Question Are VRM Heatsinks Necessary?

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the Tom's Hardware community: where nearly two million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.
Jul 3, 2020
68
2
35
0
That site doesn't take into account all the local Hebrew sites . We do have these:

Every model of NOCTUA (can get any of the above for $50 through some discount)
BE QUIET! DARK ROCK PRO 3
BE QUIET! DARK ROCK PRO 4
CORSAIR A500 DUAL FAN CPU COOLER
GIGABYTE COOLER FOR CPU ATC800
BE QUIET! CPU COOLING SHADOW
ARCTIC COOLING FREEZER 34
COOLERMASTER HYPER 212 BLACK
ANTEC C400 GLACIAL CPU
ZALMAN CNPS20X
Phanteks PH-TC14PE White Twin Tower

There are more (basically anything from CM, Noctua, Zalman, AC, BeQuiet!, Corsair, Phanteks, Gigabyte and some others).
 

madmatt30

Titan
Ambassador
That site doesn't take into account all the local Hebrew sites . We do have these:

Every model of NOCTUA (can get any of the above for $50 through some discount)
BE QUIET! DARK ROCK PRO 3
BE QUIET! DARK ROCK PRO 4
CORSAIR A500 DUAL FAN CPU COOLER
GIGABYTE COOLER FOR CPU ATC800
BE QUIET! CPU COOLING SHADOW
ARCTIC COOLING FREEZER 34
COOLERMASTER HYPER 212 BLACK
ANTEC C400 GLACIAL CPU
ZALMAN CNPS20X
Phanteks PH-TC14PE White Twin Tower

There are more (basically anything from CM, Noctua, Zalman, AC, BeQuiet!, Corsair, Phanteks, Gigabyte and some others).
A noctua nh-d15 for $50?

Pretty much no point looking at anything else at that price.

The only coolers that would come close are the dark rock pro 4 and the phanteks.
 
Reactions: Regev

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
At THAT level of capability? Yes.

Really, the only other CPU heatsink cooler manufacturer that even comes close to Noctua when you compare BOTH performance AND noise levels, is Thermalright. BeQuiet does ok, but they mostly achieve their low noise levels by capping fan speeds which also tends to reduce performance. There are of course a few others that are good choices and if you get ANY of the big twin finstack coolers from Noctua, Thermalright, Be Quiet, Phanteks, Cryorig, Deepcool or SilentiumPC, you'll have all bases covered and probably have a very silent solution BECAUSE they are all going to be at least somewhat more capable than what is strictly necessary. Even the Zalman (Who I have not been a fan of, no pun intended, for a good many years) CNPS20X is supposed to be a pretty damn good cooler with performance that rivals the D15, or so some reviews say.

In any case, any of those would work fine but honestly this might be one of the very best situations in which an AIO, which I usually don't lean towards, could be useful because you can get one fairly cheap, and it can be mounted in such a way that there is little or no chance of any potential leak ever causing a problem, plus the radiator could be mounted somewhere out of the way and eliminate any possibility of knee or other contact as discussed before.

If you want something that isn't quite as big as the twin tower coolers like those mentioned, then I'd really try to see if you can find any of these, which are still big, but not AS big as those dual tower coolers.

Thermalright Le Grand Macho RT
Thermalright ARO-M14G
Thermalright ARO-M14
Thermalright Macho Rev.C (Or Rev.B, which doesn't have AS good of memory clearance as Rev.C, so be aware of that if you use really tall memory)
Thermalright Macho X2

And MAYBE the Noctua NH-U12A, but I think that's a stretch and that a more capable cooler than any of the 120mm models is a necessity with the 3700x or higher.

Obviously, those are just MY opinions. Others opinions may or may not agree with them.
 
Reactions: Regev
Jul 3, 2020
68
2
35
0
In any case, any of those would work fine but honestly this might be one of the very best situations in which an AIO, which I usually don't lean towards, could be useful because you can get one fairly cheap, and it can be mounted in such a way that there is little or no chance of any potential leak ever causing a problem, plus the radiator could be mounted somewhere out of the way and eliminate any possibility of knee or other contact as discussed before.
se are just MY opinions. Others opinions may or may not agree with them.
Which AIO meets your 'fairly cheap'? :)

Here's our selection of water coolers. (Also this one)
(Divide prices by 3.5 to get the USD value)

I was just worried the AIOs will be too noisy -- I see lots of fans on the radiator, plus I imagine the gurgling sound of the pump not the most pleasant..?
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Well, the pump, makes noise. No argument there. That's just going to happen, and it's a big part of why I don't normally recommend them. The fans however, two fans on a radiator don't make any more noise than two fans on a heatsink if you're talking about the same two fans.

No offense, but that's almost as bad as Chinese, even with the translator. There's just no way to get used to typed words going right to left instead of left to right, and the website gets the words all out of order. LOL. It's just me, but it's funny.
 
