Question AIO or air cooling in h500i

alexswede

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Apr 26, 2017
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Ive been going back and forth between the Thermaltake view 71 RGB chassi and NZXt h500i for my next build. A lot of people have recommended me to use a air cooler such as the Dark Rock Pro 3 or the DH15 for the thermaltake case, but is it still a good idea to use air cooling in a mid tower case like the h500i? or would it be better to use a 280mm AIO?
thanks for replies

Build: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/alexswede/saved/#view=TT4tgs
(give or take the case)
 

Violett

Great
Mar 17, 2019
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What CPU do you have ? Ah, I saw, I7 9700k. This is important. One of my friends have an NZXT H500i case, an I9 9900k CPU and an NZXT Kraken X62 AIO cooler (280 mm).
His temperatures are just fine at 4.8 Gb CPU overclocked.
My choise is an AIO watercooler for these cases above, wich don’t have a great airflow.
I don’t understand why many users are inclined to recommend an air cooler instead an watercooler. But this is just my option.
 
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Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
The H500i uses CAM software to run the case lighting. Makes perfect sense to use a kraken aio, which also uses CAM software. And as a kraken x61 owner for almost 7 years, gotta say, it worksike a champ, set it to silent mode and forget about it. It runs quieter at every temp range vrs the Cryorig R1 Ultimate that replaced it.

There are ppl who do not like that your system info gets sent to nzxt, but personally since they use that info for design and performance uses, they are welcome to it.
 
...I don’t understand why many users are inclined to recommend an air cooler instead an watercooler. But this is just my option.
-A good air cooler will outperform a cheap AIO for less. The AIOs that actually do surpass even the best air coolers are the top dollar ones, or $100+.
-They're easier to maintain.
-If and when an air cooler fails, you pretty much just replace the fans that break down. With an AIO, they can potentially take out your system via fluid leaks.
Unless the user is pushing very high overclocks, I personally wouldn't recommend an AIO.



Ive been going back and forth between the Thermaltake view 71 RGB chassi and NZXt h500i for my next build. A lot of people have recommended me to use a air cooler such as the Dark Rock Pro 3 or the DH15 for the thermaltake case, but is it still a good idea to use air cooling in a mid tower case like the h500i? or would it be better to use a 280mm AIO?
thanks for replies

Build: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/alexswede/saved/#view=TT4tgs
(give or take the case)
The NZXT was designed with a negative pressure setup in mind - i.e., more exhaust than intake. Downside of this is that it'll bring in more dust, which means cleaning it out more frequently.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVkAXSJeKKM
(17:45-19:10)
It will actually perform worse if done in a positive pressure setup.
The NH-D15(max height 165mm) likely won't fit in the H500(cpu clearance 165mm), but the DRP3(163mm) will be a tight fit. If you stick with that ram with tall heatspreaders, neither will fit in there without removing the front fans.
They'll fit easily in the View 71(190mm clearance for cpu cooler) though.
 
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Karadjgne

Titan
Herald

Dust isn't a major concern. Even with a fully negative system. You'll need to do regular maintenence anyways, and a aio setup in pull is far easier to clean, than an air cooler.

What many fail to realize when throwing out things like a good aircooler is cheaper than a comparable AIO is the fact that you'll still have to spend out on additional case fans, since 1-2 that come stock is not enough. A 3pack of RGB fans will run over $100, plus the $50+ for a decent aircooler = more expensive than a decent AIO. Even a good set of 140mm Noctua for the front intake will run close to $50.

280mm front intake, 120mm top exhaust, 120mm rear exhaust doesn't make for a negative system, if anything it's more balanced, especially with an AIO as intake with slower running fans and lower cfm.
 
Dust isn't a major concern. Even with a fully negative system. You'll need to do regular maintenence anyways, and a aio setup in pull is far easier to clean, than an air cooler.

What many fail to realize when throwing out things like a good aircooler is cheaper than a comparable AIO is the fact that you'll still have to spend out on additional case fans, since 1-2 that come stock is not enough. A 3pack of RGB fans will run over $100, plus the $50+ for a decent aircooler = more expensive than a decent AIO. Even a good set of 140mm Noctua for the front intake will run close to $50.

280mm front intake, 120mm top exhaust, 120mm rear exhaust doesn't make for a negative system, if anything it's more balanced, especially with an AIO as intake with slower running fans and lower cfm.
I agree with you over the dust. It's only an issue for the lazy.
But you're saying that with an AIO, there's no need to replace the stock fans, even though they're usually junk?
If I were using an AIO with what I know about stock case fans, I'd still replace them.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
No. Only older Corsair fans were kinda junk. The new ML are far superior. The nzxt are also good, as are the Fractals, Swiftec, even the ones Evga uses. Those go on the AIO as intake fans, the 2x stock case fans go as exhausts. As to the quality of the case fans, that depends on the case. Fractal Design, Nzxt, Phanteks, beQuiet and some others use very good fans for case fans, far better than the norm.

