[SOLVED] Does a good 120mm AIO exist?

Joe_182

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Am trying to cram a lot into a SFF case, and am wondering if there are any good 120mm AIO's? I know overall, 120mm AIO's are not recommended, but figured maybe there are some that are at least doable. If not I am just gonna tweak my case/build to use a 240mm.

I've pretty much narrowed it down to these 2. But was curious on what people felt about them here? The EK seems to have some reviews with leaking and blown pumps, which was surprising to me because water cooling is their specialty. The Be quiet has a pretty clean review record overall. I'm just cooling a 12400 during 4k gaming. So not too intense. Thank you so much!

https://www.amazon.com/EK-Premium-EK-Vardar-High-Performance-Computer/dp/B083BZPFXX?tag=hardwar0d-20&geniuslink=true
 
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I would be going with something like a Sliger 610 or NR200P if i went with a 120mm AIO. I like the Sliger more for various reasons.

Currently my build is planned in a meshify 2 Nano, with a 240mm AIO. But it's substantially bigger than what I was hoping for because of the 240mm AIO. If i didn't want a TG panel to show off the internals, the 240mm AIO could just be mounted easily enough on the side panel of the NR200P, but I really wanted an open look TG case, and I wanted to avoid a bulky air cooler for once in my life. Never used an AIO in like 15 years of building. So that means a top/front mount 240mm AIO in a larger ITX case, OR a 120mm AIO in a smaller case.
I don't like bulky air coolers either, they ruin the look of your PC so I always go with AIO's. A lot of the reviews say that it's quite a cool CPU, generally a little cooler than a 5600X. It's just I was concerned how it would run without any power limits. Hardware Unboxed have a good review on it:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J0iP520WoY&t=3s

If you watch from 11:52 onwards they talk about power and temps with power limits on/off. Considering they were testing with the stock cooler it does sound like it would be fine with a 120mm AIO (which is significantly better). From there results, removing power limits makes very little difference to gaming performance so it's not the end of the world if you had to leave them in place.

From what I understand, 4k is mostly GPU heavy. I don't mind a little noise, but if it sounds like a shuttle taking off using the 120mm
It depends, 120hz at 1080p is generally much more CPU demanding than 60hz at 4k. However 4k at 60hz is no less CPU demanding than 1080p at 60hz, in fact on occasion I've found the CPU load to increase at 4k. Some games like Cyberpunk though are so demanding even at 60hz that they will run a 12400 at very high CPU usage so you do need to be able to run a CPU at full load. Taking the Hardware Unboxed results at face value it would suggest a 120mm AIO would be perfectly fine. So if you want a smaller case I would go with the EK 120mm AIO, there's nothing I've read that suggest it's any more accident prone than any other AIO and it does look cool.
 
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120mm AIO's aren't bad, it's just an air cooler can match or exceed them for a lot less money. They do have a place though such as small form factor PC's. I used a Cooler Master 120mm AIO for 6 years, I upgraded it to a 240mm 1.5 years ago when I upgraded my CPU.

The EK leaks were with an earlier model so that wouldn't put me off. The Artic AIO's are generally good performers, they also do a 120mm version:
.

In terms of your use case, yes you can cool a 12400 with a 120mm AIO, however it will probably be quite loud when the CPU is fully loaded. I don't think it matters which one you buy frankly, they are likely to perform similarly, the EK needs a free ARGB 5v header on your motherboard so if you don't have one available then I would get the Pure Loop.

If it were me buying I would get the EK personally, I think it looks better and it's a more traditional design with the pump in the water block. May I ask what case you have?
 
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Joe_182

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120mm AIO's aren't bad, it's just an air cooler can match or exceed them for a lot less money. They do have a place though such as small form factor PC's. I used a Cooler Master 120mm AIO for 6 years, I upgraded it to a 240mm 1.5 years ago when I upgraded my CPU.

The EK leaks were with an earlier model so that wouldn't put me off. The Artic AIO's are generally good performers, they also do a 120mm version:
.

In terms of your use case, yes you can cool a 12400 with a 120mm AIO, however it will probably be quite loud when the CPU is fully loaded. I don't think it matters which one you buy frankly, they are likely to perform similarly, the EK needs a free ARGB 5v header on your motherboard so if you don't have one available then I would get the Pure Loop.

If it were me buying I would get the EK personally, I think it looks better and it's a more traditional design with the pump in the water block. May I ask what case you have?
I would be going with something like a Sliger 610 or NR200P if i went with a 120mm AIO. I like the Sliger more for various reasons.

