Question Air vs Liquid ventilation

Mar 31, 2019
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I recently bought a noctua nh d14 for my i7 8700k. The problem is that the fan found in the middle isnt working, and ill have the oppoerunity to get my money back. The thing is that the cpu cooler damaged the looks of the case and pc overall, and I was thinking about buying myself a NZXT KRAKEN X16 140mm, because it looks cool. I would like to ask you guys a couple of questions: 1) does the air ventilation perform better than a liquid one while overclocking my cpu, and if so which one should i get?
2) If they are the same, is the NZXT KRAKEN X16 a good alternative for me? Is it able to hold up and be quiet ?(i can only get a cpu fan that isnt bigger than 140mm because i need to ventilate my case properly. Ty in advance
 
Unless radiator is installed completely outside of the case, ventilators on it would also be part of case ventilation so you can use either a 280 or 240mm liquid cooler without compromising case ventilation if any of those can fit and feel the need for one.
As far as cooling capability goes, good air coolers and liquid coolers with same size fans are about equal. Only when you need a larger cooler like double or triplle fan radiators is when liquid coolers have an decided advantage.
 
First of all, realize that liquid cooling is really air cooling.
The difference is where the radiator is located.
Ultimately, it is the size of the radiator that determines how good the cooling is.

What is your case and fan arrangement?
Either air or aio needs a good source of fresh air intake to do it's job.
Usually, if you have at least two 120/140mm front intakes, you will have sufficient air intake to cool a cpu and a hot graphics card.

I can't argue aesthetics. If that is most important to you, buy what looks best to you.
To answer your questions:

1) Air or liquid can do the job and which is better depends on the coolers involved and your case.

2) Liquid cooling is not as reliable since it has moving parts in the pump mechanism. On occasion you might get a fluid leak which can damage your motherboard and other parts.
Usually, a aio fan needs to work harder to push cooling air through the radiator so a aio tends to be louder than equivalent air.

Another consideration is keeping your parts clean of dust.
To do that, you want a "positive pressure" setup where all of the cooling air comes in the front of the case and is filtered.
For that, you need to be able to mount the aio radiator in front.
That is normally not an issue with air.
Air needs some height for a decent cooler. likely 160mm or so. aio pumps are much lower and will fit anywhere.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
I would argue the Noctua cooler will perform better than a single 140mm AIO.

I would only ever use a 120mm or 140mm AIO in a situation where it is impossible to use anything else, like a tiny mITX build.

Just because it is liquid cooling, doesn't mean it is GOOD liquid cooling.
 
Mar 31, 2019
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I would argue the Noctua cooler will perform better than a single 140mm AIO.

I would only ever use a 120mm or 140mm AIO in a situation where it is impossible to use anything else, like a tiny mITX build.

Just because it is liquid cooling, doesn't mean it is GOOD liquid cooling.
But the thing is that from what i've heard nzxt kraken x16 is a good performing AIO. I am also considering to vuy a noctua dark rock pro, what do you guys think?
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
Noctua is Noctua; example, the NH-D14.

be quiet! makes the Dark Rock Pro.

I've never tested the Kraken X16. I've tested the Kraken M22 and the X71.

But the thing is that from what i've heard nzxt kraken x16 is a good performing AIO.
OK

Are you certain you don't mean the "Kraken X61"?

https://www.nzxt.com/products/kraken-x61

This is a 280mm radiator, not a 140mm radiator - well it is, just a double 140mm.

I went go Google for "NZXT Kraken X16" and nothing comes up, but I found the X61, which surely couldn't be what you were meaning, right?

Being a bit more specific makes all the difference in the world.
 