Fans on AIO's and cases have come a long way in the last couple of years.
 
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Violett

Great
Mar 17, 2019
105
4
95
3
I don’t want to start a debate about air coolers vs. watercoolers, because it can be endless, and the arguments above on both sides are true.
I respect all the oppinions and both options.
The choise between one or another is based probably on your own experience with previous PCs, tastes in design matters and expectations about the capability of cooling.
Both aircoolers wich are mentioned at the begining, Noctua NH D15 and Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro are very good air coolers, probably the best on the market. But, in my oppinion, only these very good air coolers can be compared in cooling capabilities with the watercoolers.
Let’s think about what motif leaded to adopt the solution of watercooling. Was it only a marketing thing ? No, was the need to adopt a proper solution to cool the latest CPUs, more and more heated. Why to return to air cooling ? Cars with internal combustion engines, changed in the ‘50 and 60’s to air cooling solutions, because after the WW2, that solution was cheaper than watercooling.
Why today almost all car engines is watercooled, not aircooled ? And why today the needs of PC cooling are inclined to use liquid nitrogenium ? Return to aircooling ? I don’t want to be rude or unpolite, but for me, aircooling for heated CPUs, like I7 9700k , is today a bit old fashioned, a bit hipster.
It is real that an aircooler, especially a good one, is very big and very heavy, with many negative chances to block the acces to another components, like the RAM. Some say they are a bit ugly, chunky.
One major advantage of aircooling is the low risk to fry someting in the worst scenario of leaking water, but this risk is a very very low one, because all the fitings are made by the machines, are not custom made. Leakage is not a thing to start in mind.
With all the respect, I think that NZXT Kraken X62 is a wise choise with NZXT H500i case.
 
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alexswede

Commendable
Apr 26, 2017
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No. Only older Corsair fans were kinda junk. The new ML are far superior. The nzxt are also good, as are the Fractals, Swiftec, even the ones Evga uses. Those go on the AIO as intake fans, the 2x stock case fans go as exhausts. As to the quality of the case fans, that depends on the case. Fractal Design, Nzxt, Phanteks, beQuiet and some others use very good fans for case fans, far better than the norm.

Fans on AIO's and cases have come a long way in the last couple of years.
so for the h500i would you recommend the Kraken x series? A lot of people tell me to steer clear of AIOs since they have a chance of leaking and dont add much if any temperature difference to the CPU. Space also seems to be an issue for the air cooler though, so maybe i shoud go with a 280mm kraken?
 

alexswede

Commendable
Apr 26, 2017
79
3
1,535
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-A good air cooler will outperform a cheap AIO for less. The AIOs that actually do surpass even the best air coolers are the top dollar ones, or $100+.
-They're easier to maintain.
-If and when an air cooler fails, you pretty much just replace the fans that break down. With an AIO, they can potentially take out your system via fluid leaks.
Unless the user is pushing very high overclocks, I personally wouldn't recommend an AIO.




The NZXT was designed with a negative pressure setup in mind - i.e., more exhaust than intake. Downside of this is that it'll bring in more dust, which means cleaning it out more frequently.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVkAXSJeKKM
(17:45-19:10)
It will actually perform worse if done in a positive pressure setup.
The NH-D15(max height 165mm) likely won't fit in the H500(cpu clearance 165mm), but the DRP3(163mm) will be a tight fit. If you stick with that ram with tall heatspreaders, neither will fit in there without removing the front fans.
They'll fit easily in the View 71(190mm clearance for cpu cooler) though.
Would my Trident Z ram still be able to fit with the DRP4 on the CPU?
 
Would my Trident Z ram still be able to fit with the DRP4 on the CPU?
The odds of an AIO leaking is rather low nowadays, better than what it used to be. IMO, you don't really need an AIO unless you plan to push for high overclocks, as that's where air cooling falls behind.
Between the 2 cases the choice is still yours. Go with whichever is more appealing to you. BUT, if you choose the H500i and proceed with the Trident Z, the NH-D15 won't fit even if you remove the front fan(I had to double check this). The cooler's max height, and the case's available space are too close(both at 165mm). The DRP3/4 actually do fit in the H500. Obviously, so does the 280mm AIO. The View 71 can support any of those coolers.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Air coolers and AIO's share many things in common. One of which is capacity. A 120mm Corsair H60 has almost identical cooling capacity to a CM hyper212 evo. Both @ 140w. Don't confuse ability with capacity, they are totally different. A Noctua NH-D15 is a 250w+ capacity air cooler. So are many 240mm AIO's. They'll handle the output of @ 250w of heat by the cpu. The difference in ability is that the NH-D15 is slightly more efficient, so gets slightly better temps than many AIO's, but that's ability, not capacity. If you get a high OC that's capable of 300w, you'll find that normal usage on a NH-D15 is just fine, but once you get to @ 250w loads, even that cooler is at its limits, and temps take a very sharp incline upwards.