Currently my build is planned in a meshify 2 Nano, with a 240mm AIO. But it's substantially bigger than what I was hoping for because of the 240mm AIO. If i didn't want a TG panel to show off the internals, the 240mm AIO could just be mounted easily enough on the side panel of the NR200P, but I really wanted an open look TG case, and I wanted to avoid a bulky air cooler for once in my life. Never used an AIO in like 15 years of building. So that means a top/front mount 240mm AIO in a larger ITX case, OR a 120mm AIO in a smaller case.

I'm glad you said the EK because I like that far better. I am switching to 4k in this build, So I am just not sure how intense the CPU will be used. From what I understand, 4k is mostly GPU heavy. I don't mind a little noise, but if it sounds like a shuttle taking off using the 120mm I'd rather pass :ROFLMAO: Thank you so much for your help.
 
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I would be going with something like a Sliger 610 or NR200P if i went with a 120mm AIO. I like the Sliger more for various reasons.

Currently my build is planned in a meshify 2 Nano, with a 240mm AIO. But it's substantially bigger than what I was hoping for because of the 240mm AIO. If i didn't want a TG panel to show off the internals, the 240mm AIO could just be mounted easily enough on the side panel of the NR200P, but I really wanted an open look TG case, and I wanted to avoid a bulky air cooler for once in my life. Never used an AIO in like 15 years of building. So that means a top/front mount 240mm AIO in a larger ITX case, OR a 120mm AIO in a smaller case.
I don't like bulky air coolers either, they ruin the look of your PC so I always go with AIO's. A lot of the reviews say that it's quite a cool CPU, generally a little cooler than a 5600X. It's just I was concerned how it would run without any power limits. Hardware Unboxed have a good review on it:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J0iP520WoY&t=3s

If you watch from 11:52 onwards they talk about power and temps with power limits on/off. Considering they were testing with the stock cooler it does sound like it would be fine with a 120mm AIO (which is significantly better). From there results, removing power limits makes very little difference to gaming performance so it's not the end of the world if you had to leave them in place.

From what I understand, 4k is mostly GPU heavy. I don't mind a little noise, but if it sounds like a shuttle taking off using the 120mm
It depends, 120hz at 1080p is generally much more CPU demanding than 60hz at 4k. However 4k at 60hz is no less CPU demanding than 1080p at 60hz, in fact on occasion I've found the CPU load to increase at 4k. Some games like Cyberpunk though are so demanding even at 60hz that they will run a 12400 at very high CPU usage so you do need to be able to run a CPU at full load. Taking the Hardware Unboxed results at face value it would suggest a 120mm AIO would be perfectly fine. So if you want a smaller case I would go with the EK 120mm AIO, there's nothing I've read that suggest it's any more accident prone than any other AIO and it does look cool.
 
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Joe_182

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I don't like bulky air coolers either, they ruin the look of your PC so I always go with AIO's. A lot of the reviews
Wow, thank you. That actually solved a whole other issue I was having, of not understanding PL and how they affect cpu performance overall for gaming. It sounds like even with them on and the CPU locked to 65watts it barely loses performance, if i am understanding correctly? As far as your comment on Cyberpunk, b/c that's what I plan on playing, whether power limits are on or off, I should be fine with the EK? And the CPU should still be able to hit the full turbo clock speeds?

I think that is likely what I will go with just based on loving the looks of it and it fitting the theme of my overall build. I would hope I could trust a company like EK for this. Now I just need to go back and pick a case. Originally crossed off a bunch of them because they couldn't fit 240mm AIO's.
 
The 12400 has two power levels, PL1 is 65W at a guaranteed base frequency of 2.5Ghz on all cores, PL2 is 117W at 4.0Ghz on all cores. Hardware Unboxed were getting 3.7Ghz at 65W in Cinebench R23 (100% load), that's why there was very little difference in gaming when the power limits were removed. Bare in mind what all core frequency you get will vary depending on workload. Prime 95 (I don't recommend you run it) is much worse than playing a video game.

It sounds like even with them on and the CPU locked to 65watts it barely loses performance, if i am understanding correctly? As far as your comment on Cyberpunk, b/c that's what I plan on playing, whether power limits are on or off, I should be fine with the EK? And the CPU should still be able to hit the full turbo clock speeds?
That's what the numbers are suggesting yes. As above they actually got 3.7Ghz rather than 4Ghz all core speeds in gaming. You can usually configure the power limits in the bios. So the default would be PL2 at 117W for 56 seconds, you could remove the time limit on PL2 so it can run at that indefinitely. I've cooled that sort of heat output on a 120mm before but it can be loud. You could change the PL2 limit to 95W if you wanted, that would probably get you 4Ghz on all cores in gaming but still keep heat to a very manageable level should you happen to run a more intensive workload.

You may also find this interesting, Hardware Canucks did a review of 120mm AIO's recently, including the Pure Loop and EK 120. They tested at 95W, 125W and 155W:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgNFo_laanM


If you haven't already bought one, I do recommend a good quality board.
 
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