K Overclocking
August 14, 2013 9:35:36 AM

UnexceptionalJew said:
Pinhedd said:
UnexceptionalJew said:
I always thought there would be a huge difference between closed loop water cooling and air coolers but recently ive been reading and everyone seems to disagree. Is it true that air coolers run quiter and even in some cases preform better? I was looking at the H100i or the H110. Can anything perform on par with quiter noise and better overclockability? I was really looking forward to the water cooling since it looks so much nicer and cooler :p  then big old huge air coolers that look really ugly. Thoughts?


There's not a very large spread between a good air cooler and a crummy closed loop liquid cooler. However, there is a pretty large spread between a good air cooler and a really good custom liquid cooler.

The largest advantage that water cooling has is that water is very efficient at storing heat, and radiators are very efficient at removing heat. Unlike heatsinks which transport heat from a smooth contact plate on one side to metal rods on the other, radiators transport heat from the water pipes on the inside to the metal fins on the outside. This results in radiators heating up fairly uniformly, which results in significantly less airflow being needed to remove the same amount of heat, which in turn allows for slower and quieter fans to be used.
So are you saying I should go for a H100i or H110 like I thought?



The H100i and H110 aren't half bad. I had an H100 (not the i version) which I replaced with a custom cooling solution using mostly Swiftech parts.
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August 14, 2013 9:38:56 AM

Pinhedd said:
UnexceptionalJew said:
Pinhedd said:
UnexceptionalJew said:
I always thought there would be a huge difference between closed loop water cooling and air coolers but recently ive been reading and everyone seems to disagree. Is it true that air coolers run quiter and even in some cases preform better? I was looking at the H100i or the H110. Can anything perform on par with quiter noise and better overclockability? I was really looking forward to the water cooling since it looks so much nicer and cooler :p  then big old huge air coolers that look really ugly. Thoughts?


There's not a very large spread between a good air cooler and a crummy closed loop liquid cooler. However, there is a pretty large spread between a good air cooler and a really good custom liquid cooler.

The largest advantage that water cooling has is that water is very efficient at storing heat, and radiators are very efficient at removing heat. Unlike heatsinks which transport heat from a smooth contact plate on one side to metal rods on the other, radiators transport heat from the water pipes on the inside to the metal fins on the outside. This results in radiators heating up fairly uniformly, which results in significantly less airflow being needed to remove the same amount of heat, which in turn allows for slower and quieter fans to be used.
So are you saying I should go for a H100i or H110 like I thought?



The H100i and H110 aren't half bad. I had an H100 (not the i version) which I replaced with a custom cooling solution using mostly Swiftech parts.
Did you see a huge difference?

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a b K Overclocking
August 14, 2013 9:49:51 AM

UnexceptionalJew said:
Pinhedd said:
UnexceptionalJew said:
Pinhedd said:
UnexceptionalJew said:
I always thought there would be a huge difference between closed loop water cooling and air coolers but recently ive been reading and everyone seems to disagree. Is it true that air coolers run quiter and even in some cases preform better? I was looking at the H100i or the H110. Can anything perform on par with quiter noise and better overclockability? I was really looking forward to the water cooling since it looks so much nicer and cooler :p  then big old huge air coolers that look really ugly. Thoughts?


There's not a very large spread between a good air cooler and a crummy closed loop liquid cooler. However, there is a pretty large spread between a good air cooler and a really good custom liquid cooler.

The largest advantage that water cooling has is that water is very efficient at storing heat, and radiators are very efficient at removing heat. Unlike heatsinks which transport heat from a smooth contact plate on one side to metal rods on the other, radiators transport heat from the water pipes on the inside to the metal fins on the outside. This results in radiators heating up fairly uniformly, which results in significantly less airflow being needed to remove the same amount of heat, which in turn allows for slower and quieter fans to be used.
So are you saying I should go for a H100i or H110 like I thought?



The H100i and H110 aren't half bad. I had an H100 (not the i version) which I replaced with a custom cooling solution using mostly Swiftech parts.
Did you see a huge difference?



Huge difference. Granted my CPU dumps out over 230 watts under IBT loads.
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a b K Overclocking
August 14, 2013 10:04:30 AM

I posted a link above that compares just about every water cooler out there. Take a look a judge for yourself rather than people I don't think water cooling add's much, you can see hard numbers. H100i at max speed beats any cooler out there on a OC'd i7.
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a b K Overclocking
August 14, 2013 12:04:36 PM

Yea, and H110i and the H100i are a AIO cooling solution, they sucks, and yet they are still better, than the best air units out there!
A good coustom unit is not going to be cheap to design and build, but the results are so good, that once that first investment has been made, and have had the opportunity to experienced the results for yourself, going back to air cooling, is not something that would ever be considered.
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a c 331 K Overclocking
August 14, 2013 2:11:35 PM

To add-

There is a substantial difference in closed loop (liquid) coolers and full watercooling loops and their performance capabilities and expectations.
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August 15, 2013 8:38:39 AM

High end air coolers are often heavy, some weigh almost 1kg which adds strain to the motherboard.
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August 15, 2013 8:51:02 AM

So it seems like the general consensus is that I should go for water cooling? I prefer that anyway since I doubt it will leak (very rare) and I would get better cooling performance. Plus why not it fits in my budget :)  Now the question is...H100i or H110? Is there a noticable difference?
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Best solution

a b K Overclocking
August 15, 2013 9:01:58 AM

UnexceptionalJew said:
So it seems like the general consensus is that I should go for water cooling? I prefer that anyway since I doubt it will leak (very rare) and I would get better cooling performance. Plus why not it fits in my budget :)  Now the question is...H100i or H110? Is there a noticable difference?


The 110 is 2x140mm fan/rad space needed, the 100i is 2x120mm and has the link software. 2x120mm fan slots for the thing is more common in a lot of cases than 2x140mm, so depending on your case, you may only be able to use the 100i and not even fit the 110.

The link software is pretty nice as it lets you see the pump and fan speeds, temps, etc. I'd go for the 100i myself.
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August 15, 2013 9:06:34 AM

Thanks to everyone for all the help! If any of you are curious what I THINK my setup will be in september here it is. Obviously I am not buying it until than so some stuff might change. And before you ask the 850 Watt PSU is for when I SLI my 770's in January :) 

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($279.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i 77.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus Maximus VI Hero ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($205.00 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($119.00 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 840 Pro Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($122.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($82.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 4GB Video Card ($449.99 @ Amazon)
Case: NZXT Phantom 630 (Gunmetal) ATX Full Tower Case ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 850W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($166.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Monitor: Asus VG248QE 144Hz 24.0" Monitor ($250.52 @ Amazon)
Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Mouse: Razer DeathAdder 2013 Wired Optical Mouse ($54.99 @ Amazon)
Other: Corsair Vengeance 1500 ($59.99)
Total: $2168.40
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-08-15 12:06 EDT-0400)
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a b K Overclocking
August 15, 2013 9:53:07 AM

Very nice build.
And you won´t be dissappointed by the H100i. It´s a lovely little unit. ;) 
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a c 331 K Overclocking
August 16, 2013 10:56:28 AM

I've used the Hyper 212+ on about 4 builds I've done for people...its not heavy at all and is supported by a MB backplate.

Sorry, I'm just not a fan of AIO coolers and the very large misunderstanding that they are the same as watercooling loops.
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