Many ppl base decisions on actual temps and say one is better than the other, and in some respects that's true, but overall AIO's and aircoolers are the same thing, in their respective ranges. It all depends on the output of the cpu, the level of OC etc.

X32 = 130-150w = hyper212
X42 = 180-220w = cryorig h5
X52 = 230-250w = Dark rock pro 4
X62 = 250-300w = NH-D15
X72 = 300-350w = xxxxx

Those being rough estimations and cooler types. So a hyper212 and cryorig H7 are roughly same thing as far as capacity, the H7 is more efficient, gets lower temps. Same for the nzxt coolers, a X32 is about the same as a Corsair H60.

Common misconception is that to get OC, you need to use liquid cooling. Absolutely not true. Aircoolers will do the exact same job, and as said, quite often with lower temps. But the basis of that came from the popularity of 2 coolers, the Corsair H100 and Noctua NH-D14. The original H100 has higher capacity than the NH-D14, and back on the monster HEDT 140w cpus, add an OC and could easily exceed the 230w of the D14. Also ppl using 8 sticks of ram had serious issues with aircoolers. So OC became liquid cooling in most ppl minds. Same as AIO's got reputation for leaks and were very loud. Well sure, the original H100 was new(ish) and somewhat prone to leaks from the plastic hoses cracking or splitting and the Corsair fans were the worst on the market for noise, especially at the 2400+ rpm they ran at, compared to Noctua fans running at 1200rpm. Not really a very fair comparison Corsair vs Noctua fans.

Today's AIO's are quite different from those original disasters, as are the fans. The fans on my nzxt x61 could get somewhat loud, but so can the fans on my cryorig R1 Ultimate, if pushed to 100%. But running on silent mode, where the fans rarely ever got to 60%, the nzxt's were quieter across any equitable temp range. Same approximate temps, within 1°C or so, under same load conditions, but I did notice the volume change. If I bumped my OC back up to 4.9GHz, and @ 250w, for sure the 250w+ R1 would be suffering compared to the 300w+ 280mm AIO. At max.

Air or liquid is a personal choice. Sometimes it's forced by circumstances like case design, clearances, size of cpu, size of OC etc, but mainly it's still a choice.
 
Last edited:

alexswede

Commendable
Apr 26, 2017
79
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1,535
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The odds of an AIO leaking is rather low nowadays, better than what it used to be. IMO, you don't really need an AIO unless you plan to push for high overclocks, as that's where air cooling falls behind.
Between the 2 cases the choice is still yours. Go with whichever is more appealing to you. BUT, if you choose the H500i and proceed with the Trident Z, the NH-D15 won't fit even if you remove the front fan(I had to double check this). The cooler's max height, and the case's available space are too close(both at 165mm). The DRP3/4 actually do fit in the H500. Obviously, so does the 280mm AIO. The View 71 can support any of those coolers.
I think im gonna stick with the DRP4. I do wanna have the feeling that i wanna get an AIO but im guessing its mainly cuase i think it looks nicer than a bulky air cooler, but i think ill take function over form on this one
 

alexswede

Commendable
Apr 26, 2017
79
3
1,535
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Air coolers and AIO's share many things in common. One of which is capacity. A 120mm Corsair H60 has almost identical cooling capacity to a CM hyper212 evo. Both @ 140w. Don't confuse ability with capacity, they are totally different. A Noctua NH-D15 is a 250w+ capacity air cooler. So are many 240mm AIO's. They'll handle the output of @ 250w of heat by the cpu. The difference in ability is that the NH-D15 is slightly more efficient, so gets slightly better temps than many AIO's, but that's ability, not capacity. If you get a high OC that's capable of 300w, you'll find that normal usage on a NH-D15 is just fine, but once you get to @ 250w loads, even that cooler is at its limits, and temps take a very sharp incline upwards.

Many ppl base decisions on actual temps and say one is better than the other, and in some respects that's true, but overall AIO's and aircoolers are the same thing, in their respective ranges. It all depends on the output of the cpu, the level of OC etc.

