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Water vs air in a high temp environment

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April 28, 2008 4:38:56 AM

I am considering two different purchases for cooling.
A water cooling system using top of the line danger den/swiftech parts that will run me around 300 to 400 dollars (CPU, GPU, NB, Mosfet).
The second option is a top of the line air cooling: Cooler Master GeminII in conjunction with Delta 140CFM fans which will in total cost around 100 to 150 dollars.

The dilemma comes because this is for summer cooling in about 30C environment with no AC. The air cooling would cool the RAM, Chipset, CPU, and Mosfet. The water cooling would not cool the RAM. Is it even worth paying a couple hundred more for water cooling? Like, does the ambient temperature play as large an affect on water cooling as it does on water cooling such that I'd probably end up with the same temperatures? Also, can anyone recommend any good air cooling for a G80 8800GTS (I don't mind noise).

Edit: I have a quad core and 8GB of RAM.
April 28, 2008 5:10:51 AM

Normally I'd recommend air-cooling over any WC, so this time around it won't be any different. Are you OCing? If you are, you should invest in the best air-cooling available to the OCer enthusiast, the Thermalright Ultra120 Extreme (TRUE).

I myself own the GeminII, and with two 60cfm fans on top of it, I can barely have respectable temps for a 3GHz Q6600. I highly discourage the GeminII if you're considering OCing. Instead, just grab a TRUE, get 2 Scythe Ultra Kaze, and put them in a push-pull config. This is pretty much as good as it gets, the Ultra Kaze can do 130CFM for only $9.
April 28, 2008 5:19:48 AM

I think it affects both the same, but water-cooling is a little more efficient than air-cooling. I believe the same rise in ambient temp would affect both the same, but water cooling will be a little cooler on your CPU and whatnot.

Cooling with either will not allow any part get at or below ambient temperatures. Water will bring it closer though and yea it's harder to add water cooling to RAM and voltage regulators than air, but it's a lot quieter than air. What you need are benchmarks with your system in the same environment. That's pretty much the only way to really determinie if it's going to be enough especially at those temps. I would think that if you're not doing anything too demanding, you'll be fine with air especially if you're using really good fans with high CFM. My computer has a CPU and exhaust 109CFM 120mm fan. The CPU fan blows through the heatsink down on to the board and you can feel a good ammount going through the RAM and regulator areas, and those have gotten noticeably cooler too since the fan upgrade. I reckon my house is at times around 23-25C and my CPU stays at around 50C fully loaded and overclocked. My video card doesn't go anywhere above 70C at stock fan speeds (9800GTX) and drops to 55C at 100% fan.

My fan setup is:
2x120mm 80CFM intake fans
1x120mm 109CFM exhaust fan
1x120mm 109CFM CPU fan
1x80mm 60CFM exhaust fan
(optional) 1x80mm 60CFM exhaust fan (on top)
PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750 (also an exhaust fan)
EVGA 9800GTX (exhaust)

LOUD AS HELL but cool :) 

TT Armor (early model, no side fans, all fans have been upgraded)
Ambient temp - 25C
CPU - 48-50C fully loaded (E6600 @ 3GHz)
System - 45C fully loaded CPU
Video - 70C fully loaded @ stock fan speed
HDD - 25-30C
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April 28, 2008 5:51:46 AM

Concerning o'clocking, do you plan on doing any. If so, what components? Also, do you plan on being aggressive in this area? This would have the greatest influence on air versus watercooling.

April 28, 2008 6:19:33 AM

What are u using ur system for??

Ive got an OC'd Q6600 on water (120mm rad)
The other components are cooled fine by air, gfx card runs a thermalright sink.

Id suggest only putting 2 items on ur loop (cpu and gfx)
April 28, 2008 6:47:13 AM

I've overclocked it to 8x333. I can't do much higher since the board just can't handle it (ga-p35-ds3p). So 8x333 is the max I can hit. I currently have a Zalman 9500A on it, but it just isn't enough especially since it doesn't include putting air onto the memory and northbridge. I think I'll probably just end up doing air cooling. I was looking at the thermalright extreme something or other, but I really wanted something blowing down onto the board. I've though about getting a NB cooler, but then that'd leave my mosfets exposed. I was looking at the Kaze's, but I'll still need a Delta fan for high CFM 120x25mm for the case fan.
April 28, 2008 6:47:46 AM

Quote:
The second option is a top of the line air cooling: Cooler Master GeminII in conjunction with Delta 140CFM fans which will in total cost around 100 to 150 dollars.

They are -not- nor have ever been the -top of the line- for air cooling.

Themalright has -always- been the best air coolers in the world bar none.
Silverstone FM-121 fans @ 110 QFPM are the best fans and come with free veri-speed controlers.