Reactions: Regev

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Arabic is worse than Chinese. You have to go to the basics, as in why there aren't many 'lefties' in Arab countries, the right hand is for eating, the left for what comes later. Which puts righties at a disadvantage since going from right to left, you run your sweaty palm right over the fresh ink you just wrote. The Chinese at least had the common sense to use paint brushes, so never came into contact with the paper in the first place.

The NH-U12A holds its own, and with certain loads actually beats the performance of the NH-D15, almost all the way up to saturation, around the 200w point. It's only after that that the 250w NH-D15 shows its little brother who is top-dog. That applies to many other coolers too, it really all depends on where exactly the load is contested.

Yes, VRM's use the motherboards ground plane for a good majority of their cooling, that's a fact. But also is the fact that that ground plane can only handle so much heat before it starts affecting other components that are also soldered into ground. Like the cpu, pcie x16 slot, audio, Lan etc. All pretty adjacent to the VRM area. While not exactly 'insulated' as such, the main functioning in the mosfet happens in the center, and there's a decent thickness of silicon directly above that. With no heatsink, that eventually gets hot and maintains a level of heat in the mosfet. While not as direct a transfer of heat compared to the ground plane, the VRM heatsinking siphons off a good chunk of that heat, so that the ground plane doesn't have to absorb as much. VRM heatsinks might be just a secondary source of cooling, but ANY source of cooling is a bonus during high amperage workloads.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: Regev
Jul 3, 2020
68
2
35
0
Well, the pump, makes noise. No argument there. That's just going to happen, and it's a big part of why I don't normally recommend them. The fans however, two fans on a radiator don't make any more noise than two fans on a heatsink if you're talking about the same two fans.

No offense, but that's almost as bad as Chinese, even with the translator. There's just no way to get used to typed words going right to left instead of left to right, and the website gets the words all out of order. LOL. It's just me, but it's funny.
Here are the models equivalent to the air cooler (~$50-100) in price:

Asetek 510LC BASIC WATERCOOLING +
ANTEC K120
Asetek 545LC WATERCOOLING +
CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML240L
Antec Mercury 120
Antec Mercury 360
Antec Neptune 120
COUGAR AQUA-120
ANTEC K240
Antec Neptune 240
ARCTIC LIQUID FREEZER II - 240
ARCTIC LIQUID FREEZER II - 280
CoolerMaster MasterLiquid ML240L V2
COOLERMASTER ML360L
Cooler Master Liquid ML120R
CORSAIR HYDRO H100X
COUGAR AQUA-240
COUGAR AQUA-280
COUGAR AQUA-360
Antec Kuhler H2O K240


How bad and often is that gurgling noise??
 

simonyeeklang

Distinguished
BANNED
Aug 22, 2011
171
16
18,615
7
Here's the B450 Tomahawk's VRM @Darkbreeze said was excellent:



Here's the one on the B550 S2H:



And here's the Bazooka B550:



It seems to me as if people perceive the S2H to be inferior in quality because of its low price. But the power specs look better than the Bazooka which is double the price (unless 4+2 with x2 on the high & low sides is better than 5+3 with x1). Could it be that Gigabyte priced it that way, not because of its quality, but simply to have a performant product on the low-end market?

@madmatt30 Oh, nice man! Thanks. Which cooler are you using? I did look into native vs virtual phases and found this (on v12-phase VRMs):

"While still better than regular 6 phase parts, they’re not as efficient as true 8 or 10 phase VRMs. They induce a delay and reduce the frequency of supplied current in half. Furthermore, only one of the two can be switched on at a time. The first one sees a modest delay but the second one is usually delayed by half a cycle, and in terms of precision, even the former is rather substantial. While multi-phase VRMs kick in instantly, or one after the other without a notable delay in between, pseudo-phases or doublers induce a latency which reduces the overall efficiency. Again, a 5 phase VRM doubled to 10 is less efficient than a native 7 or 8 phase VRM. But a 10 phase (doubled) VRM is still better than a 5 phase and is a cheap trick to allow a higher power draw."

In case someone finds this useful.
Then my MSI Tomahawk B450 Max need a PSU that is 750 watt?
Or still can stick with 650 Watt (VANTEC)?
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Neither. By itself an average pc uses somewhere around the 200w area. That's all, everything included except the gpu. It's almost always the power requirements of the gpu over and above that 200w that determines just what you need.

With current pc's, a decent 550w will cover most, 650w if you are getting to high end, and the biggest are 850w. But you aren't pushing a OC 10900k and OC 2080ti, so won't need wattage anywhere near that level.

With something like a 1660ti, you only need a good 450w, or mediocre 550w.
 