X32 = 130-150w = hyper212
X42 = 180-220w = cryorig h5
X52 = 230-250w = Dark rock pro 4
X62 = 250-300w = NH-D15
X72 = 300-350w = xxxxx

Those being rough estimations and cooler types. So a hyper212 and cryorig H7 are roughly same thing as far as capacity, the H7 is more efficient, gets lower temps. Same for the nzxt coolers, a X32 is about the same as a Corsair H60.

Common misconception is that to get OC, you need to use liquid cooling. Absolutely not true. Aircoolers will do the exact same job, and as said, quite often with lower temps. But the basis of that came from the popularity of 2 coolers, the Corsair H100 and Noctua NH-D14. The original H100 has higher capacity than the NH-D14, and back on the monster HEDT 140w cpus, add an OC and could easily exceed the 230w of the D14. Also ppl using 8 sticks of ram had serious issues with aircoolers. So OC became liquid cooling in most ppl minds. Same as AIO's got reputation for leaks and were very loud. Well sure, the original H100 was new(ish) and somewhat prone to leaks from the plastic hoses cracking or splitting and the Corsair fans were the worst on the market for noise, especially at the 2400+ rpm they ran at, compared to Noctua fans running at 1200rpm. Not really a very fair comparison Corsair vs Noctua fans.

Today's AIO's are quite different from those original disasters, as are the fans. The fans on my nzxt x61 could get somewhat loud, but so can the fans on my cryorig R1 Ultimate, if pushed to 100%. But running on silent mode, where the fans rarely ever got to 60%, the nzxt's were quieter across any equitable temp range. Same approximate temps, within 1°C or so, under same load conditions, but I did notice the volume change. If I bumped my OC back up to 4.9GHz, and @ 250w, for sure the 250w+ R1 would be suffering compared to the 300w+ 280mm AIO. At max.

Air or liquid is a personal choice. Sometimes it's forced by circumstances like case design, clearances, size of cpu, size of OC etc, but mainly it's still a choice.
I think im just gonna stick with the DRP4 due to budgetary reasons, no real experience in overclocking (so i wont be doing anything massive) and just being more safe than sorry. Thanks for the detailed information!
 

alexswede

Commendable
Apr 26, 2017
79
3
1,535
0
No. Only older Corsair fans were kinda junk. The new ML are far superior. The nzxt are also good, as are the Fractals, Swiftec, even the ones Evga uses. Those go on the AIO as intake fans, the 2x stock case fans go as exhausts. As to the quality of the case fans, that depends on the case. Fractal Design, Nzxt, Phanteks, beQuiet and some others use very good fans for case fans, far better than the norm.

Fans on AIO's and cases have come a long way in the last couple of years.
Would you suggest me buying 2 extra fans for intake on the H500i and leaving the top and back fans as exhaust?
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Yes. With an aircooler, airflow is extremely important. It doesn't have to be gale force winds, it just has to move. An aircooler works by drawing in air, shoving it across the heatsink fins and then the case exhaust fan grabs it and shoves it outside. If you don't have a good supply of cooler air to start with, the fan is going to draw whatever it can, that usually means whatever hot air the gpu is exhausting. You can't cool a cpu below ambient temps by mechanical means. If the air blown across the heatsink is 50°C, that's pretty much what your cpu is going to start with, like at idle, since the ambient air to the heatsink is the air around it. Having intake fans blowing in 30°C air from your room means the cooler gets to see 30ish °C air across it. Much higher range of temps available, cooler running all around since that air is also feeding the gpu heatsink too.
 

alexswede

Commendable
Apr 26, 2017
79
3
1,535
0
Yes. With an aircooler, airflow is extremely important. It doesn't have to be gale force winds, it just has to move. An aircooler works by drawing in air, shoving it across the heatsink fins and then the case exhaust fan grabs it and shoves it outside. If you don't have a good supply of cooler air to start with, the fan is going to draw whatever it can, that usually means whatever hot air the gpu is exhausting. You can't cool a cpu below ambient temps by mechanical means. If the air blown across the heatsink is 50°C, that's pretty much what your cpu is going to start with, like at idle, since the ambient air to the heatsink is the air around it. Having intake fans blowing in 30°C air from your room means the cooler gets to see 30ish °C air across it. Much higher range of temps available, cooler running all around since that air is also feeding the gpu heatsink too.
Im thinking of switching to the new Ryzen 7 3800X now that it got announced. Would are cooling still be sufficient (i know the TDP is 105 and the DRP4 has 250, ive just never used AMD before)
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Intel or AMD doesn't matter. A cpu is a cpu. If it runs hot and demands the biggest coolers (such as a 9900k) then that's what it takes. There's no real info yet on the 3000 series, but historically the top line cpus demand big coolers, simply due to core/thread counts and X versions have higher voltages.
 

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