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Cooling my Fractal Design R4

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October 27, 2012 1:06:49 AM

Hi guys!

I've just purchased all the parts for my first build but I'm still undecided on the method of cooling. Should I water or air cool my PC?? I will OC when necessary.

Full specs...

CPU: I5 3570K
MOBO: Asus P8Z77-V
RAM: Corsair vengence LP*
GPU: GTX 670
SSD: Samsung 830 256GB
PSU: seasonic G-Series 550W
Case: Fractal design define R4

What I need is a cooling setup that is quiet, reliable, looks good, preforms well, fits in my case and has great value for money.

Two of the best coolers from either side of the fence I've seen are the Corsair H100 & Noctua NH-D14.

H100
Pros
  • Performs great apparently.
  • It has hardly any trouble fitting in my R4.
  • Small footprint.
  • Looks good :sol: 
    Cons
  • It's quite loud on full load although that may not matter as much in a silent case.
  • Chance of leaking.
  • Expensive.

    NH-D14
    Pros
  • Preforms just as well so I'm told.
  • Relatively quiet.
  • Cheaper.
    Cons
  • Large footprint.
  • Ugly as sin :p 

    I really don't know which is best so what would you guys recommend? One of the above? Or something completely different?

    Thanks,
    Paul
  • More about : cooling fractal design

    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 1:45:20 AM

    Go for the DH-14, even though it is ugly (aren't all of Nocuta's fans have the same ugly colour theme?) its not like you will be viewing your computer all the time, unless you have your side panel always open (which I recommend you do not). Like you said there is a chance of leaking which usually will drip on the expensive video card. In addition, the H100 takes up more room (the radiator) than the DH-14 and still sounds louder.

    Best of luck,

    - Socialfox :) 
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    a c 127 à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 2:19:32 AM

    Actually I would shoot for the Zalman CNPS 12X mainly as it cools better under load than the Noctua and as well has a resistor to make it "quieter" than normal.

    With water cooling (there is very little chance the H100 would leak) the thing is you still need fans so there is no such thing as it being quieter than air and the 12X from what I have seen is better than the H100.

    If you went withwater, you want to do a real kit not the closed loop systems.
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 2:40:13 AM

    Well i work for a mom and pop type computer store they are pretty popular in the county the store is located and have actually got big enough open two more shops i test all the aftermarket cpu coolers personally among other things and i can tell you without a shadow of doubt the best aftermarket cpu coolers currently are in no certain order THERMALRIGHT SILVER ARROW ,NH-D14 Phanteks,NZXT Havik and after that they all perform to close to each other to really call it a win
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    October 27, 2012 2:59:27 AM

    im using a noctua dh12 inside my fractal design r4, plenty of room and no noise.
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 3:54:20 AM

    jldevoy said:
    im using a noctua dh12 inside my fractal design r4, plenty of room and no noise.
    that is a good one to out preforms the evo btw ;) 
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    October 27, 2012 9:29:14 AM

    I went for a h100. I just couldnt stand looking at the evo blocking all the pity stuff in my case. I put in a fair bit of money into that and the last thing i wanted was for it to look shitty. I know a lot of people aren't big on aesthetics but if you are it might be the deciding factor.
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 9:36:09 AM

    Burgies said:
    I went for a h100. I just couldnt stand looking at the evo blocking all the pity stuff in my case. I put in a fair bit of money into that and the last thing i wanted was for it to look shitty. I know a lot of people aren't big on aesthetics but if you are it might be the deciding factor.
    Hows the noise :whistle: 
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    October 27, 2012 9:42:05 AM

    I have used the nice quiet ones i already had on my case, and they really arent the most quiet fans. I can only fit it in push config, and have the pump on full and i really havent noticed it. When i have the fans on low, the only thing i can hear making noise is my psu. Im not sure what others are complaining about but i havent noticed it.
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    October 27, 2012 9:43:34 AM

    I should also mention i have my fans plugged into my controller, not the pump block, not sure if that makes a difference. I guess maybe the device would run the fans at a higher rate than i do when im not gaming.
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 9:49:37 AM

    Burgies said:
    I should also mention i have my fans plugged into my controller, not the pump block, not sure if that makes a difference. I guess maybe the device would run the fans at a higher rate than i do when im not gaming.
    Not sure either my cousin bought it i tease him every day about it because his is very loud sounds kinda like a swamp cooler when fans set on high it sounds like his mom mini pickup truck it's so funny and i am so mean :lol: 
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    October 27, 2012 9:51:14 AM

    Rofl nice one. Is it the pump making noise that people complain about, or fan noise?
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 9:58:07 AM

    Both usually if you replace the fans it's all good i think he might of just got really unlucky because i have never like H-100 but i have done a few builds for different friends who bought those and when i built those rigs i don't remember any of them sounding as bad as his i mean all where horrible with fans speed set high but on low the noise was acceptable imo
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    October 27, 2012 10:00:03 AM

    Yeah its probably just the luck of a bearing in the pump or something. Like i said mines nice cool and quiet. Far better than my coolmaster 412. And when im gaming i crank up the fans, but have headphones on then so notice even less.
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    October 27, 2012 1:24:45 PM

    jldevoy said:
    im using a noctua dh12 inside my fractal design r4, plenty of room and no noise.


    Thanks for the replies guys. :D 

    That's great to hear! Not too snug at all?

    Yeah, I don't like the way an air cooler covers up my investment but at the same time it's not like I'm going see it everyday.

    How's this for air cooling? ~ http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005OQJVP0/ref=ox_sc... ~ It's blue so it won't look out of place in my case. How's its preformance?

    It costs £75 and the H100 is £80. Which has better performance in both cooling and sound?

    Time for a dumb Q :whistle:  ... The Fractal R4 hasn't a lot of vents and I was wondering, would an air cooler NOT preform at its best in a small, air starved case such as this?

    Thanks again.
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 2:43:34 PM

    To your question if an air cooler would perform bset in an air starved case, the answer to that is it wont perform to the best of its ability since it will be using warm air that has been sitting in the case for quite a while. However the fractal R4 is not a bad case at all, its quite good. I am not sure why you are calling it air starved but it has lots of rooms for fans such as the front of the case with an entire side of venting, then you have vents on the top where you can place two fans for exhaust and another at the rear end of the computer.

    Point being made is the R4 is not an air starved case unless you dont choose to utilize any of the available fan slots. Your case has excellent airflow if you do use the fan slots and in the correct orientation (intake/exhaust).

    - Socialfox :) 
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    October 27, 2012 3:02:49 PM

    socialfox said:
    To your question if an air cooler would perform bset in an air starved case, the answer to that is it wont perform to the best of its ability since it will be using warm air that has been sitting in the tcase for quite a while. However the fractal R4 is not a bad case at all, its quite good. I am not sure why you are calling it air starved but it has lots of rooms for fans such as the front of the case with an entire side of venting, then you have vents on the top where you can place two fans for exhaust and another at the rear end of the computer.

    Point being made is the R4 is not an air starved case unless you dont choose to utilize any of the available fan slots. Your case has excellent airflow if you do use the fan slots and in the correct orientation (intake/exhaust).

    - Socialfox :) 


    Ah, thanks for clearing that up mate. I just assumed because its a silence oriented case, good air flow would be a problem.
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    October 27, 2012 6:45:53 PM

    Few more Q's...

    1). I've heard it's important to have positive pressure inside your case as this reduces the amount of dust that gets sucked in, correct? I'd like to know how this can be done in my R4.

    2). Which thermal compound do you recommend? It seems Arctic silver 5 is everyone's go to paste. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arctic-Silver-Paste-Articlean-C... ~ Should I get this or something else? Also, apparently there's a 100Hr set in time, is this true?

    3). Isopropyl alcohol. Do I need it to remove the thermal paste that comes pre-applied to my aftermarket cooler or will that arcticlean stuff in the link above do the same job?

    Thanks again.
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 6:51:23 PM

    1)I believe positive pressure is created when you have more intake fans than exhaust fans. Or you can say there is greater CFM created by the intake fans than exhausted.
    2) I recommend using MX-2 which performs the same as Silver 5 if not better, its also non-conductive so if you do spill it on the board you just need to clean it up.There is also no cure time for MX-2. For Arctic Silver 5 there is a cure time, as it progresses temperatures get better.
    3) Arcticclean stuff will do the same, I myself used to use hand sanitizer (made with distilled water/aqua) with cotton swabs to clean off thermal paste.
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    October 27, 2012 8:56:44 PM

    socialfox said:
    1)I believe positive pressure is created when you have more intake fans than exhaust fans. Or you can say there is greater CFM created by the intake fans than exhausted.


    CFM? The case comes with two 140 fans, one each for intake and exhaust. Do you think another will be required?

    socialfox said:
    1)I3) Arcticclean stuff will do the same, I myself used to use hand sanitizer (made with distilled water/aqua) with cotton swabs to clean off thermal paste.


    Since I'm no longer getting that pack of paste & cleaner, would it still be worth purchasing Arcticlean separately even if its just for that surface purifier. Or stick with the isopropyl?

    I'm getting MX-4 4g. Is this enough for a single CPU?

    And finally, between the Phanteks PH-TC14PE & Corsair H100, which would you choose?

    Thank you so much mate you've been a great help so far.
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    Anonymous
    October 27, 2012 9:05:39 PM

    personally i would get something cheap like a hyper 212 evo then wait for the cooler master eisberg to come out. its the h-100 except it isnt a closed loop and can easily be modded and you can switch out rads and what not
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 9:07:16 PM

    For your computer case fans, I suggest going for one more fan in the front or side. Also it is much cheaper to buy the isopropyl since you can buy it at a drug store. Also how much are you paying for MX-4? Wherever you get your MX-4 look for an MX-2 tube as well. MX-2 performs almost as well as MX-4, maybe 0.5-1 degree difference but at a fraction of the price. Down here in Canada, I can get MX-2 for a mere 4.99 for 4grams but MX-4 costs 19.99.

    In terms of your cooler I would go with the Phanteks rather than the H100. The Phanteks performs just as well as the H100 and there is no chance of leaking and taking more room because of the radiator.
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    Anonymous
    October 27, 2012 9:07:38 PM

    good case selection by the way, i have the r3 and i am personally responsible for half the features of the r4 revision
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    October 27, 2012 10:04:18 PM

    socialfox said:
    It is much cheaper to buy the isopropyl since you can buy it at a drug store.


    Ok, so the surface purifier is just a marketing gimmick?

    socialfox said:
    Also how much are you paying for MX-4? Wherever you get your MX-4 look for an MX-2 tube as well. MX-2 performs almost as well as MX-4, maybe 0.5-1 degree difference but at a fraction of the price. Down here in Canada, I can get MX-2 for a mere 4.99 for 4grams but MX-4 costs 19.99.


    Amazon seller has it for under £4 ~ http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0045JCFLY/ref=ox_sc...

    socialfox said:
    In terms of your cooler I would go with the Phanteks rather than the H100. The Phanteks performs just as well as the H100 and there is no chance of leaking and taking more room because of the radiator.


    I don't think the radiator will be a problem, these guys managed to fit it in the front. http://www.sotechdesign.com.au/fractal-design-define-r4...
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    October 27, 2012 10:19:24 PM

    Anonymous said:
    personally i would get something cheap like a hyper 212 evo then wait for the cooler master eisberg to come out. its the h-100 except it isnt a closed loop and can easily be modded and you can switch out rads and what not


    First I've heard of the eisberg and its tempting... But it won't be released until April/May. Will keep my eye on it though, thanks.

    Anonymous said:
    good case selection by the way, i have the r3 and i am personally responsible for half the features of the r4 revision


    Good man! Thank you for the removable HDD cages, and the SSD mount was a nice trick too! :lol: 
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 10:25:55 PM

    When I was commenting about the radiator size, I wasn't exactly saying you would have trouble fitting it, but just it would be rather big and bulky compared to the Phantek cooler which is smaller. In addition, the H100 is quite loud at full load if I recall many people complaining about it on the forum :p 

    Also I wouldn't say its a gimmick but maybe just an over exaggeration since good ol' alcohol does the same thing.
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    October 27, 2012 10:34:15 PM

    socialfox said:
    When I was commenting about the radiator size, I wasn't exactly saying you would have trouble fitting it, but just it would be rather big and bulky compared to the Phantek cooler which is smaller. In addition, the H100 is quite loud at full load if I recall many people complaining about it on the forum :p 

    Also I wouldn't say its a gimmick but maybe just an over exaggeration since good ol' alcohol does the same thing.


    Right, and that noise is coming from the pump, yes? So changing the radiator's fans would hardly make a difference?
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 10:36:25 PM

    Basically you pretty much summed it up.
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    October 27, 2012 10:41:45 PM

    Last Q I promise! Will my 550w PSU will be able to handle my build, a PH-TC14PE and at most seven 140mm fans?
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    Anonymous
    October 27, 2012 10:49:27 PM

    Pmckenna said:
    First I've heard of the eisberg and its tempting... But it won't be released until April/May. Will keep my eye on it though, thanks.



    Good man! Thank you for the removable HDD cages, and the SSD mount was a nice trick too! :lol: 

    have you heard anything about pricing on the eisberg? i want to know if you can buy it without the rad. i really want to get one and i would probably make a custom mount in my r3 and run an xsps ax-280 [if they make one otherwise i would run an ax-240]

    i was responsible for the dual removable hard drive cages, motherboard tray grommet placement and the better quality grommets [the old placement and grommets on the r3 were terrible], the ample motherboard tray back spacing for cable management, the now tool-less front fan filter system, the option between windowed and non windowed versions, the window option for the r3 that i sold separately [though i have never actually seen it for sale in the US] re-positioning of the fan controller, option to have a 240mm rad [though i cant take credit for the placement of it, i said do it a bit like they did to the arc midi] i believe they also use a more durable powder coating too. i cant take credit for the ssds behind the mobo tray as i had not even though of it. i sent fractal like a 5 page email with all that is listed and much more that they didnt implement. the person that works at fractal said he would personally bring my email to their board meeting and they offered to video chat with me at the board meeting but i had the flu so i couldnt. basically about 80% of the features on the r4 came out of the email i sent and now its one hell of a case
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    a b à CPUs
    October 27, 2012 10:51:10 PM

    Yes, it will be able to work. I have calculated your power wattage with 10% capacitor aging (fairly new/brand new) and your computer uses 410 watts at the lowest and 460 watts at maximum load. Also I am not bothered by the amount of questions you ask, this is a forum, you come here to ask questions :lol:  so no need to put a limit. In fact, I prefer you kept it in this thread rather than creating so many different threads.

    - Socialfox :) 
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    October 27, 2012 10:57:12 PM

    Best answer selected by Pmckenna.
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    October 27, 2012 11:10:49 PM

    Anonymous said:
    have you heard anything about pricing on the eisberg? i want to know if you can buy it without the rad. i really want to get one and i would probably make a custom mount in my r3 and run an xsps ax-280 [if they make one otherwise i would run an ax-240]

    Spoiler
    i was responsible for the dual removable hard drive cages, motherboard tray grommet placement and the better quality grommets [the old placement and grommets on the r3 were terrible], the ample motherboard tray back spacing for cable management, the now tool-less front fan filter system, the option between windowed and non windowed versions, the window option for the r3 that i sold separately [though i have never actually seen it for sale in the US] re-positioning of the fan controller, option to have a 240mm rad [though i cant take credit for the placement of it, i said do it a bit like they did to the arc midi] i believe they also use a more durable powder coating too. i cant take credit for the ssds behind the mobo tray as i had not even though of it. i sent fractal like a 5 page email with all that is listed and much more that they didnt implement. the person that works at fractal said he would personally bring my email to their board meeting and they offered to video chat with me at the board meeting but i had the flu so i couldnt. basically about 80% of the features on the r4 came out of the email i sent and now its one hell of a case


    I didn't realise it existed until you mentioned it, but a quick google search and I found this ~ http://forum.overclock3d.net/showthread.php?t=42685 ~ How credible that info is, I don't know. €130 for 120mm & €140 for 240mm can't be right!

    Wow, that's fantastic! Great to see a company listening and taking on board their customers ideas in such an active way.

    What's the plan for the R5?? :D 
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    Anonymous
    October 28, 2012 12:36:04 AM

    Pmckenna said:


    I didn't realise it existed until you mentioned it, but a quick google search and I found this ~ http://forum.overclock3d.net/showthread.php?t=42685 ~ How credible that info is, I don't know. €130 for 120mm & €140 for 240mm can't be right!

    Wow, that's fantastic! Great to see a company listening and taking on board their customers ideas in such an active way.

    What's the plan for the R5?? :D 
    [/spoiler]
    that price is pretty steep, that going into xspc kit prices

    i was extremely happy that they listened to me, though pretty sad they didnt send me a free r4 for my contributions

    well i didnt buy an r4 yet, but the only things i would change would be to make hard drives tool less with internal hot swap bays and potential for dual 240/280 rads and shed some weight, the r3 is a ridiculously heavy case. personally my next case is probably going to be a node 304 or arc mini, i find a huge mid tower to be too cumbersome for LAN parties and just too big in general.

    i only run one video card so the only change i would have to make is a mobo and maybe ditch my optical or make it external, i barely ever use it anyway, i have a few of usb installers that i got from pendrivelinux.com that are life savers for usb booting [i personally play around with live linux distros]
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    Anonymous
    October 28, 2012 12:51:45 AM

    which gtx 670 did you get? i got an asus non top, its dead silent and stays pretty cool
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    October 28, 2012 9:37:18 AM

    Anonymous said:
    that price is pretty steep, that going into xspc kit prices

    i was extremely happy that they listened to me, though pretty sad they didnt send me a free r4 for my contributions


    That is quite disappointing actually. You probably saved them a lot of time and research. It only seems right that they give you one of the finished models.

    Anonymous said:
    well i didnt buy an r4 yet, but the only things i would change would be to make hard drives tool less with internal hot swap bays and potential for dual 240/280 rads and shed some weight, the r3 is a ridiculously heavy case. personally my next case is probably going to be a node 304 or arc mini, i find a huge mid tower to be too cumbersome for LAN parties and just too big in general.


    I thought the weight served a purpose. Heavy case = less vibration?? Personally, I like it. A bit of heft makes it feel sturdier. Also there's a job in case design for you, my friend! :D 

    Anonymous said:
    i got an asus non top, its dead silent and stays pretty cool


    GPU & sound card are the last things I need. I'll get whichever runs the coolest. Apparently, GPUs in people's R4 tend to run very hot, that's to be expected I suppose. If you can vouch for that Asus though, I might pick that up.
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    October 28, 2012 5:16:50 PM

    Can anyone recommend a good sound card?? I want to use my tritton ax pros when I game. Any card with an optical output should get Dolby digital through them, right?

    Thanks,
    Paul
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