A correct Case/HS/Fan combo can give the same cooling as a non-chilled H20 sytem withen 1C and for alot less cost.
Best case is still the older Coolermaster Stacker TO-1 with optional CrossFlow Fan.
No other case sold cools as well as it does...but good luck finding one theses days.

The 7 systems in my profile that are my game LAN are OC'd 50% both on all stock volts (MB/CPU/RAM/Chipsets) and air cooled with 4-6C over room air @ 100% load.

If your thinking of H2O then go look at http://www.koolance.com/default.php

Buy three 3-or-4 slot 120mm fan heat exchangers and put them into home made wooden box for 2100-3000 watts of heat transfer for $300 USD + other parts.
Buying other H20 cooler parts is as foolish as buying other than Thermalright for air cooling...or a good case/PSU.

Removing the case's exit fan grill will boost airflow 80% or more.
April 28, 2008 8:05:14 AM

I'll tell you what, if you can find a something to cool a quad core, 8GB of RAM, NB, and mosfet without buying a new case, or exceeding a 150 dollar limit, I'll listen. I have a GA-P35-DS3P board so the NB heatsink can't be replaced since it has a heatpipe fixed to the mosfet heatsink. I'll also need a fan coving my RAM since 4 sticks generates a lot of heat.

The CM GeminII is the only heatsink I have seen where you can seat 120MM fans such that it covers all of these spots I need. My NB is currently running at 52C. I already know Thermalright is the best, but it just doesn't fit my needs.
April 28, 2008 8:13:31 AM




Tested for 3 years, cost 0 maybe some nails or whatever
April 28, 2008 8:19:32 AM

hi,
i'm also with this dilemma.
my room gets to 40C or even more in the summer.
but it's only for a month or so, the average in round 28-32C.
but my options are- Armor LCS vs P182 + TR 120EX + a good fan.
the pros of the LCS is that when Intel Switch the Socket with the Nehalm i could only switch the block & when getting a new VGA Card i'll get him a block.
for now, the VGA card is 8800gts with stock cooler.
the cpu will be Q9xxx or Q6600 or E8400 OC'd.

but currently i built a custom case with 12 regular 8cm fans. it's pretty noise but not like my friends 3x12cm fans at max speed.

i tought about LCS coz of the less noise, but the p182 built for quite systems so it's a good deal.

what do you think?

Armor LCS + VGA block vs p182 with TR 120 extreem + TR05 for the 88gts is the same money. but the aircooling system will worth nothing for the future Nehalem, oppose to the LCS.


thanks!

D.
April 28, 2008 8:39:47 AM

kkm557 said:
I am considering two different purchases for cooling.
A water cooling system using top of the line danger den/swiftech parts that will run me around 300 to 400 dollars (CPU, GPU, NB, Mosfet).
The second option is a top of the line air cooling: Cooler Master GeminII in conjunction with Delta 140CFM fans which will in total cost around 100 to 150 dollars.

The dilemma comes because this is for summer cooling in about 30C environment with no AC. The air cooling would cool the RAM, Chipset, CPU, and Mosfet. The water cooling would not cool the RAM. Is it even worth paying a couple hundred more for water cooling? Like, does the ambient temperature play as large an affect on water cooling as it does on water cooling such that I'd probably end up with the same temperatures? Also, can anyone recommend any good air cooling for a G80 8800GTS (I don't mind noise).

Edit: I have a quad core and 8GB of RAM.


Where do you live?
Why can't you have air conditioning?
A new 5000 BTU window air conditioner will cool a room up to 160 square feet. The AC unit can be bought for less than $100. It will consume $25 of electricity for the season.

April 28, 2008 9:14:47 AM

Oh whoops, I did the temp conversion wrong. It gets to around 35C, usually never above 100F. I live in LA so that gives you a general idea of how warm it gets esp with the santa ana winds. I can't have air conditioning because I live what is essentially like a dorm room, so the power draw of an air conditioner would overload the circuit. It's an older building so they did the circuit layout pretty weird. I have three outlets in my room, two are on the same circuit, one is on it's own. This big thing though, is that the circuits are shared over 2-3 rooms. So if you get like 2 computers on one circuit, then turn on an AC, it's too much for the circuit. (BTW, for anyone who cares, it's a 20A circuit).
April 28, 2008 11:31:57 AM

What is the ambient temp of your computers environment?
Air will get you to about 8 to 10 degrees above ambient.
Water, if your lucky, close to 6 degrees above.
The only thing that will cool lower that ambient, is chill water and phase change cooling.
April 28, 2008 12:23:34 PM

wtf!..., now thats wild! :sol: 
April 28, 2008 12:34:38 PM

zpyrd said:
Where do you live?
Why can't you have air conditioning?
A new 5000 BTU window air conditioner will cool a room up to 160 square feet. The AC unit can be bought for less than $100. It will consume $25 of electricity for the season.


