Water superior to Air
Should water cooling be chosen over air considering the prices of water cooling systems?
it depends on what you are planning to do with your system. if you want to do "extreme overclocking" watercolloing would be best. but, if you just want a cool gaming system with mild to moderate overclocking then aircooling should work fine.
but like i said it all depends on your prefernce and use for the machine. kind of like getting a vapochill case.
is this reality... i thought it would more realistic.
the system will run cooler with water cooling as long as you do it right.
As with everything, if you screw it up, it won't work as well. There is more (IMHO) possibility to get a watercooler (drastically) wrong than an air cooler.
If you are confident, practical and handy with a bit of minor DIY then go for it.
For me - I air cool only right now. I have a 1.33Ghz Athlon running circa 1.6Ghz and 1.85-1.9V using a swiftech mc462 and 80mm delta fan. It ranges 31 degrees C to 44 degrees C idle v.s. loaded with a mobo temp at 26 degrees C.
I trade noise against simplicity. I'm sure I could build a good water cooler and reduce my noise, and temps, (well, my temps may not come down that much) but I really cannot be bothered right now - I'd rather play with my daugther....
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When I built my overclocked Duron system, and purchased a number of air cooling items, I believed I was content with the speed I had achieved and the level of cooling.
But now, a couple months later, the noise is driving me batty, I realize I spent almost as much on fans and the HSF as I would have on a watercooling system, and that my temperatures are still not ideal.
I'm already in the process of converting to watercooling - it is feasible to have a nice setup for under 100 dollars. I've noticed that one of the nice Swiftech newer heatsink models costs like 80 dollars? I know a couple friends who have spent 100+ on the air cooling components of their systems, and the cases sound like a friggin hurricane.
I can't wait to implement my watercooling rig - then I can dump about 8 fans, one of them that damnable Delta. So if you think you can handle a water cooling setup and ensure that it won't break apart in your system, I would really suggest going with it. If you're overclocking, it will help a lot, and you'll still be able to use the rig for future computer systems - and if you're not overclocking now, you may be then.
Whilst I agree that commercially available water cooling systems appear to be more effective coolers, in that they enable a cpu with a given heat output to run at a lower temperature whilst being reported to be quieter than the better air cooling solutions, however one point is often overlooked:
Whether considering watercooling or refrigeration systems such as Vapochill ultimately the heat energy that has been transferred from the cpu to the liquid coolant must be dissipated (i.e. got rid of).
For all closed systems where the coolant is recirculated the heat energy it contains is transferred first to a radiator (similar to a car radiator) but then to the air, usually by having an electric fan force air through the radiator fins to allow the heat to be dissipated to the air.
Possibly the reason water cooling can be quieter is that due to the radiator (which takes the place of the heatsink) having a larger surface area it can dissipate a larger amount of heat energy with a lower rate of airflow (measured in CFM) than a smaller heatsink. Also it is easier to use a large fan that operates at low rpm and hence produces lower sound level for a given rate of airflow.