Build Advice Are AIOs unreliable?

Oct 20, 2020
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So I'm planning on building my own PC in a few months (first time doing it) and I'm planning to go with either an i7-10400 or an i7-10700.
I had asked for some build advice and some people recommended that I go with an AIO hybrid cooler because the case I was thinking about getting only comes with 2 chassis fans.
Something like this: Corsair iCUE H100i RGB PRO XT 75 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
My question is about reliability. I plan on using this PC for at least around 5 years and I've heard that liquid coolers tend to wear out faster than air coolers and are more expensive to replace. I'm not really a big fan of the usual air coolers because they are so big and bulky but I also don't want to get a liquid cooler that will go bad in under 2 years or something.
Any suggestions or advice is appreciated
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Yes, they wear out faster. Usually somewhere between 3 and 5 years depending on the quality of the one you choose, but some might last six or seven years.

Yes, they are MOSTLY reliable, but like anything, stuff happens. I'd rather stuff happens with an air cooler. Your CPU really needs either a top shelf air cooler, not a budget one, or a very good AIO cooler. I can make recommendations but we will need to know your region, your case model and your budget.
 
Oct 20, 2020
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Yes, they wear out faster. Usually somewhere between 3 and 5 years depending on the quality of the one you choose, but some might last six or seven years.

Yes, they are MOSTLY reliable, but like anything, stuff happens. I'd rather stuff happens with an air cooler. Your CPU really needs either a top shelf air cooler, not a budget one, or a very good AIO cooler. I can make recommendations but we will need to know your region, your case model and your budget.
How's the quality of the one I listed above?
I can spend up to around $150 CAD for the cooler
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The quality of the one you listed is pretty good, but honestly, it's a been small for the CPUs you are considering. That is why I asked what case you have, because you would be a lot wiser to run a 280mm AIO with either of those CPUs than you would be running a 240mm AIO like the H100i.

I mean, it would certainly work, but it may end up being obnoxiously loud if the fans are having to struggle to keep up with the TDP of those CPUs.
 
Oct 20, 2020
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The quality of the one you listed is pretty good, but honestly, it's a been small for the CPUs you are considering. That is why I asked what case you have, because you would be a lot wiser to run a 280mm AIO with either of those CPUs than you would be running a 240mm AIO like the H100i.

I mean, it would certainly work, but it may end up being obnoxiously loud if the fans are having to struggle to keep up with the TDP of those CPUs.
Sorry I missed the part where you asked for the case. I was planning on getting the Corsair 4000D Airflow
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Ok, so here's the thing. The 10700 might SEEM kind of tame, since the Intel data sheet lists it as a 65w part, however, review testing has shown that under full boost conditions it alone can consume up to 200w, which is pretty substantial. Chances are you are unlikely to ever see it use that much for gaming or most applications, but the fact remains that when it comes to selecting CPU coolers (And other stuff too) you kind of want to plan for more than you will need so that what you GET doesn't barely meet the requirements, it exceeds them, so that you have some headroom for things like applications that maybe use some AVX instructions, hot summer days when the ambient temperature might be significantly higher if you're not in a fully AC controlled climate, and most important of all so that it can handle the full peak of what your CPU can throw at it without having to be working at full speed.

That applies equally to whether you go with an air cooler or an AIO liquid cooler.

Personally, I think if you are at all interested in a quiet system, you will want to go with an air cooler. I can go into great detail as far as why on that, if you really want, but the bottom line is, they're quieter in most cases.

For that CPU, this would be a fine choice.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU Cooler: Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT 73.6 CFM CPU Cooler ($104.90 @ Amazon Canada)
Total: $104.90
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-03 02:43 EST-0500


For a few bucks more the Noctua NH-D15 is always a good choice as well.

