The Search For A Better Sink
Whether we’re talking Porsche engines or performance PCs, surface area has always been liquid cooling’s greatest advantage. You get additional benefits from moving your radiator to a cooler part of your case, though few PC enclosures are designed for this (here’s one). And while it's possible to build an air-only solution similar in size to our favorite liquid-based products, we don't like the thought of a multi-pound copper heat sink hanging from our motherboards. After all, we've seen big coolers devastate processors and sockets when they're strapped in and shipped.
As a result of those logistic nightmares, most boutique builders use liquid cooling of some sort in their overclocked PCs. Of course, those high-end shops have enough experience to know not to ship a filled water-cooled box with an air vent. And they certainly can't expect most of their customers to know how to top-off their own systems, or follow a regular flush and fill routine. Closed-loop coolers are consequently popular because they prevent both leakage and maintenance hassles.
|Closed-Loop CPU Cooler Features|
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Corsair Hydro H90||Enermax ELC120||NZXT Kraken X40||Thermaltake Water2.0 Extreme|
|Cooling Fans||1 x 140 x 25 mm||2 x 120 x 25 mm||1 x 140 x 25 mm||2 x 120 x 25 mm|
|Control Type||Motherboard Fan Headers||Motherboard Fan Headers||Software Programmable||Software Programmable|
|Weight||28 Ounces||28 Ounces||32 Ounces||41 Ounces|
|AMD Sockets||AM2 to AM3+||AM2 to AM3+||AM2 to AM3+||AM2 to AM3+|
|Intel Interfaces||1156/1155, 1366, 2011||775, 1156/1155, 1366, 2011||1156/1155, 1366, 2011||1156/1155, 1366, 2011|
If you don't plan to move your PC, you might not be as stressed about the weight of a big air cooler. For you, liquid cooling is all about temperature control. Therefore, the preeminent big air cooler serves as today’s performance baseline in a follow-up to December's Four Closed-Loop CPU Coolers Take On Noctua's NH-D14.
Doesn't really justify buying one of these over an NH-D14, really only to say that you have "water cooling."
I've had my Noctua D14 for almost two years now. It's one of the best investments I've made in my PC. If i needed better cooling, i would just buy a third fan for the D14, and it would drop a few degree's and give better cooling than all but the top to Closed-loop coolers tested here. Plus I'd have lower noise.
If room is not a problem there is NO reason to get a closed-loop system. A D14 with a third fan is $100 and is out performed only in thermals by more expensive and louder CL coolers.
I understand the issue of weight. But saving 2-3 degree's on cpu (aside from the TT 2.0) isn't worth your mobo gaining 15-17 degree's which results in a much hotter system and more stress on all your other components.
Theoretically, the more cooling the space, the more efficient.
You should have compared air coolers to other air coolers, then compared single fan 120mm and 140mm CLC with other single fan CLC and then do a dual fan CLC vs. other dual fan CLC.
I mean, come on, I'm glad you reviewed this, but you should have at least took the best air cooler, single fan CLC, and dual fan CLC in the current market and then tested and compared results.
I'm surprised why Noctua hasn't included their newest fans in their coolers. I'm sure its holding many potential customers off.