So basically I have been stumped on this decision for a while, and since it has come November (a great month for newegg shoppers) I figure I better decide soon.
My spec's are as follows:
i5 2500k with Kuhler 620
2 Sapphire AMD 6950 CF (unlocked to 6970)
Corsair 8gb Vengeance memory
Corsair 120gb Force 3 Series SSD
Samsung Spinpoint 1 TB 7200rpm HDD
LG DVD/CD reader/burner
In case you aren't aware of the phantom. The only intake fans are 2 120mm on the side and theres 2 exhaust(1 120mm, 1 200mm) on the top and back of the case.
As you can see in this picture, the Hyper 212 seems extremely bulky and blocks the airflow coming from the bottom of the case:
As opposed to a watercooler (I'm looking at the Kuhler 620 and the Corsair H60):
Not only does the inside of the case look nicer, there is no bulky fan constricting airflow to the exhaust fans.
The only problem I've heard about these entry level water coolers, is they barely cool better than air coolers (such as the hyper 212). I am only going to do some mild overclocking, and I care about temperature and noise so I chose to avoid the stock fan.
Which should I go with? In this case would the Hyper 212 hurt the airflow like I think it would? It's practically blocking the 200mm fan. I don't care about a few degrees difference in temperature, they are both overkill for my needs, but I want to get them anyway just to add to the overall niceness of my case. But if the Hyper 212 is so bulky that it would in fact constrict the airflow, let me know, and I'll go with watercooling. Thanks guys!
I think you'd be disappointed in the H60 when compared with cost and actual performance vs. a good air cooler, in my opinion. We don't usually consider LCS coolers like the H60 actual watercooling. It isn't going to perform like water cooling, more like good air cooling in most instances. This would likely skew your opinion that REAL watercooling would perform the same, when there is no comparison.
It would be like owning a Toyota and buying a Honda with a big wing and rims- it looks cool, but doesn't perform any better than what you had before, but since it looks 'sporty' you assume it is the benchmark of performance and what you would expect from X, Y and Z from other manufacturers. Then, over there...is the guy in the Ferrari...and it's a whole new animal from what you didn't experience.
I've seen benchmarks for these things, they do run cooler, just not as much as what you pay for it. I would get one because they overall look less bulky and apparently are quilter. But I think I'll just stick with the hyper 212
They do serve their purpose- I just think that most people expect real water cooling loop temps from something in a little box...it isn't going to happen. They are great for cramped cases and for people wanting something a little different, I suppose. For what you pay for an H80 or H100, you can step into the XSPC Rasa kits for only a few dollars more and get actual, entry level watercooling kits.