For AIO cooling, if you choose to go that route, you're probably going to have to spend a bit more. I don't see any highly recommendable 280mm coolers for your region within your budget. This is probably the least expensive model you should be looking at. Keeping in mind that in conversion, Canadian dollars, 150.00 is about equal to 113.00 USD, it's actually not a bad price at all for a very capable, very reliable AIO cooler.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU Cooler: Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT 63 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($189.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $189.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-03 02:46 EST-0500
 
Oct 20, 2020
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Ok, so here's the thing. The 10700 might SEEM kind of tame, since the Intel data sheet lists it as a 65w part, however, review testing has shown that under full boost conditions it alone can consume up to 200w, which is pretty substantial. Chances are you are unlikely to ever see it use that much for gaming or most applications, but the fact remains that when it comes to selecting CPU coolers (And other stuff too) you kind of want to plan for more than you will need so that what you GET doesn't barely meet the requirements, it exceeds them, so that you have some headroom for things like applications that maybe use some AVX instructions, hot summer days when the ambient temperature might be significantly higher if you're not in a fully AC controlled climate, and most important of all so that it can handle the full peak of what your CPU can throw at it without having to be working at full speed.

That applies equally to whether you go with an air cooler or an AIO liquid cooler.

Personally, I think if you are at all interested in a quiet system, you will want to go with an air cooler. I can go into great detail as far as why on that, if you really want, but the bottom line is, they're quieter in most cases.

For that CPU, this would be a fine choice.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU Cooler: Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT 73.6 CFM CPU Cooler ($104.90 @ Amazon Canada)
Total: $104.90
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-03 02:43 EST-0500


For a few bucks more the Noctua NH-D15 is always a good choice as well.

For AIO cooling, if you choose to go that route, you're probably going to have to spend a bit more. I don't see any highly recommendable 280mm coolers for your region within your budget. This is probably the least expensive model you should be looking at. Keeping in mind that in conversion, Canadian dollars, 150.00 is about equal to 113.00 USD, it's actually not a bad price at all for a very capable, very reliable AIO cooler.

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU Cooler: Corsair iCUE H115i RGB Pro XT 63 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($189.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $189.99
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-11-03 02:46 EST-0500
That makes sense. This might sound stupid, but I just really don't like the way that big air coolers like that look aesthetically. Obviously proper cooling matters more at the end of the day, but are there any other more aesthetically pleasing air coolers out there within my price point?
Also, if I were to choose to go with something like the Noctua NH-D15, would you know if the clearance will work if I'm planning to get the "corsair vengeance rgb pro 2x8GB" as my RAM (it's listed as 5.08cm tall)?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
It should with only two DIMMs installed. The newer coolers are offset towards the back, plus you can always (I prefer not to unless it's absolutely necessary) slide the fan UP on the heatsink just a little to provide extra clearance, or move the front fan to the back in cases where nothing will work. In this case it should be ok though.

I'm not sure what exactly it is about the coolers I suggested that are not "aesthetically pleasing" to you, unless it's the silver heatsinks or the Noctua fan earth tones. The Thermalright coolers are just damn near as good, or as good in some cases, within a degree, and their heatsinks and fans look fine to me.

You could also look at something like the Be Quiet Dark Rock Pro 4, which is pretty much all black. What do you want a cooler to look like? When it comes to air cooling, and yes, they are HUGE, you generally can have two choices. Small and weak or big and very capable.
 

BogdanH

Proper
Sep 21, 2020
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It seems you already decided for liquid cooler ( "looks cool" factor) and so it doesn't matter if it will last 3, 4 or 6 years. Because in few years, even more fancy AIO's will come to market anyway... for example, just imagine radiator with RGB stripes on it -darn exciting! (end of sarcasm)

Keep in mind, with AIO, longevity is not the only thing you should consider. For example: compared to air cooling, intake vents suck-in at least 10-15°C warmer air into PC case -there's no "fresh" airflow to help cooling down graphic card, VRM, chipset, M.2 drives, etc.
Yes, water cooling might look better (more "powerful") in owners eyes, but that's pretty much all.
See at 1min50sec:
View: https://youtu.be/qWt70VmuUpo?t=111
 