You asked for my opinion:

My canned rant on liquid cooling:
------------------------start of rant-------------------
You buy a liquid cooler to be able to extract an extra multiplier or two out of your OC.
How much do you really need?
I do not much like all in one liquid coolers when a good air cooler like a Noctua or phanteks can do the job just as well.
A liquid cooler will be expensive, noisy, less reliable, and will not cool any better
in a well ventilated case.
Liquid cooling is really air cooling, it just puts the heat exchange in a different place.
The orientation of the radiator will cause a problem.
If you orient it to take in cool air from the outside, you will cool the cpu better, but the hot air then circulates inside the case heating up the graphics card and motherboard.
If you orient it to exhaust(which I think is better) , then your cpu cooling will be less effective because it uses pre heated case air.
Past that, A AIO radiator complicates creating a positive pressure filtered cooling setup which can keep your parts clean.
And... I have read too many tales of woe when a liquid cooler leaks.
Google for AIO leaks to see what can happen.
While unlikely, leaks do happen.

I would support an AIO cooler primarily in a space restricted case.
If one puts looks over function, that is a personal thing; not for me though.
-----------------------end of rant--------------------------

Your pc will be quieter, more reliable, and will be cooled equally well with a decent air cooler
like the Noctua NH-D15s.
 
Mar 31, 2019
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Noctua is Noctua; example, the NH-D14.

be quiet! makes the Dark Rock Pro.

I've never tested the Kraken X16. I've tested the Kraken M22 and the X71.


OK

Are you certain you don't mean the "Kraken X61"?

https://www.nzxt.com/products/kraken-x61

This is a 280mm radiator, not a 140mm radiator - well it is, just a double 140mm.

I went go Google for "NZXT Kraken X16" and nothing comes up, but I found the X61, which surely couldn't be what you were meaning, right?

Being a bit more specific makes all the difference in the world.
First of all, id like to apologize for not being specific and coreect. The aio cooler im looking to buy is the nzxt x42 ( the one with the 140mm fan). I would like to buy this one because i only have space for a 140mm fan. I cant get the daek rock pro because it cant fit in my case. I just qant to know if the nzxt x42 would be equivalent to a noctua nh d14 whent it comes down to performance and cooling
 
Mar 31, 2019
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Im also open to buying air cpu coolers as long as they fit in my case(NZXT SOURCE 340).. the maximum cpu cooler height is 161 and i can not fit a dark rock pro unfortunately, nor would i like to buy another noctua nh d14 as it worsens the looks of the case. Im open to recommandations, thank you for all the support. (At the moment i too would prefer an air cpu cooler)
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
I've tested both the Dark Rock 4 and Dark Rock 4 Pro; both are good coolers and very high quality.
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/be-quiet-dark-rock-pro-4-cpu-cooler,5559.html
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/be-quiet-dark-rock-4-cpu-cooler,5563.html

The Dark Rock 4 Pro is too tall for you, if you really only have 161mm of clearance. The normal Dark Rock 4 is just under that and might fit.

You could also check the Dark Rock TF, which is a downdraft cooler.

You can also check into the Noctua NH 12 series using a 120mm fan rather than a 140mm fan, but if you don't like the look of Noctua's fans, you can either replace the fan, or just skip the cooler. Most people have a love/hate relationship with the look of Noctua coolers...they are excellent quality, but the color scheme is polarizing.
 
May 29, 2019
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Im also open to buying air cpu coolers as long as they fit in my case(NZXT SOURCE 340).. the maximum cpu cooler height is 161 and i can not fit a dark rock pro unfortunately, nor would i like to buy another noctua nh d14 as it worsens the looks of the case. Im open to recommandations, thank you for all the support. (At the moment i too would prefer an air cpu cooler)
I don't know if you're planning on overlocking your CPU but I own a Coolermaster 212 black edition with an RGB fan and it looks great! You get used to looks (that aio won't look that cool anymore after a few weeks), but you'll never get used to a leaking AIO, faulty pump or loud (pump) noises. Additionally, if a component in your AIO breaks down you have a risk of damaging other components and you have to replace the whole thing. Whereas a conventional cooler only has a fan which can break which can be easily replaced, no harm done.
 

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