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I7 920 cooler - trying to combine a number of threads

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August 16, 2009 10:38:27 PM

Greets to all.

I know this question's been asked an awful lot but it's all in bits and pieces across numerous pages. Hopefully though the discussion here could be a sticky for helping future members.

I'm currently stuck choosing my air cooler for my imminent i7 920 rig - I have some ideas but I'm after validation.

The specs:

i7 920 D0 stepping, OC to 3.8GHz or 4GHz
Asus P6T Deluxe v2
either 12GB Corsair 1600MHz Dominator tightened to 7-7-7-20
or 12GB Corsair XMS3 1600MHz already at 7-7-7-20
Silverstone Raven RV01 with window
Dual SLI of GTX285s
Corsair HX1000 (the HX850 will run this but I want some headroom)

Aesthetics are important to me too so I'm after a cooler that looks good, but performance obviously is priority.

My choices then are:

Titan TTC-NK85TZ Fenrir (only allows 1 fan)
Scythe Mugen 2 (will push/pull)
Thermalright TRUE Black (will push/pull)
Prolimatech Megahalems (will push/pull)

Coolers I've rejected:

Zalman CNPS9900-NT and Coolmaster V8 (reviews suggest they can't handle 4GHz OC)
Noctua NH-U12P (cannot stand the brown fans)

Originally I wanted the Corsair H50 water unit, but the Raven's airflow design is totally destroyed by using the top 120mm fan as an intake, but H50 underperforms with its radiator fan set as an exhaust.

I've read numerous reviews and I know it's splitting hairs between the top performers but I'm after opinions and validation for those of you in the field.

So, let the discussion begin and see if we can get a consensus.

As I'm using 6 DIMMs I will put a Corsair fan cooler on them so the CPU cooler needs to account for that as I can only orient the cooler to push the airflow towards the top of the case (i.e. across the DIMM slots right-to-left so that'll be going up on the Raven).

As a side note, I'd appreciate comments on the RAM choice.

Tighter timings are more beneficial than faster clocks on the i7 from what I've read so I'm torn between the Corsair XM3 1600MHz rated at 7-7-7-20 or going for the 1600MHz Dominator rated at 8-8-8-24 and trying to tighten up to match the XMS3 - at overclockers.co.uk there's like a quid difference between the two 6GB sets.

Thanks all!
a b K Overclocking
August 16, 2009 11:54:28 PM

Why don't you get the H50 and jury-rig another fan to it for the push-pull?

And, in reality, the only thing you'll need faster RAM for is to increase synthetic benchmarks. Real-world performance is negligible. Just go for either if your budget allows.

Lucky. :) 
a b K Overclocking
August 17, 2009 12:01:52 AM

^The H50 doesn't have enough rad to cool a i7. +1 on the RAM info there.

@OP: Have you considered the Core Contact and the S1283? Also what about a good custom CPU water loop? A GTZ + 320 + D5 will be ~$230. That will surely keep the i7 cool (check my sig; I get 48-53C under load). (Or you can run a moded WC loop for under $200)
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August 17, 2009 12:05:39 AM

Cheers Master Jedi.

To be honest I've not seen enough people using the H50 in a Raven to get any kind of idea - the few I have found have only used a single fan and say it underperforms simply because whichever way you cut (push or push/pull) it you're drawing warm/hot internal air over the radiator.

I've confirmed with a few people, including Silverstone, that if you change the Raven's top 120mm exhaust fan to an intake fan you totally screw the stack effect the Raven was designed to do.

Although I'm very tempted to get the H50, try it and return it if it doesn't work out and go for a True Black with some Scythe Kama PWM fans on it.
a b K Overclocking
August 17, 2009 12:09:55 AM

^Don't go H50. Like I said before, the single 120mm rad is too small. You need AT LEAST a 220 rad.
August 17, 2009 12:10:58 AM

Oh, and regarding the memory issue, I have noticed a slight improvement at work with tighter timings.