Oct 20, 2020
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It seems you already decided for liquid cooler ( "looks cool" factor) and so it doesn't matter if it will last 3, 4 or 6 years. Because in few years, even more fancy AIO's will come to market anyway... for example, just imagine radiator with RGB stripes on it -darn exciting! (end of sarcasm)

Keep in mind, with AIO, longevity is not the only thing you should consider. For example: compared to air cooling, intake vents suck-in at least 10-15°C warmer air into PC case -there's no "fresh" airflow to help cooling down graphic card, VRM, chipset, M.2 drives, etc.
Yes, water cooling might look better (more "powerful") in owners eyes, but that's pretty much all.
See at 1min50sec:
View: https://youtu.be/qWt70VmuUpo?t=111
It's not that I necessarily care about it "looking cool", I'd just prefer to not dislike the way it looks. What's the point of having a case with a glass side panel if you don't like the way it looks, you know what I mean? I'm also aware that air coolers can provide better performance than liquid. I'd actually prefer not to get a liquid cooler. I like the way that low profile air coolers look (with the fan pointing outwards toward the side panel), but then most of the air coolers that I look at don't list the TDP or whatever so I don't understand how I would know if it can provide adequate cooling. Obviously if I have to I don't mind going with something like the NH-D15, but I just wanted to see if there were any other options first
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
Keep in mind, with AIO, longevity is not the only thing you should consider. For example: compared to air cooling, intake vents suck-in at least 10-15°C warmer air into PC case -there's no "fresh" airflow to help cooling down graphic card, VRM, chipset, M.2 drives, etc.
Yes, water cooling might look better (more "powerful") in owners eyes, but that's pretty much all.
See at 1min50sec:
View: https://youtu.be/qWt70VmuUpo?t=111
AIO is not the same as 'custom watercooling', even though they use the same fundamental properties for cooling.
To properly compare an AIO and watercooling would be like comparing a Honda Civic with an expensive Mercedes. Both are cars, both take you places. One has more power, more capacity, more options and better performance but at much larger expense due to manufacturing costs. The other does what is needed with cheaper parts and components.


It's not that I necessarily care about it "looking cool", I'd just prefer to not dislike the way it looks. What's the point of having a case with a glass side panel if you don't like the way it looks, you know what I mean? I'm also aware that air coolers can provide better performance than liquid. I'd actually prefer not to get a liquid cooler.
I think you made your choice?
 

Phaaze88

Champion
Ambassador
D15 is a big cooler too. Le Grand Macho is every bit as good as a D15, if not slightly better.
I didn't see that. Well, I didn't personally test the Le Grand Macho RT, but I did test 2 of Thermalright's coolers that were also spouted to be 'Noctua Killers'... and they both failed.
Silver Arrow IB-E Extreme Rev. B
This one forces you to replace the chassis fans with other high rpm models - I had IPPC 3000s on hand, so I did that, as well as using the Thermalright fans of both heatsinks... 1 and 2 fan configs.
No dice; at worst, the Silver Arrow was a few degrees worse overall.
[7820X 4.5ghz OC]

True Spirit 140 Power
This was the one I had the most anticipation for, and disappointed the most. Thermalright rates this tall and thick(heatpipe) cooler at a crazy 360w TDP.
It did substantially worse than both of the others, even thermal throttled! I mounted this thing several times over; the results were consistent. Tried different fans too.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I didn't see that. Well, I didn't personally test the Le Grand Macho RT, but I did test 2 of Thermalright's coolers that were also spouted to be 'Noctua Killers'... and they both failed.
Silver Arrow IB-E Extreme Rev. B
This one forces you to replace the chassis fans with other high rpm models - I had IPPC 3000s on hand, so I did that, as well as using the Thermalright fans of both heatsinks... 1 and 2 fan configs.
No dice; at worst, the Silver Arrow was a few degrees worse overall.
[7820X 4.5ghz OC]

True Spirit 140 Power
This was the one I had the most anticipation for, and disappointed the most. Thermalright rates this tall and thick(heatpipe) cooler at a crazy 360w TDP.
It did substantially worse than both of the others, even thermal throttled! I mounted this thing several times over; the results were consistent. Tried different fans too.
Huh? The True Spirit 140 is a thin, single finstack 140mm cooler. No matter what it's advertised specs say, you should never expect to be able to compare it with any of the extra thick (deep) single finstack coolers like the Le Grand Macho RT or Macho rev.b or rev.c, and especially not with any of the twin finstack coolers.

