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CPU And Motherboard Cooling

System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: The $2400 People’s Choice PC
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Processors based on Intel's Haswell architecture can be much more difficult to cool than Ivy Bridge-E. Meanwhile, the Haswell design need less absolute cooling capacity than Ivy Bridge-E. Those two apparently-conflicting statements can be justified by the observation that the lower-power Haswell-based chips respond poorly to increased cooling capacity.

CPU Cooling: Thermaltake Water 2.0 Extreme

Given the above observations, it appears that anything larger than a 120 mm single-fan cooling tower wastes money. On the other hand, choosing anything smaller than the cooler from my previous build would open me up to criticism if today's setup didn't overclock well. I wanted to play this one safe.

Read Customer Reviews of Thermaltake's Water 2.0 Extreme


Overclocked Haswell cores are so temperamental that a mere 3 °C drop in temperature can add 100 MHz to a stable configuration. Because of the CPU’s heat transfer problems, that’s about all I expect from Thermaltake’s huge, award-winning Water 2.0 Extreme.

Motherboard Cooling: Antec SpotCool 80

Anyone who thinks that $95 is too much to spend to cool a heat-soaked CPU will be incensed to hear that the expense doesn’t end there. Most motherboards are designed to cool the CPU voltage regulator using exhaust from the CPU cooler, and the fans on a liquid cooler's radiator don’t point in that direction.

Read Customer Reviews of Antec's SpotCool 80


Designed to cool nearly any component, Antec’s SpotCool is the perfect add-on voltage regulator fan for motherboards that weren’t designed to accept a fan. I always keep one of these on-hand for liquid-cooling predicaments, but decided to actually include it in my order this time.

The need for a voltage regulator fan emerges at moderately increased CPU voltage. If the CPU isn’t able to support moderate voltage increases before crossing its own thermal threshold, then I’ve wasted money.

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