Reactions: Regev
Jul 3, 2020
68
2
35
0
Yeah, none of those are particularly quiet examples of AIO cooling. Probably best to stick with air.
Which will be most quiet of the D15, U12S, U12A, L12S, or other premium air coolers? Forget size or hardcore performance, I'm talking pure noise levels. If needed, I can put the computer in the vitrine's top shelf or something so that it won't interfere with my knees :)
 

madmatt30

Titan
Ambassador
Which will be most quiet of the D15, U12S, U12A, L12S, or other premium air coolers? Forget size or hardcore performance, I'm talking pure noise levels. If needed, I can put the computer in the vitrine's top shelf or something so that it won't interfere with my knees :)
The d15 is the quietest, you can run those noctua fans right down to 300rpm at which point they're silent , they're damn near silent even at 1000rpm.
 
Reactions: Regev

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Yes, the D15 will be the quietest, but not specifically because of the fans, although that's likely true as well because they will almost always tend to run at a lower RPM than any of those others using 120mm fans, but because of the sheer size of the heatsink itself, which, even passively, will likely cool better than most other heatsinks WITH a fan installed, so there will be a lot fewer occasions when the fans on the D15 even need to spin up to higher level than on these other coolers you are trying to compare to it.

Obviously there will still be a lot of times when it does need to spin up under demanding loads, but they will be far fewer and far less intense than with these smaller heatsinks so the noise levels, in addition to the 140mm fans already moving slower to move the same amount of air, will be equally less intense.
 
Jul 3, 2020
68
2
35
0
Thanks @Darkbreeze & @madmatt30, you guys are awesome.

btw one YouTube wrote to me (about the differences, or non-differences if you will, between the D15,U12S, L12S):

"The 3700x in stock form will run quite hot on all 3 which I can't believe but that's how agressive the voltage is in stock form. For the 3700x I would try my quick manual OC (check my other videos please in yhe A4 playlist) for 4.0 GHz @ 1.075v which will give you the same stock performanxe but at 20-25 lower degrees. I mean I even cooled the 3700x with this setting with the L9a. So yeah then no matter what you get it will be quiet. So to answer your question, the noise difference if you do the manual oc will be non-existent between those 3 coolers. If you use the 3700x in stock form than there will be a marginal noise difference maybe 2-3 decibels between all 3 gradually at 80% rpm in cpu load."
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Well, since anybody can have a Youtube channel, that doesn't mean much. WHO was the person who wrote that, so I can go dispute everything they say from now on because they are 100% full of BS, but the long version, not the abbreviation. The abbreviation simply doesn't do it the justice it deserves.

I mean, frack, I can run ANY CPU at grossly reduced voltages and they will run WAY cooler. They will also be entirely unstable. That's not to say that you can't in some cases manually configure an overclock so that you end up with the same overall performance at a lower thermal penalty from reduced voltage, because sometimes you can, but the degree to which they are overstating and oversimplifying the process, and then claiming to be able to cool it with an L9a, that's just sheer ridiculousness.
 
Reactions: Regev and Karadjgne

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Which will be the most quietest? WHEN?
That's the important question. For just websurfing and mediocre loads not doing much at all, the NH-U12S has them all beat. Single fan is quieter than dual fans by a good 3db. Now if you slap on an uber load, like Prime95 and start hitting 150w (ish) it'll be a competition between the U12A and the D15. At 200w (ish) the D15.

It's a matter of load vs capacity vs size. The smaller the cooler, the larger the load, the faster the fans, the louder it gets. Same load on a larger cooler = quieter.

So a broad range question of 'which' is really impossible to answer, without some frame of reference.
 
Reactions: Regev

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
The fans on the D15 (Or most dual tower coolers) don't even need to be kicked in past idle speed until the CPU reaches something like 50°C, which means that unless you are actively gaming or running an intense application, they will probably very rarely if ever need to move beyond maybe 30-40% fan speed, and at those speed the NF-A15's and A14's are pretty much dead silent. Dead silent is dead silent whether there is one fan or fifty, so the number of fans really doesn't matter at all unless they are making a sufficient amount of noise to matter. At those speeds, they won't be, so I don't see silent-er being any better than "already inaudible", which is what they will be for the most part if the fan curve is set up appropriately.
 
Reactions: Regev and Karadjgne
Jul 3, 2020
68
2
35
0
I mean, frack, I can run ANY CPU at grossly reduced voltages and they will run WAY cooler. They will also be entirely unstable. That's not to say that you can't in some cases manually configure an overclock so that you end up with the same overall performance at a lower thermal penalty from reduced voltage, because sometimes you can, but the degree to which they are overstating and oversimplifying the process, and then claiming to be able to cool it with an L9a, that's just sheer ridiculousness.
@Darkbreeze he linked to this:

View: https://youtu.be/AHuhcwsz0Bc?t=563
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS