Question Effect of case fans upon Air Coolers and Liquid Coolers. Do Air coolers benefit more?

decksmeck

Commendable
Nov 7, 2018
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Hello,

I am building a computer and going through the rigmarole of figuring out what works better. It will be an I7 11700K on the Z590 Vision G. The Vision G is geared more towards increased storage speed than graphics power which suits me for now. I am not experienced at building computers but I built one a few years ago so I have a tad bit of experience putting one together from scratch. I have been settling on a case from Corsair this time. I am on a budget so I was choosing between the 110Q, which is appealing for being quieter, and the 4000D Airflow, which is appealing for cooling. Also, I need a Type-C USB so the 110Q is less appealing because I could only identify Type-A USB ports on it.

It occurred to me that a liquid cooler might help more with a less ventilated case because the heat is transferred to the radiator, which is attached to the case wall, and then exhausted out of the case with fans. So it makes sense to me that a case with less airflow could benefit more from liquid cooling.

What I became curious about is whether a highly ventilated case benefits an air cooled solution more than a liquid cooled solution. I will probably buy the 4000D Airflow. I read good things about it and it fits my budget. I was trying to decide whether I would liquid cool it but it seems that if I use a big air cooler like the Noctua D-15, the increased airflow from the case will amplify the cooling. If I use a liquid cooler, the case fans will still help the ambient temperature of the interior case but might not benefit the liquid cooler nearly as much since the heat is being transfer on water in the tubes. I was looking at the Arctic Freezer II series. The 360 looks very good but it doesn't appear to fit the case as well as the smaller ones. The graphics card is not an issue because I will have to reuse my very old GTX 770 until I can find something affordable.

Has there been any professional tests done where the coolers were changed between cases with different levels of ventilation but the same components and temperature readings performed to see how much of an increase case fans play in either type of cooling solution? Is it common knowledge that case fans benefit air coolers more than liquid coolers? Is it common knowledge that liquid coolers are preferable in quiet builds that that have less case ventilation? Any insight and advice is helpful. Thanks in advance.
 
It occurred to me that a liquid cooler might help more with a less ventilated case because the heat is transferred to the radiator, which is attached to the case wall, and then exhausted out of the case with fans. So it makes sense to me that a case with less airflow could benefit more from liquid cooling.
this would only apply to the CPU temperature.
any dedicated graphics card, memory, VRM, drives, and all other internal components would still suffer from thermal issues without proper case airflow(intake & exhaust).

you always want slight positive pressure in your case;
with enough cool air coming in to cover all components and push out any pockets of over-heated air.
and enough exhaust to give that air somewhere to escape without pulling the cool air out of the case before it has a chance to do it's job.

Has there been any professional tests done where the coolers were changed between cases with different levels of ventilation but the same components and temperature readings performed to see how much of an increase case fans play in either type of cooling solution?
what would you consider "professional".
any manufacturer doing tests and reporting results is always going to be looking to promote their own products.
any Youtuber, internet magazine, or similar platform reporting results may well be leaning their results towards what the majority of viewers enjoy seeing. just reporting what they believe people want to see & hear to promote more viewers\readers.

there's many tests being done every day with users building new systems with different cooling setups and reporting their findings here and on many other forums.
figuring in the basic laws of therodynamics and reading the different outcomes builders experienced for years you start to see what actually works, what's wasted effort, and what definitely does not work.

no matter the case used;
a nice air tower cooler with good fans pushing the air towards a good exhaust fan
can get the same CPU temperatures as a nice AIO or even better depending on the exact model coolers used.

there is no definitive answer which setup will work better.
it's all dependent on the actual components being used and how they are setup in a particular situation.

Is it common knowledge that liquid coolers are preferable in quiet builds that that have less case ventilation?
it seems to be more common now for liquid setups to be used in gaming rigs and anyone looking for the best possible overclock.
a lot of the time it is just an aesthetic choice to remove the air-cooler's large heatsink and fans from view.
doesn't usually have anything to do with low noise or low airflow systems these days.
 
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Liquid cooling is really air cooling.
The difference is where the radiator heat exchange takes place.
On a gross level, you can compare the size of the radiators.
For example a twin stack NH-D15 with 140mm fans will have about the same cooling capability as a 280mm aio cooler.
Liquid may be the only solution if the case does not have 165mm available for such as the NH-D15(the NH-D15s is 160mm)
Mounting a radiator is a catch 22 thing as you described.
Mounted in front drawing in fresh air, the cpu will be cooled best.
But the heated air is what is used to cool the graphics card and the motherboard VRM's
OTOH, if the motherboard is mounted on top, the cpu is not cooled as well because warm air is reaching the radiator.
Pick your poison.
FWIW, I had a i7-11700K and it was cooled well with a NH-D15s.
Ditto for a I9-11900KF.
Heat on a OCCT stress test maxes at 65c.
It is aggressive all core overclocking that increases voltage and heat.
For most, it is best to just let the turbo modes increase a few cores when needed.

AIO coolers do not last forever.
In time air enters the system and they must be replaced.
While uncommon, aio leaks do happen with disastrous consequences.

The 400D airflow looks like a good case.
 

decksmeck

Commendable
Nov 7, 2018
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1,510
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Thank you very much for your thoughts.

this would only apply to the CPU temperature.
any dedicated graphics card, memory, VRM, drives, and all other internal components would still suffer from thermal issues without proper case airflow(intake & exhaust).
Yes. I can see that my thinking is too CPU centric. I read that my chosen board, Vision G, tends to have hot VRM.

Liquid cooling is really air cooling.
The difference is where the radiator heat exchange takes place.
Thank you for telling me this. That jumped up to the next level.
 

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