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A Question of actual effeciency of Heat Pipe CPU Coolers

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  • Cooler Master
  • Heat
  • Cooling
  • CPUs
  • Components
Last response: in Components
October 26, 2012 7:26:33 AM

Hi everyone, I'm building a PC, based on Asus Sabertooth x79 mobo with Intel i7-3820 Quad core..I have some questions I hope some tech savvy guys can fill-in objectively:

1) Should heat pipe coolers be sufficient to cool the cpu during intense cpu loading? Or should I go with fluid coolers like everybody else? (One thing I hate about fluid coolers is the inherent risk on components when you have a leak, which means goodbye to your investment).

2) I've notice on heat pipe coolers that by theory, relies on principle that a sealed fluid in a tube absorbs heat from the cpu and the fluid evaporates then is cooled by fin-fan combo, the fluid gets cooled then condenses back to liquid, then the cycle repeats.

This is true assuming the pipe is in vertical perpendicular to the heat source with the heatsource at the bottom and a void above the fluid. This is also true when the mobo is laid flat on the desk.

Will this same principle work with the mobo laid vertical like most ATX? Then the heat pipes is now in horizontal, how can the fluid inside the pipe evaporate when the fluid is now distributed along the heat pipe? Does this not affect the efficiency of the heat pipe cooling? This observation really puzzles me. I hope someone can explain.

More about : question actual effeciency heat pipe cpu coolers

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October 27, 2012 6:25:29 PM

Imagine a bottle of water sitting on a table in a warm room, the water is at the bottom and soon the top of the bottle will get foggy from the water evaporating and condensing on the walls of the bottle. Now lay it on its side, the same thing will happen, the only difference is that the fluid is not as concentrated at the bottom of the bottle as in the perpendicular position, but you have multiple heatpipes stacked next to one another so the loss of fluid at the base is not as important.
Also, in the case of a heatpipe cooler, the fluid acts as a carrier of the heat but so does the copper and aluminum components, so the importance of the fluid being in the base of the cooler is only one aspect of heat conduction. The principals of thermal dynamics tell us that heat flows from high energy (hot) to low energy (cold), which will typically be away from the processor, the phenomena of heat rising only applies in homogenous fluids/gasses, but does not apply to heatsinks or coolers since the metal will conduct heat better than the air surrounding it, however the air will absorb heat at a rate proportional to the surface area of the heatsink and the difference in the temperature of the air and the heatsink.
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October 10, 2015 11:22:43 PM

The use of a 'wick' material in the heatpipe ensures that no matter the orientation, the liquid will contact the needed surfaces. the devices are designed to work effectively no matter how its placed.
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a c 168 à CPUs
October 20, 2015 3:37:45 AM

rickrack699 said:
Hi everyone, I'm building a PC, based on Asus Sabertooth x79 mobo with Intel i7-3820 Quad core..I have some questions I hope some tech savvy guys can fill-in objectively:

1) Should heat pipe coolers be sufficient to cool the cpu during intense cpu loading? Or should I go with fluid coolers like everybody else? (One thing I hate about fluid coolers is the inherent risk on components when you have a leak, which means goodbye to your investment).

2) I've notice on heat pipe coolers that by theory, relies on principle that a sealed fluid in a tube absorbs heat from the cpu and the fluid evaporates then is cooled by fin-fan combo, the fluid gets cooled then condenses back to liquid, then the cycle repeats.

This is true assuming the pipe is in vertical perpendicular to the heat source with the heatsource at the bottom and a void above the fluid. This is also true when the mobo is laid flat on the desk.

Will this same principle work with the mobo laid vertical like most ATX? Then the heat pipes is now in horizontal, how can the fluid inside the pipe evaporate when the fluid is now distributed along the heat pipe? Does this not affect the efficiency of the heat pipe cooling? This observation really puzzles me. I hope someone can explain.


Check out Question # 6 it is interesting you are concerned regarding this subject and though heat pipe coolers can be horizontally applied to a vertical positioned motherboard and still work, the wicking material is actually the most important part of the horizontal flow being acceptable.

However for the most efficient mounting of the heat pipe cooler to achieve the maximum cooling capability it was designed to produce most all desktop heat pipe air coolers are best mounted in their vertical position on a horizontal motherboard.

I am not saying heat pipe air coolers won't work to be horizontally mounted on a vertical motherboard as it will, with the proper pipe orientation, but just not at it's maximum cooling capability.

Laptops are designed with horizontal layouts and the heat pipes work in that layout basically pre-tuned and designed for the heat load they handle, but laptops are seriously limited in the overclocking category, meaning they can get away with that layout.

Highly overclocked desktop computers bring much more heat to be dealt with, and dealing with that heat will determine just how far you'll get overclocking.

rickrack699 said:
(One thing I hate about fluid coolers is the inherent risk on components when you have a leak, which means goodbye to your investment).


That's a common fear shared by many and there have been leaks through the history of water cooling that ended in devastating results, but it is a very rare occurrence and almost never happens in a custom water loop setup because you pre-test for leaks before the system is energized to be sure the setup is free of leaks.

There is zero guarantee with an AIO CPU cooler even though they are all factory tested for leaks before leaving the factory but even if you went with an AIO it would be wise to test outside of the computer to be sure no leaks developed during shipping, then install it, and test again with it installed to make sure it is leak free, then and only then power up the CPU.

I have had numerous leaks in my years of water cooling history and all of them were my fault, not component failure, but none of the leaks caused me any loss of hardware.


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