We got in two identical i7 systems except for the RAM on the cheap. They were both supposed to have some CAS9 RAM in but the supplier ran out of stock so gave us some CAS8 for one of the systems. We're only talking a few minutes here but on some heavy After Effects and Premiere Pro HD encoding the CAS8 system does top out.

But I've found the best of both anyway lol Scan UK sell the Dominator at 7-7-7-20 for about £3 more so tbh I'll just grab that instead of trying to tighten the CAS8 to match.
August 17, 2009 12:13:03 AM

OK Shadow, no H50.

Which of the air towers then? As I said a minute ago I think I'm swinging to the True Black - still a True but looks smexy.
August 17, 2009 12:23:32 AM

lol Shadow your original post about the custom loop didn't actually show until now. I'll look into a custom water kit but tbh they scare me lol I'm already playing catch-up with the current gen hardware and facing the 4GHz OC myself.
a b K Overclocking
August 17, 2009 12:31:18 AM

Here you go:
Conumdrum said:
I'll just snip the whole thing, I just redid parts of it.

Us guys have done the WC thing, there are basics you gotta know. Take a look, don't take it as a diss on you or a rebuttal, look at as a friend saying "Dude, you gotta know what to say and how to communicate".
.......................................
CPU HS $65
GPU HS and air HS for vram and mosfets $95, full cover block, $100-$200
Radiator $60 min, up to $130
Pump $50 +
Resiviour $25
Hose, some barbs and clamps etc (min $25, more like $35)
Fans $15-30

I went top notch and spent close to $600 to cool my CPU and GPU.
First you gotta learn about WC. It's not like walking into Best Buy.
Spend a while (weeks is best for your sanity) at these links.
Look at the hundreds of loops close to your case and components in the stickies, read a couple 50 or so threads over the next week or so, you'll be on the ball to make the right choices and by then know how to put it together.
Not 'Roket Sience', but basic knowledge is required.
And you should spend a few hours on the listed sites reading threads. It's how we learn. Once the goodies show up on your doorstep your on your own.
For your benefit please spend a few days reading a LOT. At the busiest places for WC masters. Guys who have done it for YEARS at OC Forums 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, pumps and hose routing, wire management and other things are important. Google your planned case and the word water-cooled in one line. You might get lucky.
............................
Edit: The next paragraph was from 2008. With the advent of the HOT i7 and bigger GPU's, it has changed. A 220 size MIN rad for an i7, you want big overclocks, better go 320 sized rad.
................................

IF you just cool your CPU and your NB if you want, you can get by with a 120.2 sized radiator (RAD). And MAYBE fit in inside depending on your mod skillz. You want to cool your GPU too, you'll need a 120.3 sized rad, and it probably won't fit inside. The rear external rad really works great. No matter what your adding 10lbs to your PC.

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.
,…………………………………………………………
Here is the poop on solid info on air/water temps. The link is to an MCR320.
http://martin.skinneelabs.com/Swifte...20-Review.html
Scroll half way down and you can see the in/out air diff on the chart. It depends, like I said on fannage what the out air temp vs. the in temp is.

You can also see the water in/out is very close in temps. No more than 1.5 C. Amazing eh? I thought so too once I deciphered the charts.

So if you put a second rad with good airflow, you still get good results. Fannage needs to be higher to compensate for the increased air restriction. Meaning double fans on the rad setup, but it's a viable solution.