Yup, I have dual 120mm Danger Den watercooling for my OC'ed Q6600 but I had to put a small air cooler in my back office because that part of the house gets extremely warm in the summer. Unfortunetly I draw so much juice from that part of the house I had to put in an extra circuit because the new cooler begin throwing the fuse in conjunction with my Nvidias spooling up in heavy load (seriously) so it wasn't so cheap after all.

Top of the line air coolers are good but water is still more efficient at removing heat. Air coolers are much easier to install and maintain though.
April 28, 2008 1:12:48 PM

Water can get the heat farther away from your processor, which will slow down how quickly it initially heats up.
However, it is the same as air cooling in the sense that your effective cooling is limited by how much heat your radiator can dissipate and how efficiently you can get the heat to the radiator.

My experience tells me that to match a Thermalright Ultra Extreme, you need a pump that has a good flow rate under heavier loads and 2 to 3 large radiators.
The radiators are worthless with an underpowered pump.
A system with 3 120mm radiators should out perform the Ultra Extreme if hooked up correctly.
You should use the same fan you would ideally use on the Ultra Extreme.
This choice is dependent on which is more important: Your ability to play the game at the highest possible settings or your ability to hear that guy trying to sneak up behind you.

I should also mention that Ultra Extreme is efficient enough that you will rarely see a water cooling system match its temperatures, much less get below it.
However, with a good water setup, you can beat its performance by 1C - 2C at significantly lower volume levels.

Now, if you really want to keep it cool, there are a few things you can do.
The simplest is to add a peltier cpu block to the water cooling system.
Chilled water would work.
Though my favorite is to grab the compressor from the AC system of a car at a junk yard and rig it up.
Make sure you don't hook it up backwards. ;')
Keep in mind that any solution that takes your temps below ambient needs to have protection against condensation.

Now for the other components:
A decent case with active cooling (and wire management) should allow enough airflow to adequately cool the parts in question.
With well placed side fans, a water cooling system will let more air get to the VRMs, memory, chipset, etc. (Less clutter)
However, a case without well placed side fans can benefit more from an air cooler that forces airflow through the region.

As a final option, I've heard of people buying cheap peltier disks and mounting them on the case near intake fans. (Thermal epoxy)
They are far enough away from the cpu that condensation isn't as big a deal.
Also, the voltage levels on such setups can be controlled to prevent it in the first place.
This is more useful with aircooling solutions.
Though, I wonder if they would be better placed on opposite side panel (bottom side of the motherboard tray).

a c 86 K Overclocking
April 28, 2008 1:33:29 PM

Okay! Great to have you here. DD makes good stuff, but you need to research and learn about WC first.

For your benefit please spend a few days reading a LOT. Here and at the busiest places for WC masters. Guys who have done it for YEARS.

OC forums, Danger Den, and xtreme forums. It took me a while (I was OCing on air, aftermarket stuff, bios settings, best chipsets etc etc) to learn the language and the tricks to a easy install.

Don't expect miracles, or SUPER DOOPER over clocks. What you will get is a quiet system that can handle OC to the max of your hardware IF you buy quality and buy smart. And minor maintenance too, a bonus for the water cooler.

Also while there please read on case mods etc. The radiators are not for small cases, the pumps and hose routing, wire management and other things are important to understand. Google your planned case and the word water-cooled in one line. You might get lucky.

Once you got an idea of what is good/bad then start getting your system for WC put together and we'll be glad to help.

Good water aint cheap either! $350 min for CPU/GPU/NB.
April 28, 2008 1:54:47 PM

Yea, the price is what is getting to me. Especially for minimal gain over air cooling in that I don't mind noise all that much. Also, my cooling wouldn't be to gain higher overclocks, but rather to battle Los Angeles summer temps.

So now since most people put TRUE up there with water cooling, my two options are a full set up of thermalright heatsinks (MOSFETS, NB, and CPU) along with a memory fan, or to get a GeminII with 140 CFM Delta fans which would blow over all those components. The cost difference would be around 100. I think I totaled the thermalright cost to be a little over 200.

The reason I am putting some much consideration on the NB and memory is because my NB is currently running low 50C and memory is too hot for comfort.
April 28, 2008 2:12:41 PM

Evilonigiri said:
Normally I'd recommend air-cooling over any WC, so this time around it won't be any different. Are you OCing? If you are, you should invest in the best air-cooling available to the OCer enthusiast, the Thermalright Ultra120 Extreme (TRUE).

I myself own the GeminII, and with two 60cfm fans on top of it, I can barely have respectable temps for a 3GHz Q6600. I highly discourage the GeminII if you're considering OCing. Instead, just grab a TRUE, get 2 Scythe Ultra Kaze, and put them in a push-pull config. This is pretty much as good as it gets, the Ultra Kaze can do 130CFM for only $9.



