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First time water cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H60 SE, EK H3O LTX 120mm kit, or full custom build?

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Corsair Hydro Series H60 SE, EK H3O LTX 120mm kit, or full custom build?

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  • Corsair Hydro Series H60 SE
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  • EK H3O LTX 120mm kit
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  • Full custom build
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July 6, 2013 11:06:15 PM

I'm thinking of upgrading my cooling system to water cooling, but I have no idea about how difficult it is. The options listed above are basically what is available at my local store.

The Corsair got great reviews, but I've seen people scorning all in one kits as bad. As a newcomer and someone prone to stressing out about my PC, the simplicity of this option appeals to me.

I know nothing about the EK kit other than it seems way more expensive than the Corsair and I it doesn't seem to be an all in one kit, so maybe it's better?

It seems the other option is to buy all the components separately and assemble them myself. This area I am totally ignorant of, I don't know it's complexity levels or price tag.

Price is important to me, but I won't waste money on something cheap if it's useless. Ease of use and peace of mind are also very important, but again I won't sacrifice too much quality for them.

With all that said, can anyone offer advice on the ins and outs of these options?
a c 176 K Overclocking
July 6, 2013 11:19:38 PM

Unless you have a fair bit of cash to burn, custom water-cooling isn't for you. $300 is what I would consider about right for an easily upgradable CPU loop, with each GPU after that about $150 to add in.
However it offers the best performance you will see until you start using Liquid Nitrogen or start chilling the water, the most flexibility in what you can do and if you do it right, a very silent rig. It is fairly complex, but that's why resources like the water-cooling sticky exist.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/277130-29-read-first-...

That EK kit is a custom loop, you just get everything you need in the one box. Kit options are a fairly easy way to get into a custom water-cooling (I started with an XSPC RS360 kit) but can limit you later on if you get a cheap one (pump mainly).

Your CLC (Closed Loop Cooler) options like the Corsair Hydro series, they perform similarly to equivalent air-coolers for about $20-30 more. That H60 is about equal to a 212 EVO, the H100i is about equal to a Noctua NH-D14 in terms of cooling performance. Its really not worth getting over an air heatsink unless your looking into the 240mm rad options or some other requirement (small case, constant travel, RAM height, etc) dictates.
July 7, 2013 1:22:01 AM

manofchalk said:
Your CLC (Closed Loop Cooler) options like the Corsair Hydro series, they perform similarly to equivalent air-coolers for about $20-30 more. That H60 is about equal to a 212 EVO, the H100i is about equal to a Noctua NH-D14 in terms of cooling performance. Its really not worth getting over an air heatsink unless your looking into the 240mm rad options or some other requirement (small case, constant travel, RAM height, etc) dictates.


I hear what you're saying, but what are they like noise wise compared to such an air cooler?

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a c 176 K Overclocking
July 7, 2013 1:25:29 AM

Depends on the fan/s strapped to them and how fast their spinning, water-cooling isn't inherently quieter than air.
a b K Overclocking
July 7, 2013 8:25:47 AM

Water cooling is a lot more efficient than Air. You usually end up with more fans but a lot lower RPM which usually means quieter operation while performing better at the same time.

In my opinion high end CPU air coolers are already really quiet. The bulk of the value is actually in the GPU blocks. Reference flagship cards are usually very hot but only has a single 90mm fan due to space constraints. This tiny fan usually needs to work like a jet engine and spin up to 3000 RPM which makes any computer sound like a turbine. GPU blocks are expensive but I assure you the difference is like day and night.
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