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water cooling or aircooled extreme cpu?

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March 4, 2008 8:52:51 AM

Hi all,

I 'm gonna make a new build soon with Nvidia 790i chipset , 9800GTX SLI and Q9450 as soon as they are available.

EVGA is going to release the 790i board with even more watercooling than the Asus Striker II extreme.
http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...

For some time I've been reading about water vs air but could you guys please tell me how much gain you get?
This means average watercooling (it would be my first build) vs very good air (Antec 900 or 1200 case etc.).

Because for the price of watercooling I could get an aircooled extreme QX cpu without the "water" risks ...

Also would you get an external radiator like the Zalman reserator XT ?

I can never find a figure to compare cooling power of these sets... I mean can you expect to cool a CPU, northbridge and dual VGA (all OC)?
March 4, 2008 10:21:18 PM

Stick with air-cooling, the gains aren't that great for the price.
March 5, 2008 4:31:00 PM

Thanks for your input Evilonigiri

When reading reviews etc I get the impression we should all get this, but why is it still not mainstream? Thats why I'm asking this question.
Is it because poeple prefer to stick to what they are used to (AIR cooling) or is water cooling not worth the extra cost and risk?
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March 7, 2008 2:28:53 AM

The risks of both cooling are minimal, however it is much cheaper to go with air-cooling than to go with WC.

According to Anandtech, you must spend at least $300 on a WC kit to outperform the best air-cooling. However people here have argued that $170 can beat any air cooling with a custom loop. Either way, a good WC system will only give you .2GHz or .3GHz more OC potential over air-cooling.
March 12, 2008 6:16:44 PM

Ok thanks.
I'll spend the extra cash on a faster CPU and use air.
March 13, 2008 9:52:38 PM

Well I'm a relative noob to water cooling, but . . .

I bought a 805D after reading the 4+ Ghz TH article about a year and a half ago. I bought a WC setup with the processor and intended to OC, but got put off by all the bad press on WC . . . my 805D room heater stayed stock with a bunch of fans doing their best to keep up, this thing is in my bedroom so the fans did a good job of keeping me up at least.

I just found the time to put the WC in. I have been playing with Speedfan and Super Pi for two weeks now, with major temp drops a lot less noise.

It was under $150 for my "custom" rig.

It took 3 hours to put in (with my noob rear end double checking everything.

I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner.
March 14, 2008 3:13:24 PM

mhhhh ... ok now I'm hesitating again ;-) ...

what WC did you get Liquidcool?
March 14, 2008 4:37:36 PM

I just got a TRUE yesterday, and I will admit that I am impressed with its cooling abilities. I forked up the extra 10 bucks for a 3k rpm fan and wow, what a delta on that thing, 17-18c? Thats quite nice. Even when the cores are nearing 70 it broke a tcase of 52! Thats pretty darn efficient. So thats 65 bucks.

It is better than the koolance processor water cooling all in one case thingie I picked up. So the best air is better than some water. Supposedly they are all concave and require lapping, but I scoped mine out when I got it and it looked pretty damn good to me! So I tested it, lapped it anyways and it really didnt change at all. Darn, I get the one that didnt need it!

Just forking over my two cents! ::Tosses two pennies to the ground at your feet!:: Enjoy the tip!

--Lupi!
March 14, 2008 4:44:58 PM

Oopsie, the current settings I have it at are 3735 mhz, 468 fsb, mem in sync, 1.6000 bios VCore, 1.49 in windows, 1.462 under load. Hottest core gets to 67c on my go q6600. Still playing with it though so subject to getting better! The tcase is 50c there, so the delta is still 17. Wow!

What thermal management kicks in when the TCase gets to 72.5c?

anyways, that prolly helps a bit, since its runnin' pretty hot and somewhat high volts. The TRUE is keeping with its reputation and chilling things quite nicely for air! My arctic square cooler had a delta of like 6, lol, and the koolance watercool block had a delta of 14. The higher delta, the more efficient the cooling is, or so it appears.

Thanks for the ear! Err... eye!

--Lupi!
March 15, 2008 6:05:32 AM

Yeah, it's really great, the TRUE. It's more cooling than you'll ever need for the C2Ds.
March 17, 2008 12:26:24 PM

I'd advise against mixing a q9450 and an nvidia chipset. Go with the e8400 on the 790i mobos.

Reason: Nvidia chipsets are horrible at overclocking the FSB compared to intel chipsets and the q9450 only has an 8x multiplier. Meaning at 400fsb you'd only get 3.2ghz from the q9450 vs 3.6ghz from e8400. While the 790i supposedly marks an improvement in OC ability I wouldn't count on it. The e8400 gives you a 9x multiplier and since no games (or very few) currently support quad threading, the extra clock is guaranteed from the extra multiplier and FSB overclocks easier on duos than quads.
March 19, 2008 9:50:20 AM

I haven't bought anything yet since they are not available yet ;-)

Some of the first 790i reviews say they got good OC results compared to the 780i, but I'll continue reading, hopefully Tom will review it soon.
As I understand the 780i has a hard time reaching 400FSB but that would be no problem with the 790i.

I might get the q9550 since it would be available earlier than the q9450 according to the site I was gonna buy from. (beginning of april vs may)

I understand the multiplier of the quads is not so good, but I think quads will soon get supported more and I don't want to buy another CPU at the end of the year. It seems a waste...

The 3Ghz extreem version with unlocked multiplier would be an option if it drops in price with the release of the other peryns.
Then the FSB problem would be less of a problem.
March 20, 2008 1:30:15 AM

Sorry it took a while to get back to you, I have:

DD MAG II LE pump - quiet
D-Tek Pro radiator - $20 heater core
White Water LE Block - very effective, but not the "best"
Noctua fan - very good

I took my 805D from the upper 60's at full load with a stock HS at stock speed, to 53C max load and 20% OC. I would push it, but it is on 24/7 and my motherboard is not really set up for OC.