I got one of those 3000RPM Kaze fans and it sounds like a damned jet engine. ...redicalous.
April 28, 2008 2:17:00 PM

what I have done in my system... is watercool the CPU. this takes a lot of heat out of my system since my rad is in an external rad box.
I also have 120mm fan blowing on my ram and voltage regulators.
the amout of heat comming out of my system is much lower (Q6600) compared to my other machine (E6600 air cooled).

as for cost... I use 2 car heater cores with 2 120mm fans sandwiched between the two, saves me some $$$
you may want to get a northbridge block as well.

this way your CPU will push most of the heat out via water. and you will not need as much fans blowing inside to cool the other components.

my 2¢
a c 324 K Overclocking
April 28, 2008 2:24:06 PM

I have been running WC for about 5 years and have had a lot of fun with it. One suggestion: don't buy a 'kit'. You can do just as well by figuring out what components you need, sizes, etc and purchasing them separate...even from the same retailer. I use www.frozencpu.com almost exclusively since they have such a large selection of parts and vendors.

Don't forget, parts are usually pretty universal, so tubing sizes are all you should be concerned with. (note: Koolance and Innovatek often do have odd metric sizes and fittings, so just remember conversions).

I am currently running a DangerDen 12v pump, DD CPU block, DD NB block, DD GPU 8800 series block and a 2x120 BlackIce radiator and 1x5.25 bay res. Q6600 is at 3.425 and 8800GTS 640 usually runs at 700/850.

Don't forget cooling for your chipsets and/or RAMsets on your GPUs if you go for a 'GPU-only' block. Just getting some $15 RAMsinks and having a few decent fans gets you a long ways in preventing hot-pockets (Hooooot Pocket!) from building up and burning holes in your system. Also, consider fans over your HDs...they often contribute a lot of heat in a system like this. I have a Lian-Li HD cooler that holds 4 drives and has a 120mm fan...works excellent.

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/6236/cpa-226/lian-li_internal_hdd_rack-ex-35b_-_black.html

I know there are similar ones out on Newegg as well.
April 28, 2008 7:39:23 PM

Thanks for the advice. I have both my 120mm intake fans blowing on my harddrives (3 of them so they are in two different cages). Even with a 80cfm fan they are hitting mid to high 30C during the day. Usually, they are all below 25C.

If I were to water cool, I would buy a kit like this http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/sislcpugpuco.html and then add a NB block and MOSFET coolers (maybe blocks).
April 28, 2008 10:47:29 PM

The northbridge, typically, controls memory functions like – a memory controller (for Intel Chipsets), a level 2 cache communicator and bridges the gap between the CPU and Ram – it also handles functions between the CPU and the graphics processor on the PCI, AGP and PCIe slots. Since this particular part is always busy it can generate quite a lot of heat if you do aggressively o'clock. But, unless you aggressively o'clock your CPU, GPU, Ram and mess with the voltages you really don't need to add a NB waterblock - save money and flowrate by going with a HSF combo.

Just have good cable management for airflow and a decent HSF combo on the NB. You can also purchase a ramcooler fan attachment that goes over your ram to cool them down.

That kit you provided the link for uses an Apogee GT CPU waterblock. While it is a decent waterblock it does not compare with the Apogee GTX, D-tek Fuzion (with nozzle kit) or the EK Supreme.
April 29, 2008 6:23:00 PM

I think I'm just going to go with a GeminII + high CFM fans. This will only run me about $100 (replacing some case fans too). I figured why spend more on protecting something than the actual worth of the item. Anyways, thanks for all your help guys (and girls).
April 29, 2008 6:57:37 PM

kkm557 said:
I think I'm just going to go with a GeminII + high CFM fans. This will only run me about $100 (replacing some case fans too). I figured why spend more on protecting something than the actual worth of the item. Anyways, thanks for all your help guys (and girls).


High CFM fans are nice but are often serious noise makers while they're @ high CFM speeds. Keep that in mind.
April 29, 2008 7:21:51 PM

just get a box fan and call it a day. aim it right at your processor. :sol: 
April 30, 2008 3:14:45 AM

With the fans I'm getting, I'm looking at between 75 and 100 times louder at the source. Well, it's just based on trade offs really money vs sound vs heat. I'll take the sound.
May 6, 2008 5:34:06 PM

miles85916 said:
just get a box fan and call it a day. aim it right at your processor. :sol: 


Don't know if you are joking, but this actually works VERY well. Ain't nothing like a 20" box fan blowing through the open side of your case. Drawback is its loud as hell.

May 6, 2008 6:09:06 PM

i myself am getting to the point to where i am sweating when on my desktop at home. its getting that hot in the ambient temp. even with the windows open.. all the hot air that is being blown out of my system is still causing some serious heat.

i have been playing with the idea of going WC. I have a antec 900 case, lots and lots of airflow.. so my stuff is good, but my room temp is getting outta control..
!