Which is better at cooling. I thought external, having more room to breathe so to speak. But reviews I've read suggest that a high end internal setup can perform better. Whaddya reckon?
All depends on the quality of the setup. Strictly speaking the exact same setup should perform better externally because of the cooler air running through the radiator, but it is rarely that cut and dry.
All things being equal, an externally mounted radiator is the better way to go.
Think of it like this...having a radiator inside the case just means that the heat stays in the case. Having the extra heat in the case therefore raises the ambient temperature of the case. Having a higher ambient temperature inside the case makes it harder for the radiator to cool efficiently. Thus, it is causing your system fans and lcs to work harder to get the same results.
I have built and tested 20+ water cooled systems, and I have never seen any internal lcs outperform a comparable external lcs, and that includes anywhere from low-end, to high end systems.
I agree, the ideal setup is an internal rad with external exhaust, it isn't the best performing but it is the best compromise between cooling and ease of transport (if ever needed). I agree a completely external LCS would be the best, but don't try and move that system... talk about pain in the ass. The reason I consider this is I'm in college and therefore moving the computer off and on is routine for me (gotta visit the parents sometime hehe) and somethign to consider.