It seems like most people are happy with WC unless the bought a poorly reviewed system or used distilled water (both bad ideas).

They are right about water cooling not lowering your idle temps much, but where water shines is in its ability to cap your peak temps. Look at TH 2008 CPU cooler charts, they focused on air, but the few WC kits they tried were at the top of the charts . . . look at the high end systems out there that are WC'ed and why?
March 20, 2008 1:57:20 AM

I wonder if your name has anything to do with your love for WC, Liquidcool. :) 

Air-cooling is for the practical enthusiast, wanting the best cooling for the price. Water-cooling is for the hard-core enthusiast, a hobby to him or her if you may.

I dislike WC, and I always suggest against it, but I do not dismiss it as a worthless solution of cooling. Truly, it's the OP's choice.

And thus I'll present my defense for air-cooling:

The best air cooling, the TRUE, is more than enough for the Q9550. The Q9550 has a multiplier of 8.5, thus you will be more mobo limited than heat limited. Hitting 450Mhz fsb is pretty doable on newer motherboards, but 500MHz is rather hard to do. So you can expect the highest OC to be 4.25GHz, which is 8.5 x 500MHz.

The TRUE is good for 4.25GHz, staying under 65C under full load. However, the VID limit of the newer 45nm C2D and C2Q is 1.3625v if you want it to last more than 3years. The 65nm VID limit is 1.5v, so the rules has changed. You could probably hit only 4GHz with 1.3625v and have it last more than 3years. Any higher vcore will result in a uncertain life that could be possibly less than 3 years. Assuming that you want to stay safe you will hit from 3.8-4GHz.

Now what does this mean? This means the WC is totally pointless, and the TRUE more than enough cooling power. The limit for the TRUE is around 4.5GHz on the 45nm quads.
March 20, 2008 11:22:01 PM

Ok Evil, I will admit that WC is not for everyone . . .

But I am not a "hardcore enthusiast", and we the members of TH forums are not normal computer users, "normal computer users" spend half and hour at the big box store debating whether to get the one with the DVD thingamajig or the one with the free printer . . . we spend three days debating the virtues of a certain case fan . . .

I am not using WC for show, I have no lights in my case

I had two specific problems that were not OC related; noise as this thing is an HTPC in my bedroom, and limited air flow as my computer is in a computer desk. I tried air for a year before I installed my WC system.
March 21, 2008 12:29:04 AM

All whom say good air is better than a cheap water cooler does not have the facts right.
My 805 has been oc'ed 3.8 with a very cheap water cooler, no air cooler to date as been able to do the job like the water cooler. I could not reach piss all in oc'ing compared to this water setup.


The temps you see was in the hot summer playing bf and running 2 apps
Just wanted to add with the new cpus, heat is not as bad as they ever use to be, so air may just do the trick, but when OCing constantly water is the best way to go.
March 21, 2008 1:46:19 AM

Ok maybe that might be a little too cheap . . .
March 21, 2008 1:16:50 PM

LOL , I love you case Gomerpile, where can I can one ;-)
No offence intended I love to see these kind creative thinking.
I was actually thinking it's not a bad idea and will save lots of cash but I don't think my girlfriend would appreciate it ;-)

Thanks for all the info guys, I really appreciate it.

I'm now thinking getting watercooling, but I has to be an easy system since this will be my first build.

What do you think of the : Gigabyte 3D Mercury case as a compromise ?

I need to get a new case anyway.
For 80euro (taking into account I don't need to buy a good air cooler) more than the other case I get some water cooling for the CPU.
As I understand reviews it's not that good since it only has a 120mm radiator but it will be much better that any aircooler right?
The question is will it be worth the extra 100$ and keep the rest of the case aircooled?
OR should I spend more cash and get an Asetek waterchill kit with 2 or 3 120mm radiators for 300 euro's extra and watercool my motherboard and SLI VGA?
March 21, 2008 1:32:29 PM

I've been surfing a bit and I had another idea if I got the Gigabyte case.

GIGABYTE has their own manifold system which allows the user to easily upgrade their water system with more cooling blocks. The manifold enables you to install up to a total of three blocks in parallel which should give a bit better performance than the same block mounted in serial fashion.

Maybe I could buy an extra radiator for less than 50$ and ad this to the system to get better heat exchange and keep it easy since all the rest is ready in the case.

See for a review :

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/3DMercury/4...

March 21, 2008 4:04:05 PM

Mhhh ... another review said the water cooling in OC was worse than an aircooler :

At its silent speed with the 3D Mercury, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 would idle at 35°C and under load (running Enemy Territory: Quake Wars) would spike to 71°C. When the 3D Mercury was running at full speed, it's idle was also 35°C while its load temperature had dropped to 65°C. In comparison, the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme had idled at 37°C but under load it was cooler at 61°C.

If this is true I'm getting that cheaper aircooler.
March 23, 2008 3:44:47 AM

Hurry up and make your decision already...stick to what you think is right. There's advantages and disadvantages to both, just make sure you read enough reviews before deciding.
April 1, 2009 5:01:31 PM

I'm running an air cooled i7 at 4.0 ghz and the highest temp i've seen after running prime95 for 30 hours, was 71c. The highest i've seen idle was 34c. I am using the thermalight ultra 120 extreme 1366 RT, I spent a few days lapping the bad boy to get a mirror like reflection and get rid of the invisible grooves.

I really don't think watercooled is worth it, unless your going to try to push your i7 past 4.0ghz.
!