Equilibrium (tough word) means with a set heat load (idle/load) after an amount of time temps in a WC loop will stabilize. The heat load is the same, ambient air is the same, fannage is the same, pumps are the same, size of rads are the same, temps will stabilize for those conditions. Any of these parameters change, it has to stabilize. …………………………………………………………
Cleaning a loop, not a new loop: I do this once a year, I drain and refill at 6 months, the next time I do this……..
Wash hands very well, getting rid of hand oils.
For pumps and blocks, fittings, clamps, acrylic res/block parts.... not hose, tear it to smallest pieces, put in a bowl, heat water up not to boiling add 10% vinegar, when hot, pour over parts. Rinse in 10 min or so. Put aside.
The bocks will probably have some black oxidation. Take the copper parts out of the pile of parts you took out of the water. Dry well and pour ketchup on them, and set aside. Only the copper parts need this.
Rad cleaning: fill with very almost boiling hot water. Let sit 10 minutes, drain half out and shake for 5 min. Repeat till liquid is clean.
All the pump, block, fittings, and clamps, inspect, get in the tiniest corners with a tooth brush. Kind of meditative, time consuming, you learn a lot about o-ring size, how it all feels. Run a rag using a caat hanger and dish soap through the tubing, rinse well.
Rinse all the parts and hose with distilled, dry then really dry with an air compressor (nice extra step to get rid of water spots). Don’t need to dry the inside of the hose.
Now on to the copper parts, they should have been soaking an hour or two. A toothbrush and ketchup should clean much of the oxidation. It probably won’t be like new, but pretty darn good. Rinse, dry, and blow the parts.
That’s it.
………………………………………………………
Benching software and such is very varied. I use these for each purpose:
These are pretty standard and used by many.
Monitoring the PC temps overall: HWmonitor aka hardware monitor
CPUZ for CPU info
GPUZ for GPU info
CPU only: RealTemp
GPU only: ATI Tool, I have a Nivida GTX280, so it works on Nvidia

Loading/benching tools:
CPU loaders: Prime95 and OCCT
GPU Loaders: ATI Tool and the best one is Furmark, nothing pushes the GPU harder right now.
Benching for overall graphics/gaming performance is 3DMark06
……………………………………………………………
Guides
http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=... Pretty up to date info and buying guide
 verclocking-and-cooling&Itemid=86" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://gilgameshreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten... Another good guide
http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=... What to do once all the stuff is in the door

Forums
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/index.php? Not a noob site, but great stickies
http://www.ocforums.com/ My fav, good peeps, know their stuff, less hardcore
http://www.over-clock.com/ivb/inde [...] opic=20277 A GREAT Europe site
http://www.overclock.net/water-cooling/ Decent site

Tests on equipment, not reviews, truly scientific tests
http://translate.google.com/transl [...] n&ie=UTF-8 Info on rad testing
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=22... More rad testing
http://skinneelabs.com/ Host for Martins lab and some newer tests
http://www.skinneelabs.com/MartinsLiquidLab/ Test results, very technical


Stores
http://www.dangerden.com/index.php [...] e&Itemid=1
http://www.petrastechshop.com/
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/
http://www.jab-tech.com/
http://www.performance-pcs.com

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/252455-29-water-coole...

DO NOT get any pre built (think Thermaltake BigWater,etc) watercooling kits!
a c 121 K Overclocking
August 17, 2009 12:38:12 AM

Here is a link to one of the better comparison reviews of 1366 coolers:
http://www.frozencpu.com/resource/r24/Best_CPU_Cooler_P...

Scaling tests I have seen do not show significants benefits to faster ram or better timings on the i7 920. I think the real application numbers are 1-3%. Not worth a big price premium to me.
a c 121 K Overclocking
August 17, 2009 12:39:41 AM

Nice post from conundrum on water cooling. I think I will stick to air .
August 17, 2009 12:46:43 AM

I think I'll stick to air for now as well geofelt lol

RAM-wise, I guess I'll see how my budget goes. I have seem some OCZ Reaper 1600MHz at 7-7-7-20 for about £85 but they heatsinks on them are odd and not sure if they'll interfere with the air cooler, but from pics I've seen of the True and the Megahalems even with a pair of fans on them they seem sufficiently out of the way of the DIMM slots.

Is there much truth to Intel recommending active cooling if you use 6 DIMMs? I don't mind getting an active cooler for the RAM, but it's £20 saved if it's not necessary.

Cheers for the input so far...
!