Question How to tell if AIO Cooler is under-performing/failed?

Dec 17, 2019
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Hello,

During gaming (Rainbow 6, BFV, Division 2 for example) and the Prime95 thermal testing described in the Tom's Hardware Intel Temperature Guide, my 9700K averages temps of 75C and spikes to 80C on the package without any overclock (except for XMP on RAM).

Questions:
  • Is it normal to have such little thermal headroom? I'd like to overclock a little, but I can't without temps shooting up to 90C
  • I bought my Enermax AIO new, but on a discount because it was a few years old. I suspect the cooler is under-performing. Is there a way to test this? I don't have another cooler on hand to try.
  • Is there a possible BIOS setting causing this heat? I have MCE disabled and other settings at stock. Newest BIOS is installed.
I'm very open to your opinions and I'll try suggested tests. Below are my rig details. Thanks!

CPU9700K
Cooler and thermal pasteEnermax 240mm AIO and fresh Kryonaut applied 1 week ago
Core SpeedStock (reaches advertised boosts)
Core Voltage at Loadapprox 1.26v with spikes up to 1.312v
Load test software and Temperature SoftwarePrime95 Small FFT with all AVX disabled and HW Monitor
CaseCooler Master H500 with all fan slots filled running close to 100%
Load and Idle Core Temps35C and 75C with spikes to 80C
MemoryCorsair Vengeance 3200MHz 16GB
Motherboard and GPUASRock Z370 Extreme4 and GTX 1070ti MSI Duke
Ambient temperature22C
 

Eximo

Titan
Herald
Sounds about right for load actually. These are warm CPUs, don't let Intel's TDP numbers trick you into believing they are the same as the quad cores that came before it. Same tech, double the cores, very slight gains in efficiency between revisions.

Your idle temps do seem a little high though, might be the pump is not running fast enough at idle.

But if it wasn't working at all, you would know.

It could be mis-installed, but I have my doubts. Pretty hard to mess up AIO installation. Double check that the right hardware was used. Sometimes different screw lengths are supplied for AMD/Intel.

And I usually toss this out for AIO, lack of clamping force. If you can push on the cooler and see an immediate improvement in temperatures, then it isn't quite tight enough. Solution is to add small washers between the motherboard and backplate.
 

alceryes

Distinguished
Doesn't that Enermax have an integrated flow meter? Check that it's working.
Those temps aren't horrible. How quickly does the CPU temp drop down to 40-45ºC after you've been stress testing? That would be a good indicator of how well your AIO is moving thermals. Is your fan curve set aggressively enough?
 
Dec 17, 2019
8
1
15
0
Sounds about right for load actually. These are warm CPUs, don't let Intel's TDP numbers trick you into believing they are the same as the quad cores that came before it. Same tech, double the cores, very slight gains in efficiency between revisions.

Your idle temps do seem a little high though, might be the pump is not running fast enough at idle.

But if it wasn't working at all, you would know.

It could be mis-installed, but I have my doubts. Pretty hard to mess up AIO installation. Double check that the right hardware was used. Sometimes different screw lengths are supplied for AMD/Intel.

And I usually toss this out for AIO, lack of clamping force. If you can push on the cooler and see an immediate improvement in temperatures, then it isn't quite tight enough. Solution is to add small washers between the motherboard and backplate.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have the pump curve set to never dip below 60% and the curve increases it quickly.

I just double checked the AIO installation. I tried to push on the pump block and looked to see if it made a difference, but it didn't help. I also tightened the screws on the pump again. Also didn't help. It was a good idea though.
 
Dec 17, 2019
8
1
15
0
Doesn't that Enermax have an integrated flow meter? Check that it's working.
Those temps aren't horrible. How quickly does the CPU temp drop down to 40-45ºC after you've been stress testing? That would be a good indicator of how well your AIO is moving thermals. Is your fan curve set aggressively enough?
Unfortunately, my AIO is pretty old and it doesn't have a flow meter.

It takes only a few seconds to get back to 40-45C after stress testing. I think the fan curve is pretty aggressive.
 

alceryes

Distinguished
Unfortunately, my AIO is pretty old and it doesn't have a flow meter.

It takes only a few seconds to get back to 40-45C after stress testing. I think the fan curve is pretty aggressive.
It sounds like it's working but the easiest way to know how well would be to compare it to a standard air cooler. Do you have one or could you purchase an inexpensive one?
 
Dec 17, 2019
8
1
15
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It sounds like it's working but the easiest way to know how well would be to compare it to a standard air cooler. Do you have one or could you purchase an inexpensive one?
I don't have an air cooler on hand, but I am considering getting one early next year.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
My stance on PWM pumps is this: find a speed you like and leave it, no matter what.

For PWM fans on the radiator, set your fan curve for performance based on cooling and noise.

Otherwise, you have a PWM pump that ramps up and down and fans that ramp up and down based temps (hopefully) reported from CPU cores. Liquid cooling pumps (AIO and custom) should be very, very quiet, almost inaudible, so speed settings should not be an issue. Flowrate is beneficial at any fan RPM.
 

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