I know you have had a bad experience, apparently (Because you say so frequently), with Thermalright, but others haven't had the same experiences as you. I've used Thermalright coolers on more than fifty occasions and I've always had good (expected) results, and their reviews are generally very positive across the board for ALL review sites, not just some one off reviewer or nutjob with blog.

I think YOUR specific problems have been due to your CPU model in particular, although obviously I have no evidence to prove that, because other more standard CPUs using Thermalright coolers have not shown the same problems that you seem to have had. That being said, we can't be turning this thread into another Thermalright against the world thread either so I'll just leave as they didn't work out for you but they seem to be a good choice for most users, with most CPUs. If you have a 7820x or a Threadripper CPU, then they may not be the best choice, for whatever reason.
 
Reactions: Owterspace

Phaaze88

Champion
Ambassador
@Darkbreeze
My bad experience relates to using their coolers with actual high TDP models. I'm sure they're just fine with anything else.
The heatpipes on the 140 Power are a fair bit thicker than on the 140 Direct or LGMRT, so that should've accounted for something... heh, guess not.
My curiosity gets the better of me too much. I'm currently testing ANOTHER cooler(360mm hybrid) on this cpu, and will post an update in the system build thread... I'm stuck waiting on an order of NF-F12s; the fans that come with this cooler are apparently 'meh'.


OT: The biggest downsides of hybrid coolers is needing a spare cooler on hand for when the pump inevitably dies, making them more expensive than they are on paper.
 
This is simply my own experience with a DeepCool AIO.

I upgraded to a 2700X and in the location it sits I can both hear it and feel the heat coming off. I had a Evo 212 air cooler and it actually worked fine for managing temps in almost all situations. It was rangy and I could hear it ramping up and down. During any intensive activity the heat generated by the CPU was an instant warm blast of air that I could feel which got the room I am in hot.
When I swapped to the AIO I had to tune the fans with the mobo utility. Using a standard fan curve and it was so loud I couldn't sit by it. After tuning the fans I get less noise and rangy-ness than with the air cooler. The air coming out of the case isn't immediately as hot but if I game for long periods of time it will build in the room the same as before, it just takes longer. Temps never reach as high as they did with the air cooling, so that in itself is a plus. The pump itself is very quiet on this particular model. I also have a fish tank in this room and honestly could not tell you which pump I hear in regard to that.
 

BogdanH

Proper
Sep 21, 2020
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What's the point of having a case with a glass side panel if you don't like the way it looks, you know what I mean?
Mhm, I get the point...
How about be quiet! Shadow Rock 3? It's rated up to 190W TDP (enough for 10700K), and looks darn good from above (from side glass) in my eyes. And the best part: no issues if you use 4 DIMM's. I can't talk about this cooler from my own experience, so you maybe check some reviews.
Anyway, in my opinion, coolers in brick size of Dark Rock Pro 4 category, are just an overkill for 10700K.
Hope that helps your decision.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
Or the newer DeepCool AS500 which I covered, sumbitted and hopefully will be out soon.

Its new...basically half of the Assassin III tower, but much of the performance.

Shadow Rock 3 is good looking, as are most of be quiet! products....very handsome to look at.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Anyway, in my opinion, coolers in brick size of Dark Rock Pro 4 category, are just an overkill for 10700K.
I really do not believe, in my opinion, that there ANY common coolers that are overkill for a CPU that can hit 200w or higher. There just aren't. Whatever you can afford, the best you can afford, is what you get. I already explained why. Intel's 65w rating for that CPU is a fracking joke. Three entirely different review sites show that CPU hitting upwards of 200w under full boost.
 

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